long vowels. This raises the question whether early Brahmi too drew on
 Aramaic, either with Kharoshthi as a model or in a parallel development.
      Whatever might have been the manner in which the Brahmi script
 began, early in Ashoka’s reign or a little earlier, the art of writing seemed
 to have spread rapidly. The kind of interest Ashoka took in getting his
 edicts inscribed in places all over his Empire means that he expected that
 there would be some persons everywhere who could be able to read them
 aloud to others. He also distributed copies of his edicts written obviously
 on lighter materials. The Mahasthan slab inscription and Sohgaura copper
 plate inscription show how official business was now being conducted in
 writing. The Piprahwa soapstone vase inscription and the Bhattiprolu
 casket inscriptions also give evidence of how writing was being put into
 use even in the Buddhist Samgha. The Tamil Brahmi inscriptions too tell a
 similar story of its use among the Jain monks or those who made gifts to
      Such spread of the use of writing would inevitably have had the most
 far-reaching consequences for various institutions of society. In the
 bureaucratic setup it might have begun to replace professional memorisers
 with scribes, and by simplifying the keeping of records and accounts,
 immediately improved the effectiveness of administration. Writing
 enabled all religious sects, including the Brahmanical, to preserve and
 transmit the sacred texts, though the use of writing for this purpose took
 time. Secular compositions, in any case, came to have a much better
 chance of survival than in earlier days, when preservation was based on
 memory, without any claim to sanctity. It is very likely that commerce too
 would have greatly benefited from written accounts and messages.
    •   Similarly, in India, no marked genetic differences are observable
        among speakers of the Munda (Austro-Asiatic), Dravidian and Indo-
        European languages, all being classed as Caucasoids. There cannot,
        therefore, be an Aryan (Indo-Iranian) race, and, even less, an Indo-
        European one.
Early Historical Period