Gaddhegal Stones: An Analysis of Imprecations and Engraved Illustrations
Review Process: Double-Blinded, ISSN 2278 0211
Gaddhegal or the Ass Curse Stele is rock edict that has peculiar auspicious features like sun, moon and kalasha. The auspicious symbols ensure perpetuity of the grant and bestow prosperity upon the grantee. It also depicts an image of donkey and women in an act of sexual congress. The ass curse imagery engraved on these rock edicts suggests a warning to the transgressor of the grant. The inscriptions if any, engraved on them register land grants. While working on the dissertation ‘Rekindling the History of Shilaharas of North Kokan as Gleaned through the Recent Epigraphical Revelations’ under the Justice K T Telang Fellowship of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai, my attention was drawn towards this unique stones. Large number of Gaddhegal stones has been studied for the important epigraphical data engraved on them. However Ass Curse as engraved illustrations and the imprecations as text necessitated more attention and analysis. This paper will attempt to analyze the imprecations and the engraved illustrations of the ass curses with the help of thirty six new gaddhegal stones discovered from Maharashtra. An attempt is also made to understand the variations in the verses and illustrations as well as document various oral traditions that have survived in spite of the fact that the original meaning and context passed in oblivion.
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