Rare Telugu-Persian Qutb Shahi inscription found

By: J.S. Ifthekhar

A 16th century bilingual inscription discovered in the Golconda Fort here adds a new dimension to the Qutb Shahi history. It clearly establishes the close bond the Qutb Shahi kings had with their subjects and how they patronised the local language.

Bilingual inscriptions are uncommon and this one containing the Persian and Telugu script is considered a rare find. The Archaeological Survey of India, Hyderabad Circle, stumbled upon the miniature pillar bearing the bilingual inscription among a heap of stones near the camel stable in the fort. The stones had fallen from the fortification wall of the fort. “A chance find and a lucky one,” says R. Krishnaiah, superintending archaeologist, ASI.

Inscriptions engraved on both sides of the pillar are badly eroded and beyond decipherment. ASI authorities have sent a copy of the inscription to its epigraphy branch in Nagpur for interpretation. However, tentative analysis shows that the two-foot inscription belonged to the period of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah, fourth king, who ruled during 1550-1580.

The script on the miniature pillar measuring 0.25 metre (thickness), 0.26 metre (width) and 0.68 metre (height) is found to match the style of inscription done by Vijayanagar emperors. At the top are embossed symbols of the sun and the moon, a customary practice in Telugu inscriptions.

“It is probably an administrative order issued on an important occasion for the benefit of people,” says Mr. Krishnaiah.

Ibrahim Qutb Shah patronised Telugu poets in his court in a break from tradition. He probably wanted to endear himself to the locals and issued official proclamations in Telugu. “There are poems to show how the locals praised the king as Ibharamdu,” says D. Kanna Babu, deputy superintending archaeologist, who found the inscription.

It is now erected near the office of conservator assistant for public viewing. [The Hindu]

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