Showing posts with label Prakrit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prakrit. Show all posts

Origin of Name Afghan

Origin of Name Afghan has been much debate, not in public domain ,but in schloarly circles, Let us see the theries of etymology of the word Afghan and how it came to represent todays Afghanisthan.

Horseman Origin
Numerous noted scholars say that the name Afghan evidently derives from Sanskrit Ashvaka or Ashvakan, the Assakenoi of Arrian. This view was propounded by scholars like Dr Christian Lassen, Dr J. W. McCrindle, M. V. de Saint Martin, Élisée Reclus etc. In Sanskrit, word ashva (Iranian aspa, Prakrit assa) means "horse", and ashvaka (Prakrit assaka) means "horseman" , "horse people" as well as "horse breeders". Pre-Christian times knew the people of eastern Afghanistan as Ashvakas (horsemen), since they raised a fine breed of horses and had a reputation for providing expert cavalrymen.

The fifth-century-BCE Indian grammarian Panini calls them Ashvakayana and Ashvayana respectively . By the time of Indian astronomer Varāha Mihira (6th century A.D), Ashvakayana of Panini or the Ashvaka(na) of Mahabharata got transmuted to Avagānā , the 0-po-kien or A-po-kien of Yuan Chwang which term Alexander Cunningham and other sholars identify with name of Afghan . Classical writers, however, use the respective equivalents Aspasioi (or Aspasii, Hippasii) and Assakenoi (or Assaceni/Assacani, Asscenus) etc. From the 3rd century, when the Kushano-Sassanian civilization rose, we meet on the term Abagân. Persian Abagan is same as Sanskrit Avagan (Avagana) referred to in the Brhat Samhita by Varaha Mihira.

One of the most ancient names, according to historians and scholars, was Ariana - the Greek pronunciation of the ancient Avestan Aryānām Vaejā, Old Persian Aryānām or the Sanskrit "Aryavarta"(which included Whole of India and Afghanisthan) Realm of the Aryans. Today this Old-Persian, and Avestan expression is preserved in the name Iran and it is noted in the name of the Afghan national airlines, Ariana Airlines. The term Aryānā Afghānistān is still popular amongst Persian speakers in the country.

Large parts of the region were known as Khorasan, and hence present-day Afghanistan along with regions centered around Merv and Neishabur was recognized with the name Persian: خrs: Xorâsân which in Pahlavi means "Land of the Rising Sun". In the Persian literature modern Afghanistan is mentioned as well as Erân-e Xorâsâni or Xorâsân-e Erâni or Xorâsân-e Kabir (Greater Khorasan) or Xâvar-e Erân (East of Iran).

Pashtun or Afghan
The Greek historian Herodotus mentioned a people called Pactyans, living on the eastern frontier of the Persian Satrapy Arachosia as early as the 1st century BCE, but it remains unknown as to what connection they have with Pashtuns. Similarly, the Rig-Veda mentions a tribe called the Pakthas inhabiting eastern Afghanistan and some academics have proposed a connection with modern Pashtuns, but this too remains speculative. Another ancient people proposed as ancestors of the Pashtuns are the Bactrians who spoke a similar Middle Iranian language. Pashtuns are also historically referred to as ethnic Afghans, as the terms Pashtun and Afghan were synonymous until the advent of modern Afghanistan and the division of the Pashtuns by the Durand Line which is a border drawn by the British in the late 19th century. According to V. Minorsky, W.K. Frazier Tyler, M.C. Gillet and several other scholars, "The word Afghan first appears in history in the Hudud-al-Alam in 982 CE."It was used by the Pashtuns and refers to a common legendary ancestor known as Afghana.17th century Pashto poet Khushal Khan Khattak
“ Pull out your sword and slay any one, that says Pashton and Afghan are not one! Arabs know this and so do Romans: Afghans are Pashtons, Pashtons are Afghans“

