Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 1)

(London :  Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.,  1910.)



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CHAPTER XVI.                             173

denote the pronunciation of the character above which
it stands.

The most generally known alphabet is called Siddha- on the locai

, r ,     ,      ,                              . ,        -,               .    .        .        alphabets of

matrtkd, which is by some considered as originating the Hindus.

from Kashmir, for the people of Kashmir use it.    But

it is also used in Varanasi,    This town and Kashmir are

the high schools of Hindu sciences.    The same writing

is used in Madhyadesa, i.e. the   middle   country, the

country all around Kanauj, which is also called Arya-


In Malava there is another alphabet called Ndgara,
which differs from the former only in the shape of the

Next comes an alphabet called Ardhandgari, i.e. half-
ndgara, so called because it is compounded of the
former two. It is used in Bhatiya and some parts of

Other alphabets are the Malwdri, used in Malwashau,
in Southern Sind, towards the sea-coast; the Saindhava,
used in Bahmanwa or Almansura; the Karndta, used in
Karnatadesa, whence those troops come which in the
armies are known as Kannara; the Andhri, used in
Andhradesa ; the Dirwari (Drcividi), used in Dirwara-
desa (Dravidadesa); the Ldri, used in Laradesa (Lata-
desa) ; the Gauri (Gaudi), used in Purvadesa, i.e. the
Eastern country ; the Bhaikshuki, used in Udunpur in
Purvadesa.    This last is the writing of Buddha.

The Hindus begin their books with Dm, the word of on the
creation, as we begin them with " In the name of
God." The figure of the word om is Q\y This figure
does not consist of letters; it is simply an image
invented to represent this word, which people use,
believing that it will bring them a blessing, and
meaning thereby a confession of the unity of God.
Similar to this is the manner in which the Jews write
the name of God, viz. by three Hebrew yods. In the
Thora  the  word is written YRVH and pronounced
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