Edicts of Ashoka – Mahasthan Inscription

Inscriptions of Ashoka

Mahasthan Inscription

This inscription was discovered on 30th November, 1931 at Mahasthan village in Bogra district of then Bengal. It is now housed in the Indian Museum at Kolkata. The inscription has six lines written in Mauryan period Brahmi.

The inscription does not mention Ashoka or any other Maurya king. As it is datable to the Ashokan period based upon its paleography, therefore it must belong to the Mauryan time. I have included this inscription in this list however it does not belong to Ashoka directly.

As the inscription talks about natural disaster like famine and superhuman acts, is there a reference to the famine which was said to have occurred during the last years of Chandragupta?

English translation by D R Bhandarkar

To Gobadam (Goberdhana) of Samvamgiyas ……. (was granted) by order. The Mahamatras from the highly auspicious Pundranagara will cause it to be carried out. (And likewise) paddy to be granted to the Samvamgiyas. The outbreak (of distress) in the town during outburst of superhuman agency shall be tiled over. When there is an excess of plenty, this granary and treasury (may be replenished) with paddy and gandaka coins.

English translation by Jean-Francois Salles

To Goberdhana of Samvamgiyas [ethnic or religious group] was granted by order sesamum and mustard seeds. The Sumatra [group of people] will cause it to be carried out from the prosperous city of Pundranagara. [And likewise] will cause paddy to be granted to the Samvamgiyas. In order to tide over the outbreak of distress caused by flood [or fire, or superhuman agency] and insects [parrots?] in the city, this granary and treasury will have to be replenished with paddy and Gandaka coins.

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