Other Legends
  1. On hearing about the new faith of Islam, Qais from Aryana travelled to Medina to see Muhammad, and returned to Aryana as a Muslim. Qais Abdur Rashid purportedly had many sons, one of whom was Afghana. Afghana, in turn, had four sons who set out to the east to establish their separate lineages. The first son went to Swat, the second to Lahore , the third to Multan, and the last one to Quetta. This legend is one of many traditional tales amongst the Pashtuns regarding their disparate origins. Again, it was this legendary Afghana who is stated to have given the Pushtuns their current name. It is notable that the Afghan of this legend is separated from the Afghana of Solomon's times by at least 11 centuries.
  2. The "Makhzan-e Afghān" by Nematullah, written in 1612 CE at the Mughal court in India, traces the Afghan or Pakhtun origin from Abraham. It states that King Saul had a son Irmia (Jeremia), who had a son called Afghana. Upon the death of King Saul, Afghana was raised up by King David, and was later promoted to the chief command of the army during the reign of King Solomon. The progeny of this Afghana multiplied numerously, and came to be called Bani-Israel. In the sixth century BCE, Bakhtunnasar, or Nebuchadnezzar king of Babil, attacked Judah and exiled the progeny of Afghana to Ghor located in the center of what is now Afghanistan. In course of time, the exiled community came to be addressed as Afghan after the name of their ancestor, and the country got its name as Afghanistan. This view however has no historical records.
  3. H. W. Bellew, in his book An Enquiry into the Ethnography of Afghanistan, believes that the name Afghan derives from the Latin term Alban, used by Armenians as Alvan or Alwan, which refers to mountaineers, and in the case of transliterated Armenian characters, would be pronounced as Aghvan or Aghwan. To the Persians, this would further be altered to Aoghan, Avghan, and Afghan as a reference to the highlanders or "mountaineers" of the eastern Iranian plateau.
  4. There are also a few people who tend to link "Afghan" to an Uzbek word "Avagan" said to mean "original".
  5. By another authority, the name Afghan is said to mean wailing which the Persians are said to have contemptuously used for their plaintive eastern neighbors.
Present Afghanistan
The Taliban used the phrase "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" to refer to their country. Between the fall of the Taliban after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 Loya jirga, Afghanistan was referred to by the Government of the United States as the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan. Under its new constitution, the country is now officially named the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

The term "Afghanistan", meaning the "Land of Afghans", was mentioned by the sixteenth century Mughal Emperor Babur in his memoirs, referring to the territories of Peshawar-Valley (Kohistan) that were inhabited by Pashtuns (called "Afghans" by Babur). ...“Don't call it Kohistan, but Afghanistan; for there is nothing there but Afghans and dis­turbances.” Thus it is clear that for this reason the people of the country call their home in their own language Afghanistan, and themselves Afghans. The people of India call them Pathān; but the reason for this is not known.

Myth of Mother Sanskrit Theory

Is sanskrit mother of all Languages. Various theories are being floated. Let us see them.

