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suited for performance to rustic audiences. The number issued is very
great, and many are attributed to S'dntappa, a Brahman of (lersappe.
In some parts of South Mysore almost every important village has
periodical performances of one of these plays, the actors being some of
the villagers themselves, trained for the purpose ; of course female parts
are taken by boys. I have sometimes witnessed excellent acting in such
performances, primitive as the accessories are. In other parts of the
country, to the north, parties of professional actors travel about,
performing in the villages. They generally have a woman with them
who takes the part of the heroine. But under the late Mahardja
encouragement was given to the production of a higher style of drama,
to be placed on the stage like European plays. A good deal of success
has rewarded some of the companies that adopted the idea. The
principal poet at the court was the late Basavappa S'dstri, ^vho produced
excellent Kannada adaptations of Kalidasa's Sakuntala and other
Sanskrit dramas. Others have followed in the same path, and a
number of Shakespeare's plays have also been made the foundation of
Kannada dramas with Hindu names. Praiseworthy as these efforts
are, however, they can never have that hold on the national mind,
or tend so much to the revival of Kannada learning, as a careful
study of the ancient spontaneously-produced original works of the
country, recently brought to light. Sectarian animosity against the
Jains was perhaps at the bottom of their neglect heretofore, but such
feelings are giving way, as they are bound to do, now that the linguistic
excellence of the old works is recognized.

A college has been formed at Mysore specially for the study of
Kannada literature to a high standard, and prizes are awarded to pandits
who distinguish themselves in the language at the Palace examinations.
A few young men have combined to publish a monthly periodical,
called the Kdvya-manjari, in which ancient works recently discovered
are published with careful editing.^ A learned class with knowledge
and appreciation of the language are thus arising, who are not ashamed
to extend their study beyond the orthodox confines of Sanskrit, high as

* Jaina works are being published in the Budliajaiiamauoraujiin in Kannada, and
the Kavydmbudhi in Sanskrit.


the rei)utation of scholarship in that language must ever stand. But as
regards the great mass of the population, the works that issue from the
presses and find most sale, next to school books and Yakshagana plays,
are republications of former works, sectarian religious books, works on
astrology, omens, and horoscopy, established collections of tales, and
such like. Few are new works of literary importance.

An Oriental Library has been established in the Victoria Jubilee
Institute at Mysore, from which some unedited Sanskrit texts are being
published, and where has been deposited a large collection of rare
Kannada works in manuscript, copied under my direction during many
years past.

The Hindu manuscripts arc on the two kinds of writing-material,
exclusively employed till about 200 years ago, and still used by the
learned. They are the ble and the kadata. The former was mostly
used for literary works, the latter for accounts and historical records.

The die is the leaf of the td(a or palmyra {horassus flabelliformis).
The material, as used for manuscripts, is stiff and flexible but brittle,
of a yellowish-brown colour, from i foot to 2 feet long, and from i inch
to i^ inches wide. It is written on lengthwise, with an iron style, the
characters being afterwards brought out by rubbing in black colouring
matter. The l)undle of leaves forming a work are all of the same size,
and strung on thin cord, which passes through holes punched in the
middle towards either extremity. A piece of wood, the size of the leaf,
is placed at top and bottom, and tied down with the string, forming a
binding for protection. The writing is often very minute and close
together, with no break but a perpendicular stroke between one part
and another. Such being the materials, the wonder is that so many
works of antiquity have survived to this day.

The kadafa is composed of cloth covered with a composition of
charcoal and gum. It presents a black surface, which is written on
like a slate, with a piece of balapam or pot stone. The book is of one
piece, folded in and out, and is from 8 inches to i foot wide, and 12 to
18 feet long. A piece of wood, the size of the book, is attached at either
end like a binding, and the whole is put into a case of silk or cotton, or
simply tied up with a bit of string. The writing can be rubbed out
and renewed at will. The kadata is still used by merchants and shop-
keepers for accounts. Though liable to be expunged, it is perhaps a
more durable record and material than the best writing on the best paper.

The introduction of paper is due to the Muhammadans, and certain
coarse kinds were till lately made in the country, resembling the whitey-
brown unglazed paper used in England for packets.

Of the Muhamniadan literature of .^^ysore there is not much


api)arcntly to be said. Some of the Persian annals of the reigns of
Haidar and 'J'ipu arc of interest, and translations into l'2nglish, by
Colonel W. Miles, have been published for the Oriental Translation
Fund, with dedication to the Queen.

