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0089 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 89 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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v3im 4+1: i. e. ` Raja 7i-varmah', the reference being doubtless to the same prince as in the Pakhtôridini inscription. Apart, however, from the question as to the original Sanskrit form .of the name, probably 7ayavarman, there remains doubt also as to whether 7ivarmah is to be taken as a nominative sing. or as a mistake of the engraver for *7ivarmanah, the correct genitive. Turning to the left side of the inscription only the aksara 4 nearest to the Sttipa design can be considered as assured. The one preceding it suggested to me at the time of examination either a zi or a 4, two small horizontal top strokes being discernible, as well as a vertical stroke descending from the right-hand top stroke. The character on the extreme left can scarcely be read otherwise than as g, though its beginning has been injured by the peeling of the surface. I am unable to interpret these three characters as a Sanskrit word or as part of one. But the queer Sanskrit of the rest, with its manifest misspellings, might well prepare us for some un-Indian form.

Whatever the right interpretation of the whole inscription may be, it is certainly dedicatory in character and is approximately contemporary with the Pakhtbridini inscription, the characters, though less cursive, showing the same palaeographic type.28

The Charrun stone affords another striking example of local worship surviving the change of religion, and as such I have already mentioned it in a short paper dealing with such survivals north of the Hindukush.29 The place where this Buddhist monument was found is known to the people by the name of Mahajatu guch, ` the sacred corner'. Whether this name clung to the locality before the discovery of the boulder or has only been applied to it since, it is certain that the villagers, good Muhammadans as they have been for centuries, look upon the rock-carving with reverent awe and have their pious legend about it. A holy man, or ` Buzurg', of the old times is believed to have sat at that spot and then to have mysteriously disappeared, the boulder with its carving remaining to mark the sacred spot. The thinly disguised worship which the villagers now pay to this Buddhist relic, and to which the protecting hut bears witness, is all the more interesting because the configuration of the surrounding ground makes it evident that the boulder must have been completely buried by alluvial soil, probably for centuries. It lies on the edge of a small alluvial fan, where the accumulation of earth can only have been a gradual process. Yet I was assured that, until the neighbouring settler came upon it while preparing a new terrace for tillage, nothing was visible above ground. Had a tradition of sanctity lingered about the spot even during the long period of occultation, or has Muhammadanism so little affected the subconscious beliefs of the population that they are ever ready to reassert themselves at the old places of worship ? However this may be, it is curious to observe that the reappearance of this object of local worship is indirectly due to the economic effects produced by the pax Britannica which has come to these remote valleys since 1895. Here, as elsewhere in Chitral and Mastûj, recent years have witnessed marked efforts to extend the area of cultivation along the foot of the barren and towering mountains, and there can be no doubt that these efforts are the natural result of the growing pressure of population produced by improved political and economic conditions. To this historically interesting fact I shall have to return anon.


The mountain territory of Mastûj 1 which may be appropriately described as comprising the valleys drained by the Yarkhûn River above its confluence with the river of Drasan, appears, as far

28 See note 19 above.   acceptance, though the local pronunciation, as I heard it,

29 See my Note on Buddhist local worship in Muhammadan   seems to justify Raverty's preference for Mastrich, the spelling

Central Asia, J.R.A.S., 191o, p. 845.   used by the careful native author of his `surveys'; cf. Notes

I use this form of the name which has found official   on Afghanistan, p. 161*.

Survival of local


Historical independence of Mastüj.