Mother Sanskrit theory is a Myth
  1. Vedas - The word `Sanskrit' does not occur anywhere in the Vedas. Not a single verse mentions this word as denoting a language.
  2. The Vedic language was referred to as Chandasa even by Panini himself [ Chatt., p. 63 ], and not as `Sanskrit'.
  3. The Buddha was advised to translate his teachings into the learned man's tongue - the `Chandasa' standard [ Chatt., p. 64 ], there is no mention of any `Sanskrit'. The Buddha refused, preferring the Prakrits. There is not even a single reference in any contemporary Buddhist texts to the word `Sanskrit'. This shows that Sanskrit did not even exist at the time of the Buddha.
  4. The word `Sanskrit' occurs for the first time as referring to a language in the Ramayana : "In the latter [Ramayana] the term `samskrta' "formal, polished", is encountered, probably for the first time with reference to the language"
  5. The first inscriptions in Indian history are in Prakrit and not in Sanskrit. These are by the Mauryan King Ashoka (c. 273 BC - 232 BC ), and number over 30. The script utilised is not `sacred' Devanagari, and the language is not `Mother' Sanskrit. They are mostly in the Brahmi script, while 2 inscriptions are in Kharoshtri. They are in various Prakrits and some in Afghanistan are in Greek and Aramaic [ Bas,. p. 390-1 ]. In fact all inscriptions in India were in Prakrit till the early centuries AD : "[T]he earlier inscriptions up to the 1st century AD, were all in Prakrit"
  6. The Satavahanas, the first historical dynasty of the Deccan, also used a Prakrit language. There is no usage of Sanskrit.
  7. The Nanaghat cave inscriptions in Poona distt. are in Prakrit and are the work of the Satavahana Satakarni I. They have been dated to the first half of the 1st century BC. The contemporary relgiion of this region was Vedic. Indra and Vasudev are mentioned as the Vedic gods then worshipped [ Bas, p. 395 ]. The later cave inscriptions of Nasik in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD are in the local Prakrit [ Bas, p. 395 ]. Thus, although the Vedic religion was followed in the Satavahana regions, Sanksrit was not in use.
  8. Kharavela's Kalingan inscription of the 1st century BC were in a Prakrit of the east indian type.
  9. First Sanskrit Inscription : 150 AD - The earliest inscription in Sanskrit is by the Saka
  10. Brajbuli dates to 1000 BC - A central assumption of the MST is that all Prakrit vernaculars must be of a very late date. With the first mention of `Sanskrit' in a Ramayana dating to the ealy centuries AD, any Prakrit existing prior to this necessarily contradicts the Mother Sanskrit Theory. Brajabuli, the precursor to the modern Braj Bhasa, is said to have been used by Krishna and the gopis of Vraja (Vrindavan, whence Braj) and it was thus popular amongst Vaishnava poets [ Assam, p. 422. n3 ]. Krishna is dated to ca. 1000 BC, and this internal evidence would imply that Braj Bhasa dated to 1000 BC. Recently, Krishna's city, Dvaraka, has been excavated, showing that he probably was a historical person. The stories are hence based on fact, and this evidence cannot be dismissed as a `myth'.
  11. Prakrit' = Vernacular - The term `Prakrta' or Prakrit means `common', `natural', while the term `Samskrta' or Sanskrit natural means `polsihed, refined' [ Up. 164 ]. Thus Prakrit refers to any of the natural languages, while Sanskrit refers to the `purified' language. This etymology itself indicates that Sanskrit is derived from Prakrit rather than the other way around. This necessarily implies that Sanskrit is, like Old Church Slavonic, a polished version of various vernaculars.
  12. Apabrahmsa is a Prakrit - Apabrahmsa, which in the MST is seen as a derivative of Prakrit, is in fact itself a Prakrit known as Abhiri. It was actually comtemporary with all the other Prakrits, and the view that it succeeded Prakrit is wrong. Several dramas have characters speaking Apabrahmsa and Prakrits side by side. This shows that Apabrahmsa is not the second stage in the development from Sanskrit, but was merely another Prakrit dilect.
  13. As per the MST, the Prakrits are all dead languages, having `degraded' into the modern Indo-Aryan tongues. However, Prakrits never disappeared. All the modern Indo-Aryan (IA) languages are Prakrits (Bengali, Marathi etc.). The ancient Prakrits are the direct precursors of the modern languages, thus Vangi - Bengali, Odri - Oriya, and Maharastri - Marathi. All these so-called `Prakrits' such as Vangi, Odri and Maharastri, can all be understood by the speakers of their respective IA languages with the same ease with which a modern speaker of English can understand Anglo-Saxon. This fact alone is sufficient to refute the MST. Far from being dead, Prakrit is still spoken in all parts of India just as it has been for thousands of years. The word Prakrit itself merely means `natural' and refers to all the Indo-Iranian languages as spoken by the common man in India. Thus, even the literal meaning of the word `Prakrit' implies that it is far from dead.
  14. Prakrit Older than Sanskrit - The MST claims that Sanskrit is older than Prakrit. However, it is Prakrit which is older than Sanskrit, since several features of Prakrit can be traced to the Rig Veda, which are not found in Sanskrit.
  15. Pali poses another problem for the MST. As per the MST, it is an independant derivation from Sanskrit, and is not a Prakrit. However, Pali is in fact a dialect of Magadhi Prakrit and not a separate language as evidenced by the mutual comprehensibility between these two tongues.
Sanskrit is the mother of all languages
  1. The sound of each of the 36 consonants and the 16 vowels of Sanskrit are fixed and precise since the very beginning. They were never changed, altered, improved or modified. All the words of the Sanskrit language always had the same pronunciation as they have today. There was no ‘sound shift,’ no change in the vowel system, and no addition was ever made in the grammar of the Sanskrit in relation to the formation of the words. The reason is its absolute perfection by its own nature and formation, because it was the first language of the world.
  2. The morphology of word formation is unique and of its own kind where a word is formed from a tiny seed root (called dhatu) in a precise grammatical order which has been the same since the very beginning. Any number of desired words could be created through its root words and the prefix and suffix system as detailed in the Ashtadhyayi of Panini. Furthermore, 90 forms of each verb and 21 forms of each noun or pronoun could be formed that could be used in any situation.
  3. There has never been any kind, class or nature of change in the science of Sanskrit grammar as seen in other languages of the world as they passed through one stage to another.
  4. The perfect form of the Vedic Sanskrit language had already existed thousands of years earlier even before the infancy of the earliest prime languages of the world like Greek, Hebrew and Latin etc.
  5. When a language is spoken by unqualified people the pronunciation of the word changes to some extent; and when these words travel by word of mouth to another region of the land, with the gap of some generations, it permanently changes its form and shape to some extent. Just like the Sanskrit word matri, with a long ‘a’ and soft ‘t,’ became mater in Greek and mother in English. The last two words are called the ‘apbhransh’ of the original Sanskrit word ‘matri.’ Such apbhranshas of Sanskrit words are found in all the languages of the world and this situation itself proves that Sanskrit was the mother language of the world.
I feel the debate will continue for a long time, as there is a absence of written records. But here distinction should be made between vedic and sanskrit. Sanskrit starts with Panini which he calls Chandas.