A few words may be added on what has been done for Kannada
literature by Europeans. The first undertaking was the English-
Carnataca Dictionary of the Rev. W. Reeve, completed in 1817, and
published in 1824 with a dedication to Sir Thomas Munro, Governor
of Madras. Meanwhile, in 1820, Mr. McKerrell, Judge of Canara, and
Carnataca Translator to Government, published his Carnataca
Grajiimar, commenced in 1809, in the preparation of which he
consulted the S'abdamanidarpana. His work was dedicated to the
King (George IV). In 1832 appeared Reeve's Carnataca- English
Dictionary^ commenced in 181 7, a valuable work, for long the only one
of its kind, though not up to the scholarship of the present day. It
was reprinted at Bangalore, in portable form, in 1858, edited by the
Rev. D. Sanderson of the Wesleyan Mission. But the work having
long been out of print, the compilation of a new one was undertaken
by the Rev. F. Kittel of the Basel Mission, aided by the India Ofifice
and the Mysore Government. The result has been the Kannada-
Englisii Dictionary, published at Mangalore in 1894, a bulky volume
of 1752 pages. It is a work of great labour, and may now be con-
sidered the standard dictionary of the language.

Before 1850, the publication had been commenced, under the super-
intendence of the Revs. Dr. Moegling and Weigle of the Basel Mission
at Mangalore, and at the expense of Mr. Casamaijor, former Resident
of Mysore, of a series of works to form a Bihliothcca Carnatica. The
following appeared : — Basava Purana, Channa Basava Purana,
Jainiini Bhdrata, Rdnidyana (2 kdndas), Rdvana Digvijaya, Ddsara-
pada, and Rdjefidrandnie, a Coorg History. A grammar compiled by
Krishnamachari, College Munshi, was also published about the same
time at Madras, called Hosa-Gan7iada-7iHdi-gannadi}

For the introduction of printing, Canarese is indebted to the
missionaries at Bellary who translated the Holy Scriptures, as before
related. The first complete translation of the Bible was finished in
1827, after sixteen years had been spent on the work. A similar
period, from 1843 to 1859, was subsequently devoted to revising the

* All these works were lithographed, and in the Rajeiidratidme an attempt was
made to overcome the mechanical difficulty presented in subscript letters by placing
the compound letters side by side on the line, a system which made the reading verj-
difficult, if not impossible, and to natives was incomprehensible, being opposed to
the immemorial and established practice of the language.


translation. 1 The study of the language especially with a view to this
undertaking, directed attention to such of the indigenous literature as
was accessible ; and the effort to produce so voluminous a work in
portable form, was the means of effecting the improvements in
typography previously referred to.

The wants of schools and universities, and of officers required to pass
an examination in the language, have been the principal motives for the
publication of a variety of useful works, some of the educational books
in no small numbers. But, besides the publications in connection with
the Bibliotheca Carnatica, the most valuable original literary works that
have been published have been indicated in the footnotes above. It
may be added that the collections of the numerous inscriptions
throughout the country (now going through the press under my
direction)'- are invaluable as adjuncts to the study of the language.
Though their primary importance is for historical purposes, they afford
perfect models of the composition of the various periods to which they
belong. Many are elaborate compositions by scholars of repute, and
we have in them not alone specimens of the written characters of the
time, but the exact spelling and arrangement, free from the errors,
conscious or unconscious, that always creep into manuscripts copied
from hand to hand, however carefully made.

Much might be added regarding the European works, some of great
excellence, which Mysore has given rise to, such as IVi/ks' History,
Buchaimn's Travels, &c., not to mention the military works upon the
wars with Mysore. Here Sir Walter Scott laid the scene of one of
the Waverley novels — the Surgeon's Daughter:^ Colonel Meadows
Taylor's novel called Tippoo Suliaun contains masterly sketches of the
times \ and several lifelike and graphic sketches of the Canarese people
may be found in his other Indian novels. Hut it seems unnecessary to
enter farther upon this subject, except to add that a volume on Haidar
AH and Tipu Sultan, by Mr. Bowring, is included in the recent Rulers
of India series, edited by Sir ^V. W. Hunter.

' Another revision has l^een completed in the last few years.

2 There have already Ijeen issued two vohnnes — lusiriptiom at S'ravana Belgola, in
18S9 ; and Inscriptions in the Mysore District, Part I., in 1S94.

^ There is a memorial tal)iet in Trinity Church, Bangalore, to tlie great novelist's
eldest son, Sir WaUer Scott, who was a cavalry ofticer here, and died on his way




The monuments of sculpture, engraving, and architecture in Mysore
have not been surpassed by those of any country in India. Before
describing the masterpieces of design and execution, which remain and
continue to extort admiration to this day, a few words may be devoted
to the ruder megahthic structures which preceded them, and which
abound in such numbers in all parts of the country.

