(Fwd) Book of Poisons

Gabriele Zeller gabriele.zeller at UB.UNI-TUEBINGEN.DE
Mon Jun 8 14:22:20 UTC 1998

Dear colleagues,
I received the following mail which I 'd like to give to a wider
circle hoping that anyone could answer at least some of the
questions. Please answer directly to Meline Nielsen's address, NOT to
Indology and not to my address.
Thank you very much,
yours Gabriele
------- Weitergeleitete Nachricht / Forwarded message -------
Organization:  Westhill College Of HE
Date:          Mon, 1 Jun 1998 16:33:23 +0100 BST
Reply-to:      m.nielsen at westhill.ac.uk
Priority:      normal
Subject:       Book of Poisons
From:          "Meline Nielsen" <nielsenm at wh2.westhill.ac.uk>
To:            lis-middle-east at mailbase.ac.uk

I have received this enquiry from Dr Manzoor Alam (a medical doctor).

"On 27 June 98 I am presenting a paper to an International Conference
and the subject I have chosen is the Book of Poisons by Shanaq
al-Hindi, 300 BC. Chanakya or Shanaq al-Hindi wrote 'Niti Shastra'
and 'Arthsastra'. The 'Arthsastra' has a chapter on poisons. Kitab
al-Sumum or the Book of Poisons was first translated in Persian in
815 by Abu Hatim Bulkhi and it was further translated in Arabic by
Abbas bin Said Jawhary in 825.
- Is there any trace of this work in Sanskrit (other than what is in
- What medium was used for the Sanskrit version ie. 'bhojpatter',
leather etc.?
- Does the Persian manuscript exist?
-Could the antidote be made and scientifically tested against
-Did the poisonous girls (Vishya Kannya) really exist?
- Did people use poisons in small doses to develop immunity against
the poison?
It is said that Mahmud "Begra" of Gudjrant inoculated against poisons
by consuming it in gradually increasing doses "so that if a fly
settled on his hand it fell dead" (The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New
Ed. Vol 11, 1983, p1127).
-Were there dinner plates which could detect poisons by changing
colour or breaking if, poisons were put in them? Any evidence of
Please help!"

The only reference I could find on the web was an article in a
journal of the Armed Forces of  Pakistan:

I wonder whether anyone can shed light on at least the
bibliographical enquiry.

Many thanks

Meline Nielsen
Services Manager and Deputy Director
Orchard Learning Resources Centre
Selly Oak Colleges
Hamilton Drive, Weoley Park Rd
Birmingham B29 6QW

E-mail : m.nielsen at westhill.ac.uk

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