Myth of Maharastri Prakrit

The meaning of ‘Prakrit’ is ‘Natural’. The word prakrit is used for the group of languages spoken in ancient India.

Jainism has a great relation with Prakrit Languages. In ancient India Sanskrit was spoken only by Vedic Brahmins, while common people’s language was Prakrit. Jains always promoted their religion through people’s languages. So most of ancient Jain literature was written in various Prakrit Languages.

Some of the Prakrit Languages:
a) Ardhmagadhi Prakrit: Ardhmagadhi was the language of people in Magadh (today Bihar). This language is spoken between 600 BCE to 100 CE. Vardhman Mahavir and his Ganadhars gave sermons in Ardhmagadhi. Mahavir teachings were transmitted to next generation through the oral tradition. Later Shrideverdhigani compiled the teachings in 454CE. The famous & popular Namokar-Mantra is in Ardhmagadhi language.

b) Shourseni Prakrit: Shourseni was being spoken at Shoorsen (Mathura) region of North India between 100BCE to 500CE. Digamber Jains wrote their philosophical literature in Shourseni language. The Shatkhandagam and Acharya Kundkund’s works are in Shourseni. In Sanskrit dramas of Bhas, Kalidas etc. Shourseni is used for dialogs of servants, jokers, Labours etc.

c) Apbhransh: The meaning of Apbhransh is ‘Vulgar’ or ‘Impure’. Apbhransh is not a single language but there are many Apbhransh languages that were born from various Prakrit Languages. Apbhransh languages were spoken between 500CE to 1000CE. There is lot off Jain literature written in Apbhransh languages in medieval period.

d) Maharashtri Prakrit: This language is said to be later used by Jains.