Sto7ie monuments. — The earliest, probably, in point of time are the
dolmens,! consisting of enormous massive slabs of unhewn stone,
supported on naturally formed slabs or columns of stone. The most
numerous class of dolmens found in Mysore are stone chambers or
cists, also called kistvaens. They consist sometimes of only three or
four, but generally of six or more stones, set up edgeways and covered
by a capstone. The stone chambers or cells, which are usually not
more than 2 or 3 feet high, may often be seen in great numbers near
Sivite temples, arranged side by side, as if forming the boundary of a
yard or enclosure towards which their open ends face, and seem to be
erections of the Kurubar. They are sometimes isolated, and of larger
size, containing rude sculptures similar to those of zvVrt/^rt/ and fndstika!,
to be mentioned further on.

The kistvaens are generally found below the surface of the soil, their
site being indicated by one or more stone circles or cromlechs'- above.
They are thus described by Major Cole, who explored many in Mysore
and Coorg.'^ " They are not excavations, but actual structures, consist-
ing of a large flagstone of granite at the bottom, with four similar slabs,
all hewn and made to fit, forming a stone cist, the capstone being
a large unhewn block of granite. This block is generally found in
the centre of the circle of stones, with the top just visible above the
surface, or about a foot below it. The stones forming the circle are
buried from i to 3 feet below the surface, and project above from i to 2
feet." The stone forming the eastern end of the cist generally has a
circular opening towards the top, of about i foot 8 inches diameter, and

' From the Celtic do! or daul, table, and men or mcun, stone.

^ From croin, a circle or curved, and lech, stone.

^ Ind. Ant., II, 88. See also a paper by Captain Mackenzie, ib., II, 7.


the capstone projects over this entrance from i to 2 feet. The interior
dimensions of the chambers vary.^

The contents of the kistvaens consist, in nearly every case, of vessels
of pottery placed against the western side facing the orifice, both kists
and vessels being completely filled with earth, well rammed in by the
action probably of time and water. The vessels are of various sizes
and forms, often elegantly shaped. They are usually of red or black
clay, well burnt and polished, and decorated with beading and lines in
different patterns.- Sometimes the stone circles or cromlechs have
been found on tumuli, or independent and not surrounding a kistvaen.
A\'ithin them have been found, on digging, the remnants of vessels
apparently buried without the stone receptacle. In one case (in Coorg)
the vessels were found buried at the foot of a large stone, opposite an
entrance to the circle, formed of two upright slabs arched above.

These curious structures, — dolmens, cromlechs, kistvaens, etc. — it is
now known, are found throughout every part of the globe, in some
countries in extraordinary numbers. In India they most abound in the
west.'* That they are memorials of a primeval race there can be no
doubt, and it is generally held that they are either Turanian or Celtic.
In the south of India they are often called by the natives PdnHu ko/is*
and are supposed to have been the residences of a pigmy race.* Others
call them tombs of the Pandavas. That their object was sepulchral
scarcely admits of question, and the vessels in them were probably
cinerary urns for the preservation of ashes or other remains of the dead,
while the open vases and dishes contained either offerings to the manes
or food for the dead, introduced through the opening in the end, which
may have been left for this purpose.

It is curious that in Molkalmuru taluq, the similar structures on a

' Of those opened, one was 1 1 feel long, 5 feet 8 inches broad, and 4 feet high.
Another was only 6 by 4, l)ut 4 feet high. One capstone measured 12 feet 3 inches liy
8 feet, and was i foot thick ; another was 11 feet 4 inches l)y 10 feel 2 inches, and
varied in thickness from i foot 4 inches to i foot 8 inches.

* One of the finest specimens found was a vase standing 2 feet 9 inches high, and
5 feet 1 1 inches in circumference at the centre. The mouth was 3 feet 6 inches in
circumference, and the neck of the vase 2 feet io|t inches round.

^ A map to ilUistrate their distril)ution will lie found at the end of Mr. Fergusson's
book, Ritdc Sto)ic iMoiituiicii/s.

* But may not this term be really of European origin, suggested by the French
name, which some of the early Jesuit priests may have used to designate them ? hor
VVace, an Anglo-Norman poet, says of Stonehenge and similar structures : —

Stanheiiges out nom en Englois,

Pieres pandues en Francois.— Sir J. Li'nnocK, Prchisl. Times, 122.

