Asoka's "nimsi[dhi]ya

Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK
Wed Oct 10 15:43:35 UTC 2007

In Asoka's 7th pillar edict, Delhi-Topra, he says "... udupaanaani 
khaanaapaapitaani ni.msi[.dha]yaa ca kaalaapitaa ...", "wells were caused 
to be dug by me, and flights of steps (for descending into the water) were 
caused to be built."  (Hultzsch)

On the word ni.msi[.dha]yaa, Hultzsch refers to to Bühler's reading of 
ni.msi[.dhi]yaa and his association of the word through ni.sidiyaa to Skt 
ni.siidati, which gives rise to Bühler's Asokan "rest houses", which have 
become a wide-spread interpretation.  Hultzsch prefers "steps" 
following a suggestion of Lüders (Ardham. se.dhi = Skt *"sli.s.ti 
synonymous with " notes that historical 
phonology would properly give a Skt *ni"sli.s.takaa, which doesn't give 
either a rest-house or a step-well.

Hultzsch doesn't refer to Skt. ni.sadyaa, "small bed," or "shopping mall" 
:-), though others have done.

Is there more recent scholarship on this word anywhere?

Many thanks,

Dr Dominik Wujastyk
Senior Research Fellow
University College London

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list