Many today modern languages have roots in these prakrits.

Western Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi ------->Shourseni Apbhransh
Eastern Hindi--- --------------------->Ardhmagadhi Apbhransh
Marathi, Konkani -------------------->Maharashtri Apbhransh
Bangla, Udia, Assamese, Bhojpuri----->Magdhi Apbhransh
Gujrathi, Rajasthani ------------------>Nagar Apbhransh
Kashmiri----------------------------->Paishachi Apbhransh

The classic Sanskrit language also has its roots in old Prakrit language spoken in North-India in Vedic & Pre-Vedic period.

Now we have good sources for the other Prakrit. But when we see Maharashtri Prakrit, we have lot of doubts regarding the same. Basically because of the condition of the evidences suggested.

1.It is all Prakrit, little variations.
All the above are Prakrit and apart from the religious leanings there is no evidence of different Prakrits.

2. No parallel history with other prakrits
No Maharashtri Prakrit texts exist to verify whether the Maharashtri Prakrit is different at the time we are talking about Ardhmagadhi or Shourseni Prakrit. After the Ardhmagadhi Prakrit and Shourseni Prakrit eras we find only one Prakrit that is Maharashtri Prakrit. We don’t have any evidence to show all merged into one Prakrit.

3.All languages are like rivers, change in various stages
Like all languages Prakrit has undergone a change. Maharashtri Prakrit is also one of the stages not necessarily one of the branches. We find a Jain literature using early Prakrits in later stages using Maharashtri Prakrits. So it is just evaluation not branch of Prakrit. Jains who want to preach in local languages just picked up the most local of them at that time, which has many Kannada words in them.

4.Maharastri Prakrit does not show any natural characteristic like other Prakrits to show it is different.

Hence Maharashtri Prakrit is a myth that is has propagated to stretch the antiquity of Marathi.

Myths of Konkani Language

Konkani Language carry many myths- Let us see one by one.

1. Konkani is a daughter of Sanskrit.
Konkani like its sibling marathi evolved from Shouraseni Prakrit.

2. Konkani is the mother tongue of over 50 lakhs of people.
Government 1991 Figures put 17,60,607 (17Lakhs)

3. Konkani is an Aryan language. Therefore Devanagari script is the natural script for Konkani.
Konkani evolved from Prakrit, but devanagari script is used for both Marathi and
konkani from Mid 20th century onwards only. Previously Kannada script was used.

4. Konkani sounds cannot be correctly written in Roman script.
Again it depends on konkani of which area. In Goa english is used even in village
meetings and in this case appropriate script will be Roman, but it cannot be said
about konkani in Karnataka, kerala or Madhyapradesh.

5. Those who know Devanagari script can easily read and write Konkani.
Yes , but not understand. Konkani remains mutually intelligible to konkani's form
different states.

6. In Goa Roman Konkani and Devanagari Konkani are found.
Goa became active in konkani only after konkani language was made scheduled

7. Compared to Catholics, Hindus speak pure and good Konkani.
Konkani is corrupted or influenced by the surroundings, whereever they are and not
with respect to religion. Kerala- Malayalam, karnataka- Tulu, kannada, Goa-
English ,Portuguese, Madhya pradesh- Hindi.

