Languages of Maharashtra

About

Maharashtra – The most fascinating region of India. It is the state with rich cultural heritage and is a land of intense spirituality and religious faith. Maharashtra has to its credit pilgrimage centers with great landmarks in the evolution of Indian Temple architecture.

Maharashtra has 720 km. long sea face extending from Dahanu and Bordi in the north up to Goa proceeding southwards. If you have liking for sand, sea and surf, this State has a great many interesting options in store. You could arrange trips or get away on a weekend or during holidays. You could indulge in adventurous water sports or relax on golden sands. If you are interested in forts and their history, Maharashtra is the perfect place for your tour and a memorable holiday. It offers you a vast choice of majestic forts like Raigad, Rajgad, Pratapgad, Vishalgad, Panhala, and sea forts like Murud, Sindhudurg.

Places like Ajanta, Verul near Aurangabad are the ancient proofs of rich art-works of India. All festivals, in Maharashtra are a tribute to its rich culture and legacy.

Marathi Language

Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by about 71 million people mainly in the Indian state of Maharashtra and neighboring states. Marathi is also spoken in Israel and Mauritius. Marathi is thought to be a descendent of Maharashtri, one of the Prakrit languages which developed from Sanskrit.

Marathi first appeared in writing during the 11th century in the form of inscriptions on stones and copper plates. From the 13th century until the mid 20th century, it was written with the Modi alphabet. Since 1950 it has been written with the Devanāgarī alphabet.

History of Marathi

Marathi language has a very colorful and bumpy ride. It has come out as a highlight. Here’s what we found out about the history of Marathi Language.

Marathi is said to be a descendent of Maharashtri which was the Prakrit spoken by people residing in the region of Maharashtra. It was an official language of the Satavahana Empire. It had risen to a high literary level, and the literary works like Karpurmanjari and Saptashati written in 150 BC speak volumes of the high profile it held. Maharashtri Prakrit was the most widely used Prakrit language in western and southern India, spoken from Malwa and Rajputana in the north to Krishna and Tungabhadra in the south. Today’s Marathi-speaking and Kannada- speaking parts of India spoke Maharashtri Prakrit for centuries. Maharashtri Prakrit was widely spoken in India till 875 AD.

At the beginning of the 19th century (the period of the British colony), Christian missionaries, in their efforts to spread their religion, played an important role in the development of Marathi. A well known Christian missionary William Carey was the one in standardizing the Marathi grammar. Their contribution can be evidenced from the first standard dictionaries and grammar books, first English book translated into Marathi and first newspaper published in this language. The late 19th century in Maharashtra was a period of colonial modernity. Like the corresponding periods in other Indian languages, this was the period dominated by English- educated intellectuals. In the beginning of the 20th century, Marathi literature and drama well flourished.

Maharashtri Apabhramsa remained in use for several hundred years until at least 500 CE. Apabhramsa found wide usage in Jain literature and it constituted the key link in the evolution of Marathi by having been re-Sanskritised. Standard Marathi and the Warhadi Marathi are the major dialects of the language. There are a few other sub-dialects like Ahirani, Dangi, Samavedi, Khandeshi and Chitpavani Marathi. Standard Marathi is the official language of the State of Maharashtra and co-official language in the union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra Nagar haveli. In Goa, though Konkani is the sole official language, Marathi also is permitted to be used for all official purposes. The Constitution of India recognizes Marathi as one of India’s 22 official languages.

Apart from almost all universities in Maharashtra State, the universities in other states such as Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (Gujarat), Osmania University (Andhra Pradesh), Gulbarga University (Karnataka), Devi Ahilya University of Indore and Goa University (Panaji) share the credit of having special departments for higher studies in Marathi linguistics.

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