* With regard to this, again, it is singular to note, as there may be the same under-
lying idea, that " the Latin manes meant probably in the beginning no more than the
Little Ones, the Small Folk."— Max Miiller, Sc. KcL, 366.


somewhat smaller scale are called Mbryara 7na}ie, houses of the Moryas
or Mauryas, as if affording a clue to their period, and I find that this
is also the name given to them by the Badagas on the Nilagiri hills.'
There are also stone circles, single or in groups, on high waste places,
which are called Mbrya dimie, mounds of the Moryas. These occur in
the Molkalmuru, Challakeri, and Chitaldroog taluqs. I have opened
several of the circles, but they contain nothing, and are evidently
foundations for something above ground and not intended to cover
excavations underground. They may possibly mark the sites of Bedar
encampments, as the Bedar commonly erect circular mud huts, and
their temple is a circular hut on a raised platform, with a wooden stake
in the middle for the god.

Menhirs'- or free standing big stones, have been commonly erected
for ages to mark particular spots. The karu kallu erected at the
foundation of a village have been previously referred to. Others called
yelle kallu are boundary stones, and are often rudely carved either with
the Saiva symbol of the Unga^ or the Vaishnava symbols of the s'atikha
and chakra, the conch and discus, according to the creed of the erector.

A more interesting class are the mdsti-kallu and vira-kallu. The
former, properly mahd-sati-kallu, are supposed to mark the spots where
widows became sail by burning wdth the dead bodies of their husbands :
the latter where some hero fell in battle, or otherwise came by his
death. The masti-kal are slabs about 4 feet high, bearing the sculpture
of a pillar or post with a human arm projecting from it. The hand is
outstretched and pointing upwards, the fingers being separated, with
often a lime in the hollow between the thumb and forefinger. Under
this is a rude sculpture of the man and his wife. These stones are very
common, principally, I think, in the west of Mysore.

The vira-kal or hero stones are often elaborately sculptured. The
slab is generally divided into three compartments, each containing
sculpture in relief. The lowest represents the scene in which the hero
fell; the middle one his triumphant ascent to the world of gods,
generally borne along in a car surrounded by apsaras or celestial
nymphs ; the top one shows the hero in the upper world, seated in
the immediate presence of the divinity. Between the scenes are
sometimes a few lines of inscription, giving the name of the hero, the
date of the event, etc. The lower tableaux are of much interest, as
illustrating scenes from life, and showing the costumes, weapons, and
other features of the time in which they were erected.

' Gngg's Manual of /he Nilagiri Disfriit, 242.

- Jleii, stone, and hir, tall or big. Minar and minaret are said to be derived from
the same root.



Sculpture. — The most remarkable specimen of sculpture in Mysore,
if not in India, is the colossal Jain statue of Gomates'vara at Sravana
Belgola. It was erected in about 983, and is 57 feet in height. It is
in the simple human form, nude, and stands at the summit of a rocky
hill, having no support above the thighs. The sculptor's name was
possibly Aritto Nemi.

"The images of this king or Jain saint,'' Mr. Fergusson remarks, "are
among the most remarkable works of native art in the south of India. Three
of them are known, and have long been known, to Europeans, and it is
doubtful if any more exist.' They are too remarkable objects not to attract
the attention of even the most indifferent Sa.xon. That at Sravan Belgola
attracted the attention of the late Duke of Wellington, when as Sir Arthur
Wellesley he commanded a division at the siege of Seringapatam. He, like
all those who followed him, was astonished at the amount of labour such a
work must have entailed, and puzzled to know whether it was a part of the
hill or had been moved to the spot v/here it now stands. The fomier is the
more probable theory. The hill, called Indra-giri, is one mass of granite,
about 400 feet in height, and probably had a mass or Tor standing on its
summit, either a part of the subjacent mass or lying on it. This the Jains
undertook to fashion into a statue 70 feet 3 inches in height, and have
achieved it with marvellous success. The task of carving a rock standing
in its place the Hindu mind never would have shrunk from had it even been
twice the size ; but to move such a mass up the steep smooth side of the
hill seems a labour beyond their power, even with all their skill in concen-
trating masses of men on a single point. Whether, however, the rock was
found in situ or was moved, nothing grander or more imposing exists any-
where out of Egypt, and even there no known statue surpasses it in height,
though it must be confessed they do excel it in the perfection of art they

Another excellent example of sculpture is the fine group of Sala and
the tiger, which is placed in a conspicuous position on a projection
immediately in front of the vinidna, or tower, of many temples erected
under the Hoysalas. The incident is conventionally treated, and with
many variations in details. But generally there is a figure of .Sala on

1 The three are the one at Sravan Belgola, 70 feet 3 inches high (according to some,
Init l)y actual measurement 57 feet); one at Karkala, erected in 1431, said to lie
41 feet 5 inches in height ; and one at V

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 60 of 98)