Two Inscriptions from Arakan
A.B. M. Habibullah
Some years ago a Burmese scholar, Col. U Bashin, of the Historical Commission of Burma, visited Dacca and brought with him photographs of two Persian inscriptions which he said were found along with others in the Palace site in the ruins of Mrohaung, the old capital of Arakan, now within the Akyab district. Col. Bashin had a very short stay here, and could not leave the photographs but he was kind enough to let me examine them for a few minutes when we met at a dinner in the Burmese Consul's house.
I learnt that he had approached the Archaeology office at Dacca for a transcription of the photographs, but he requested me also to let him have my own reading so that he could publish the full text on his return to Rangoon. I could not see the transcription made by the Archaeology office which on subsequent enquiry informed me that the text had been made over to Col. Bashin and no copy had been kept.
The amateur snapshot photographs were very small, and the stones were apparently broken and corroded and, at places, had flaked off. From the brief examination that I could make of the photographs, I prepared a tentative reading and subsequently sent it with my comments to Col. Bashin in Rangoon. All these years I had been waiting for his edition of the inscriptions, but since he has apparently not done so, I publish below my transcription and comments for all they are worth, if only to draw attention to the archaeological material a survey of this region can reveal.1
Inscription I is clearly a record of the completion of the tomb of one Akalkhan on a date between the 13th and 23rd Muharram in the year 900 and on the day of the funeral feast held on the 40th day after "his death. The doubtful words, underlined, would not seriously alter the meaning.
The Second inscription is more interesting, but unfortunately very difficult to decipher satisfactorily. Words underlined in the transcription are doubtful and certain other words are totally unreadable. We must await a better photograph or stampage before a coherent sense can be obtained of this epigraph. My translation and comments are purely tentative. Words in italics represent my own interpretation of apparently unintelligible words in the text.
Line I: Farmsn of the high and august authority :The humble Kawal Khan, trader ( Karbari ), with ( his ) son (and) small ... ... daughter (girl),
Line II: has asked for the help of the Sultan Nssir b. Mansnr Shah, may his kingdom endure (that ?) if excess ......which remain is given,
Line III: I (we) would carry to freedom... Order is issued that ...husband be not separated (?) ', No one call the sons of these to task ....
Line IV: son of Bahmud of Rakhang to give the girl in the presence of the party and Kabdes Manik, Huba Manik, son of Rangaz Jahan,
Line V: Jangiz Man (ik) son of Anik, should accompany them to Zaznagar... ...; on another side ...... Abisar Patra, Kalu. Patra, Kamal Din
Line VI: Patra, Branka Bir Patra, Gosaimia ... ..., in the presence of (all ?) these ; ...... decreed (?) If any one.........
Line VII: he will .........; this (writing) ... ... on the ... ... of Qadi 'Ata Malik. Therefore whoever does not heed this word will loose faith in the two worlds. Dated on the 19th of the month of Ramadan, Year 900. ( 1494-95 A.D, )
It will be useless and premature to comment on this very imperfect text. But the names of the Sultan Nssir ibn Mansur, (L.II),Qadi 'Ata Malik and the date 900 (L. VII) admit of no doubt. Who could be this Sultan ? No Arakanese King is known who called himself by this name.2
Qadi 'Ata Malik of the inscription cannot be identified with Makhdum Shaikh al-Masha'ikh Maulana 'Ata Wahid al-din who is mentioned in Bengal inscriptions ranging in date from 1363 to 1512 and who apparently died before 1363 in Devikot ( Dinajpur, now in West Bengal).3
1. An indication of the epigraphic materials lying in Arakan is provided by the Sanskrit inscriptions published by E. H. Johnstooe in the BLSOAS XI, 1943-46, p, 35T sq-
2. For a list of the Arakanese kings using Muslim regnal name see Harrison : Arakan, in Ency. 1sl. new edition.
3. Dani A. H.: Bibliography of the Muslim Inscriptions of Bengal, in JASP, II 1957, Appendix, inscription nos. 14, 55, 70 and 105.
This paper was published in The Journal of Asiatic Society of Pakistan, VOL. XI, NO. 1, April 1966. P121,122,123124.
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