8. Konkani spoken and written by the Saraswats is the standard Konkani.
Agari of Kolaba ,Parabhi (Kayasthi, Damani) ,Koli ,Kiristav ,Dhanagari ,Bhandari , Thakuri (Thakari, Thakri, Thakua, Thakura) ,Karhadi , Sangamesvari (Bakoti, Bankoti) ,Ghati (Maoli) , Mahari (Dhed, Holia, Parvari ,Standard Konkani (Goan) ,Bardeskari (Gomantaki) ,Sarasvat Brahmin, Kudali (Malvani) , Daldi (Nawaits) , Chitpavani (Konkanasths) , Mangalore are the dilects of Konkani. So saraswats of konkani spoken in Goa is not the only konkani spoken. There is no evidence to show Saraswats speak pure konkani. Since it is the state language of Goa, it gets much legitemacy.

9. Spoken Konkani is inferior compared to written Konkani.
There is again no standard konkani. Konkani is mainly a spoken language. So the idea itself is absurd.

10. Portuguese missionaries corrupted Konkani language of Goan Catholics.
Konkani got revived because of Portuguese. Portuguese introduced first printed works. When Mangalore can retain konkani , why cant Goa.

11. Missionaries learnt Konkani to spread their faith and not out of love for Konkani.
That is true , which may be controversial.

12. Konkani written in Devanagari script is Marathicized Konkani.
Devanagari is just a script , so many languages are written in Devanagari.

13. One, who knows to speak, read and write only Konkani is a semi-literate.
Not necessarily.

14. The original inhabitants of Goa were Austro-Asiatic people and Konkani vocabulary is influenced by Mundari language.
Konkani derives its name from konka tribe who lived in present day konkan, They migrated to other regions due to unknown reasons. There is no evidence to suggest konka's spoke konkani. Konkani is related to Bengali and Assamese.

15. In the 16th century there was only one standard Konkani, namely that of Salcete. Gradually other dialects emerged from it.
Konkani existed as dilects before portuguese introduced the printing. They resurrected a dying language. All the dilects emerged from single language, but not salcete.

16. Konkani words of Portuguese origin are to be replaced by native words.
Each language is enriched by its vacabulary , so it goes with konkani.

Home of Pali

Pali, in which only the Buddha delivered his noble messages, appears to have been hallowed as the text of the Buddhavacana. The language of the Buddhavacana is called Pali or Magadhi and sometimes Suddha-Magadhi, presumably in order to distinguish it from Ardha-Magadhi, the language of Jaina Canons. Magadhi means the language or dialect current in the Magadha. In Pali Lexicon, the definition of Pali is given thus: pa paleti, rakkhati ' ti pali. Since it preserves the Buddhavacana (words) in the form of the sacred text, it is called Pali. In fact, the word Pali signifies only "text" "sacred text".

According to the tradition current in Theravada Buddhist countries, Pali is Magadhi, Magadhanirutti, Magadhikabhasa, that is to say, the language of the region in which Buddhism had arisen. The Buddhistic tradition makes the further claim that the Pali Tipitaka is composed in the language used by the Buddha himself. For this reason Magadhi is also called Mulabhasa as the basic language in which the words of the Buddha were originally fixed. However, for Pali now arises the question, which region of India was the home of that language which was the basis of Pali.

Westergrd and E.Kuhn consider Pali to be the dialect of Ujjayini, because it stands closest to the language of the Asokan-inscriptions of Girnar (Guzerat), and also because the dialect of Ujjayini is said to have been the mother-tongue of Mahinda who preached Buddhism in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). R.O. Franke had a similar opinion by different means; and he finally reached the conclusion that the original home of Pali was "a territory, which could not have been too narrow, situated about the region from the middle to the Western Vindhya ranges". Thus it is not improbable that Ujjayini was the centre of its region of expansion. Sten Konow too has decided in favour of the Vindhya region as the home of Pali.

Oldenberg (1879) and E.Muller (1884) consider the Kalinga country to be the home of Pali. Oldenberg thinks that Buddhism, and with it's the Tipitaka, was introduced into Ceylon rather in course of an intercourse between the island and the neighboring continent extending over a long period. However, E.MUller bases his conclusion on the observation that the oldest settlements in Ceylon could have been founded only by the people of Kalinga, the area on the mainland opposite Ceylon and not by people from Bengal and Bihar.

