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I N D I A.
MADE DURING THE YEARS
ALEXANDER CUNNINGHAM, C. s. I.,
MEUBER, ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE :
MEMBER, NUMISMATIC SOCIETY.
What is aimed at is an accurate description, illustrated by plans, measurements,
What the learned world demand of us in India is to be quite certain of our
Bengal Asiatic Society's Journal, 1838, p. 227.
THE matter contained in these two volumes is the result of the archæological survey which I conducted during four consecutive years from 1862 to 1865. The object of this survey cannot be better stated than in the memorandum which I laid before Lord Canning in November 1861, and which led to my immediate appointment as Archæological Surveyor to the Government of India, as notified in the following minute : Minute by the Right Hon'ble the GOVERNOR GENERAL OF INDIA
in Council on the Antiquities of Upper India,—dated 22nd January 1862.
“In November last, when at Allahabad, I had some communications with Colonel A. Cunningham, then the Chief Engineer of the North-Western Provinces, regarding an investigation of the archæological remains of Upper India.
“It is impossible to pass through that part,—or indeed, so far as my experience goes, any part of the British territories in India without being struck by the neglect with which the greater portion of the architectural remains, and of the traces of by-gone civilization have been treated, though many of these, and some which have had least notice, are full of beauty and interest.
“ By 'neglect' I do not mean only the omission to restore them, or even to arrest their decay; for this would be a task which, in many cases, would require an expenditure of labour and money far greater than any Government of India could reasonably bestow upon it.
“But so far as the Government is concerned, there has been neglect of a much cheaper duty,—that of investigating and placing on record, for the instruction of future generations, many particulars that might still be rescued from oblivion, and throw light upon the early history of England's great dependency; a history which, as time moves on, as the country becomes more easily accessible and traversable, and as Englishmen are led to give more thought to India than such as barely suffices to hold it and govern it, will assuredly occupy, more and more, the attention of the intelligent and enquiring classes in European countries.
“It will not be to our credit, as an enlightened ruling power, if we continue to allow such fields of investigation, as the remains of the old Buddhist capital in Behar, the vast ruins of Kanouj, the plains round Delhi, studded with ruins more thickly than even the Campagna of Rome, and many others, to remain without more examination than they have hitherto received. Every thing that has hitherto been done in this way has been done by private persons, imperfectly and without system. It is impossible not to feel that there are European Governments, which, if they had held our rule in India, would not have allowed this to be said.
“ It is true that in 1844, on a representation from the Royal Asiatic Society, and in 1847, in accordance with detailed suggestions from Lord Hardinge, the Court of Directors gave a liberal sanction to certain arrangements for examining, delineating, and recording some of the chief antiquities of India. But for one reason or another, mainly perhaps owing to the officer entrusted with the task having other work to do, and owing to his early death, very little seems to have resulted from
this endeavour. A few drawings of antiquities, and some remains, were transmitted to the India House, and some 15 or 20 papers were contributed by Major Kittoe and Major Cunningham to the Journals of the Asiatic Society; but, so far as the Government is concerned, the scheme appears to have been lost sight of within two or tbree years of its adoption.
“I enclose a memorandum drawn up by Colonel Cunning, ham, who has, more than any other officer on this side of India, made the antiquities of the country his study, and who has here sketched the course of proceeding which a more complete and systematic archæological investigation should, in his opinion, take.
“I think it good,—and none the worse for being a begin. ning on a moderate scale. It will certainly cost very little in itself, and will commit the Government to no future or unforeseen expense. For it does not contemplate the spending of any money upon repairs and preservation. This,
when done at all, should be done upon a separate and full consideration of any case which may seem to claim it. What is aimed at is an accurate description,-illustrated by plans, measurements, drawings or photographs, and by copies of inscriptions,-of such remains as most deserve notice, with the history of them so far as it may be traceable, and a record of the traditions that are retained regarding them.
"I propose that the work be entrusted to Colonel Cunningham, with the understanding that it continue during the present and the following cold season, by which time a fair judgment of its utility and interest may be formed. It may then be persevered in, and expanded, or otherwise dealt with as may seem good at the time.
“ Colonel Cunningham should receive Rs. 450 a month, with Rs. 250 when in the field to defray the cost of making surveys and measurements, and of other mechanical assist
If something more should be necessary to obtain the services of a native subordinate of the Medical or PublicWorks Department, competent to take photographic views, it should be given.
" It would be premature to determine how the results of Colonel Cunningham's labours should be dealt with; but whilst the Government would of course retain a proprietary right in them for its own purposes, I recommend that the interests of Colonel Cunningham should be considered in the terms upon which they may be furnished to the Public." Memorandum by COLONEL A. CUNNINGHAM, of Engineers, regarding a proposed investigation of the archæological remains of Upper India.
“ DURING the one hundred years of British dominion in India, the Government has done little or nothing towards the preservation of its ancient monuments, which, in the almost total absence of any written history, form the only reliable sources of information as to the early condition of the country. Some of these monuments have already endured for ages, and are likely to last for ages still to come; but there are many others which are daily suffering from the effects of time, and which must soon disappear altogether, unless preserved by the accurate drawings and faithful descriptions of the archæologist.