The Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy (ARIE)

The Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy (ARIE) is the name givenretrospectively for the earlier volumesto a series of annual reports started in 1887 by the Public Department, Government of Madras, initially recording the progress report of the Government Epigraphist.1 The name of the series has changed several times, notably when it became a Government of India endeavour and its scope extended to the whole of British India.

From 1887 to 1921 (ARIE 1887–1888 to ARIE 1920–1921), the ARIEs were issued as Government orders (GO) of the Madras Presidency (Fig. 1) with further specification that it is the report of the Government Epigraphist.2

Fig. 1 — GO 1462, 1887-10-24 = ARIE 1886–1887

ARIEs are thus sometimes referred to in secondary literature as GO. Since the early ARIEs were published by the Government of Madras Presidency, these are also referred to as MER, that is, Madras Epigraphical Record. Also found is the acronym ARE.

The reports were afterwards successively named (Figs. 2–3):

  • Annual Report on Epigraphy (ARIE 1921–1922)
  • Annual Report on South–Indian Epigraphy (ARIE 1922–1923 to ARIE 1930–1931)
  • Annual Report on South Indian Epigraphy (ARIE 1931–1932 to ARIE 1944–1945)

Fig. 2 — Front pages of ARIE 1921-1922, ARIE 1922–23, and ARIE 1931–32

  • Department of Archaeology Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy (ARIE 1945–1946 to ARIE 1957–1958)
  • Archaeological Survey of India Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy (ARIE 1958–1959 to present)

Fig. 3 — Front pages of ARIE 1945-1946 and ARIE 1958–59

The first editor was Eugen Hultzsch, Government Epigraphist, that is, Epigraphist, Archaeological Survey of Southern India. In further issues, the editor was the “Government Epigraphist of/for India” (or whatever the designation of the position of the head of the ASI epigraphy branch, established first in Ooty in Tamil Nadu and later moved to Mysore in Karnataka) or, when the position was vacant, an Assistant Epigraphist.

The first reports are very short and were published as separate GOs, covering sometimes a period of a few months only. Retrospectively, these can be grouped and named ARIE as follows:

ARIE 1886–1887

  • GO 1462, 1887-10-24 (21st November 1886 to 20th September 1887)3

ARIE 1887–1888

  • GO 424, 1888-04-20 (21st September 1887 to 31st January 1888)4
  • GO 745, 1888-07-27 (February, March and April 1888)
  • GO 877, 1888-09-06 (May and June 1888)

ARIE 1888–1889

  • GO 1050 (July, August and September 1888)
  • GO 186 (December 1888 and January 1889)
  • GO 365 (February and March 1889)
  • GO 898 (second and third quarter of 1889)

ARIE 1889–1890

  • GO 189 (October to January 1890)
  • GO 355 (February to April 1890
  • GO 717 (May to September 1890)

ARIE 1890–1891

  • GO 452 (October 1890 to March 1891)
  • GO 675 (July 1891)

The standard system, adopted from 1892 onwards (ARIE 1891–1892), consists in a report covering one year of epigraphical work, spread on two calendar years, that is, the second semester of year 1 and the first semester of year 2. Compared to earlier ARIEs, which were short, these often exceed 100 pages and systematically contain appendices (numbered with capital letters) in the form of tables providing an individual number to the inscriptions and other information (e.g. for ARIE 1891–1892: place of inscription, dynasty, king, date, language).

For instance, the ARIE 1891–1892 (GO 544–45, 1892–08–06) (Fig. 4) has two appendices:

  • Appendix A: Stones inscriptions copied in 1891 (continued from last report)

That is, stone inscriptions n° 9–46 copied in the second semester of 1891, whereas stone inscriptions n° 1–8 copied in the first semester of 1891 are to be found in ARIE 1890–1891 (GO 452, 1891–06–10).

  • Appendix B: Stones inscriptions copied in 1892

That is, stone inscriptions n° 1–163 copied in the first semester of 1892, whereas stone inscriptions n° 164ff. copied in the second semester of 1892 are to be found in ARIE 1892–1893 (GO 1893–08–14), appendix A.

Fig. 4 — GO 675, 1891-08-07 = ARIE 1891–1892

In the course of time, other appendices were added, but not always represented, that is:

  • List of copper-plates copied
  • List of photographs taken
  • List of drawings prepared
  • List of coins / List of coins and seals
  • List of (principal) dates collected in the appendices of the volume
  • List of stone inscriptions of the Bombay–Karnatak (for the first time in ARIE 1926–1927)
  • List of inscriptions copied in previous years, e.g.

ARIE 1943–1945 contains an Appendix E “List of stone inscriptions copied by the office of the Government Epigraphist for India during the year 1938–9.”

Inscriptions of “Pre 1945–46 Collections,” that is inscriptions not from the Madras Presidency, are listed in an appendix (from ARIE 1955–1956 to ARIE 1965–1966)

  • List of Arabic & Persian inscriptions (from ARIE 1952–1953 onwards)

For instance, the ARIE 1922–23 has the following appendices (Fig. 5):

  • AList of copper-plates examined during the year 1922–23. [n° 1–15]
  • BStone inscriptions copied in 1922. [n° 295–842]
  • CStones inscriptions copied in 1923. [n° 1–216]
  • DList of photographs taken during the year 1922–23. [n° 737–748]
  • EDates from appendices A, B, C to the Annual Report for 1922–23

Fig. 5 —  ARIE 1922–1923, table of contents, detail

From ARIE 1927–28, stone inscriptions copied in second semester of year 1 and stone inscriptions copied in first semester of year 2 were no more listed in two separate appendices (one for the second semester of year 1, followed by one for the first semester of year), but in a single appendix (“B. Stone inscriptions copied in 1927–28”).

When volumes earlier than ARIE 1966–67, were reprinted by the ASI, several individual ARIEs were collected in a single volume, retrospectively designated as Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy.5

Note also that sometimes individual ARIEs were published in one instalment:

  • ARIE 1939–40 to ARIE 1942–43 in 1953
  • ARIE 1943–44 and ARIE 1944–45 in 1955

Indexes appear from ARIE 1945–46 (topographical, dynastic). Later on further indexes (languages, scripts) were added.

Plates reproducing estampages/rubbings are also published in ARIE.

  1. The first Government Epigraphist of the Government of Madras was Eugen Hultzsch. []
  2. see e.g. ARIE 1889–1890, bottom of title–page: “Recording the progress report of the Government Epigraphist for the second and third quarters of 1889.” []
  3. “Noting with satisfaction the work performed by Dr. Hultzsch, Epigraphist, from 21st November 1886 to 20th September 1887.” (bottom of title–page). []
  4. “Recording letter from the Director–General forwarding Dr. Hultzsch’s progress report from 21st September 1887 to 31st January 1888.” (top of title–page). []
  5. E.g. ARIE 1888–1895, ARIE 1906–1910, ARE 1911–14, etc. []
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