Uttaramerur Inscription


11:50 AM

1 min read
Uttaramerur Inscription Blog Image


Recently, Prime Minister of India referred to the Uttaramerur inscription in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, while discussing India’s democratic history.

Why in news?

  • While Uttaramerur has multiple inscriptions spanning centuries, the most famous one being referred to by the Prime Minister is from the reign of About the inscription:
  • The famous inscription from Parantaka I’s reign is found on the walls of the Vaikunda Perumal Temple.
  • The inscription gives details of the functioning of the local Sabha, i.e., the village assembly.
  • A Sabha was an assembly exclusively of brahmans and had specialised committees tasked with different things.
  • This gave details about how members were selected, the required qualifications, their roles and responsibilities, and even the circumstances in which they could be removed.
  • Required qualifications:
    • It includes ownership of a certain amount of land, having a house, being between the age of 35 and 70 and “knowing mantras and Brahmanas” (from the Vedic corpus).
    • An exception can be made on land ownership if the person has learnt at least “one Veda and four Bhashyas”. One must also be “well-versed in business” and “virtuous”.

What was the Selection procedure to the Sabha?

  • It says there were 30 wards. Everyone living in these 30 wards would assemble and select one representative for the village assembly.
  • All those eligible and willing would write their names on palm leaf tickets following which, the representative would be chosen on the basis of an elaborate draw of lots, conducted by priests in the inner hall of the building where the assembly meets.
  • Disqualification: The inscription then lists a number of factors which disqualify someone and their family like:
    • Not having submitted accounts while previously serving in a committee.
    • Committing any of the first four of the five ‘great sins’ (killing a brahman, drinking alcohol, theft and adultery)
    • Being associated with outcastes, and eating ‘forbidden’ dishes.


Q1) What is an Inscription?

Inscriptions refer to any form of writing or markings on a surface, typically made for the purpose of recording information, transmitting messages, or providing instructions.

Source: What the Uttaramerur inscription, recently referred to by PM Modi, says