As can be seen from the preface to Prof. Sten Konow’s edition of the Kharoshṭhī
Inscriptions, more than thirty years ago arrangements were concluded for the
preparation of a volume of early Brāhmī and Kharoshṭhī Inscriptions in CII. The
joint editorship of this volume was entrusted to Professors Lüders (Brāhmī inscriptions)
and Rapson (Kharoshṭhī inscriptions). In 1922, however, Prof. Rapson relinquished
his post on account of other engagements, and Prof. Konow took over the charge and
succeeded in bringing out the volume referred to above on Kharoshṭhī inscriptions in
about six years.
The task of Prof. Lüders was more comprehensive, as the number of early Brāhmī
inscriptions was comparatively greater than the number of Kharoshṭhī inscriptions.
Moreover Prof. Lüders could not devote his whole time to this work as he was preoccupied
with many other problems of Indology, though for the last twenty years of his life he tried
his best to fulfil the responsibility he undertook. Shortly before his lamented death on
7th May 1943, when he was already seriously ill, he requested Prof. E. Waldschmidt to
continue his work on Brāhmī inscriptions and bring his unfinished task to an end.
the death of Prof. Lüders, Mrs. Lüders handed over the unfinished manuscript of the work
on Brāhmī inscriptions and other similar manuscripts on different subjects to Prof.
Waldschmidt. As Prof. Waldschmidt was then in the military service, all this manuscript material was put into trunks and kept securely in a safe in the Berlin Academy, of which
Prof. Lüders was a prominent member and head of the Oriental Commission. Later, these
trunks, together with other precious material in the Berlin Academy, were brought for security
purposes into a mine at Bernburg. After the war, in the summer of 1945 the trunks were
plundered and their contents scattered, with the result that some of this valuable material
was lost in the confusion. What remained was collected by an official of the Berlin Academy
and was again entrusted to the charge of Prof. Waldschmidt.
After putting this material into proper order and on inspecting it, Prof. Waldschmidt
noticed that in the material before him there was nearly nothing from the second group of
Brahmi inscriptions which is styled as “Southern Inscriptions” in Prof. Lüders’ List and
which begins with the number 962. Evidently Prof. Lüders intended to publish the
Northern and Southern Brahmi Inscriptions separately in two volumes, and it was obvious
that he first worked only on the northern inscriptions. Even the manuscript of Prof. Lüders
on Northern inscriptions was not complete when it came to the hands of Prof. Waldschmidt,
and there were many lacunae which needed to be filled in. It is difficult to decide whether
these lacunae were already there as Prof. Lüders had not worked out these parts or whether
they were results of the plundering and mishandling of the trucks. It seems, however, certain
that Prof. Lüders had not written the introduction to his intended volume treating the questions
relating to the different eras and other points of general interest. Similarly the treatment
on language of the different groups of inscriptions as also the various indices were missing
in the manuscript. The bulk of the manuscript as it then existed dealt with the Mathura
and Bharhut inscriptions besides some other smaller groups and separate inscriptions of
major importance. Hence Prof. Waldschmidt proposed in 1947 to the then Director General
of Archaeology to publish the material in different fascicles, beginning with the Bharhut
CII, Vol. 2, Part I, Calcutta 1929.
Shortly before the end of the war Mrs. Lüders had suddenly died on 13th of March 1945.