Maurice Winternitz is of the opinion that Buddha himself spoke the dialect of his native province Kosala (Oudh) and it was most likely in this same dialect that he first began to proclaim his doctrine. Later on, however, he wandered and taught in Magadha (Bihar) he probably preached in the dialect of this province. When in course of time the doctrine spread over a large area, the monks of various districts preached each in his own dialect. It is probable that some monks coming from Brahmin circles also attempted to translate the speeches of Buddha into Sanskrit verses. However, the Buddha himself absolutely rejected it, and forbade learning his teachings in any other languages except Magadhi. Here it is related , how two Bhikkhus complained to the Master that the members of the order were of various origins, and that they distorted the words of the Buddha by their own dialect (Sakaya niruttiya). They, therefore, proposed that the words of the Buddha should be translated into Sanskrit verses (Chandaso). The Buddha, however, refused to grant the request and added: Anujanamibhikkhave sakaya niruttiya buddhavacanam pariyapunitum. Rhys Davids and Oldenberg translate this passage by "I allow you, oh brethren, to learn the words of the Buddha each in his own dialect". This interpretation, however, is not accorded with that of Buddhaghosa, according to whom it has to be translated by "I ordain the words of the Buddha to be learnt in his own language (i.e., in Magadhi, the language used by Buddha himself)". In fact, the explanation given by Buddhaghosa is more acceptable, because neither the two monks nor Buddha himself have thought of preaching in different dialects in different cases.

Magahi or Magadhi is spoken in the districts of Patna, Gaya, Hazaribagh and also in the western part of Palamau, parts of Monghyr and Bhagalpur. On its eastern frontier Magahi meets Bengali. Dr.Grierson called the dialect of this region Eastern Magahi (Magadhi). He (Dr.Grierson) has named western Magadhi speeches as Bihari. In this time he includes three dialects, Magahi (Magadhi), Maithili and Bhojpuri. Dr.Grierson, after a comparative study of the grammars of the three dialects, had decided Maithili, Magahi and Bhojpuri as three forms of a single speech. There are four reasons for terming them as Bihari, viz.,

Between Eastern Hindi and Bengali have certain characteristics, which are common to the three dialects.
It becomes a provincial language like Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi, etc.
The name is appropriate from the historical point of view. Bihar was so named after so many Buddhist Viharas in the state. Ancient Bihar language was probably the language of early Buddhists and Jainas.

It is not a fact that in Bihar there is no literature. In Maithili we have extant ancient literature.
Though Hindi is highly respected as a literary language in Biharyetthe Maithili, Magahi and Bhojpuri languages are deeply entrenched in the emotions of the people. The fact is that Bihari is a speech distinct from Eastern Hindi and has to be classified with Bengali, Oriya and Assamese as they share common descent from Magadhi, Prakrit and Apabhransha. It is clear that an uneducated and illiterate Bihari when he goes to Bengal begins to speak good Bengali with little effort but ordinarily it is not easy for an educated Bihari to speak correct Hindi. Dr.Grierson has inclined to decide that Magadhi was a dialect of Magadha (Bihar) and some parts of West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

The area covered by the Buddha's missionary activities included Bihar and Uttar Pradesh including the Nepal Tarai. So it may be assumed that the Buddha spoke in a dialect or dialects current in those regions. Welhelm Geiger considers that Pali was indeed on pure Magadhi, but was yet a form of the popular speech which was based on Magadhi and which was used by Buddha himself. It may be imagined that the Buddha might choose a widespread language which was used or understood by common people in the region, because through which he could propagate his noble teachings to the common people. Thus, Pali or the dialect of Magadha was more probably the language of the common people and also a lingua franca of a large region including mainly Magadha (Bihar).

