A possible Tamil link to the Ramkhamhaeng inscription

A post by D. Hellmann-Rajanayagam and Ruediger Korff from the University of Passau about the Ramkhamhaeng inscription and its possible links to a 1st century Tamil story.

Another view of the Ramkhamhaeng inscription
New Mandala, 23 October 2014

The Ramkhamhaeng inscription is regarded as unique and specific to Thailand. In the late 1980s a discussion started about its authenticity (see Vickery 1987). While working on a project on state ideologies, we noticed that a similar inscription could be found in Bagan. After some research, it became obvious that a lot of what is described in the Ramkhamhaeng inscription quite closely resembles a story from 1st century B.C. Tamil literature. In short it is as follows:

A king had a bell hung over his bed that could be pulled from the front of his palace. Every subject feeling treated unjustly could ring it and ask for redress. Once a cow rang the bell because the king’s son had run over her calf with his chariot. In retribution, the king had his son run over and killed by a chariot as well.

Full story here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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