'Sammelana platform can be used to popularise Kannada numerals'

'Sammelana platform can be used to popularise Kannada numerals'

N S Rangaraju, retired professor in Ancient History and Archaeology, said, the 83rd Akhila Bharatha Kannada Sahitya Sammelana, being held in the city from November 24, can be used as a platform to popularise Kannada numerals.

He said the tracing of the Kannada numerals in inscriptions is interesting. "The earliest Kannada numerals can be traced to the period of the Kadambas. In some inscriptions, we can see one or two Kannada numerals. But in a rare type of inscription, of the period of Kadamba Ravivarma between 485 to 519 AD, we can see one to nine numerals," he said.

"B R Gopal, a researcher and epigraphist, was doing field work in 1971 in Banavasi of Uttara Kannada district. About 5 km away from Banavasi at Gudnapur, he discovered a 20-feet tall, square in the bottom and octagonal after a height of 16-feet, inscribed stone pillar, whose top portion is broken and damaged. Like the Banavasi inscription of Kadamba Mrigesvarma, this Gudnapur inscription is also engraved from bottom to top and there are 27 lines," Rangaraju said.

"The use of Kannada numerals from one to nine in one or the other way in this inscription is interesting. Number 1 figures in line 18; 2, 3, 4 and 5 in line 19; 6 in 20; 7 and 8 in 21; and 9 in line 22. According to Gopal, probably this is the only record of this period, where the first nine numbers are found engraved. It will be the earliest record showing one to nine early Kannada numerals," he said.

"But the proper date of the engraving of the inscription is not available. In the available other records, the date of Kadamba Ravivarma is 485 to 519 AD and this inscription might have been engraved in the early 6th century AD. While Halmidi inscription of the Kadambas is the first and early Kannada inscription, Gudnapur inscription is the first Kadamba inscription with one to nine Kannada numerals," he points out.

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