Myth of Tamil Brahmi

Myth of Tamil Brahmi and script.
There is Ashokan Brahmi standardised by Ashoka found all over India. And there is tamil Brahmi. Let us see the genesis of Tamil Brahmi.
Tamil Brahmi Genesis
The early Brahmi inscriptions posed a greater challenge on account of their archaic characters and orthographic conventions, which were different from the original Brahmi used for Prakrit. The challenge seemed insuperable even to the most competent among the pioneering epigraphists. The major breakthrough in the decipherment of the cave inscriptions of Tamil Nadu came with K.V. Subrahmanya Aiyer (1924). He was the first to recognise that these are inscribed in Brahmi, but with certain peculiarities and new forms of letters, due to its adaptation for the Tamil language which has sounds (phonetic values) not known to the Prakrit (Indo-Aryan) language and northern Brahmi script. Yet, this lead was not seriously followed and was soon forgotten. Even Subrahmanya Aiyer did not pursue his line of enquiry to its logical conclusion. Other scholars like V. Venkayya and H. Krishna Sastri were constrained by the assumption that all Brahmi inscriptions were invariably in Prakrit or Pali, as Brahmi was used predominantly for Prakrit in all other regions of India from the Mauryan (Asokan) period. Their readings failed to convey any meaning.

Irvatham Mahadevan
Now enter the picture Irvatham Mahadevan an administrator-turned scholar, we have tamil Brahmi. By reviving Subrahmanya Aiyer's early decipherment and reading and at the same time more systematically studying these inscriptions in all their aspects, including palaeography, orthography and grammar, and seeking corroboration from the Sangam Literature and Tolkappiyam, the basic work on Tamil grammar. Mahadevan has virtually re-deciphered these inscriptions and shown them to be inscribed in Tamil. Hence the name "Tamil-Brahmi," one variety of the Brahmi script.

Characteristics of Tamil Brahmi
1.Brahmi script was adapted and modified to suit the Tamil phonetic system.
2.Palaeographic changes were made to suit the Tamil language, with the omission of letters for sounds not present in the Tamil language and by additions to represent sounds in Tamil that are not available in Brahmi.
3.All but four of the 26 letters are derived from Brahmi and have the same phonemic values.
4.Even these four - i.e., l,l, r, n - are adapted from the letters with the nearest phonetic values in (Asokan-) Brahmi, i.e., d, l, r, n.
5.Letters were also modified with a special diacritic mark, viz., the pulli (dot). These are reflected in the development of the Tamil-Brahmi in three stages (TB I, II and III):
Stage I
1. Inherent a (short-medial vowel) was absent in the consonants
2. strokes (vowel notations) were used for both the short and long medial a, and hence the need for the reading of consonants with reference to context and position;
Stage II
when the stroke for medial a marked only the long a;
Stage III
1. when the use of diacritics like the pulli was introduced for basic consonants and for avoiding ligatures for consonant clusters (as in Simhala-Brahmi).
2.The pulli was used also for distinguishing the short e and o from the long vowels, for the shortened - i and -u (kurriyalikaram and kurriyalukaram)
3.The pulli used for the unique sound in Tamil called aytam, all of which are unknown to the Indo-Aryan ( Prakrit and Sanskrit).

It is the recognition of the absence of the inherent vowel a (short) in the early phases, e.g. ma, ka, na with strokes or medial vowel notations, which are actually to be read as ma, ka, n (the inverted J symbol for the nominal suffix `an' characteristic of Tamil), and the addition of the pulli as a diacritic, that provided the key to the whole re-decipherment. Herein lies the basic contribution of Mahadevan to the study of the script and alphabet. That these findings are corroborated by the phonetic rules of the Tolkappiyam.

Above passages gives the Genesis and Characteristics of Tamil Brahmi
Where are these Incriptions

1.Pottery inscription in Tamil-Brahmi giving the name Catan. 1st century A.D. Found at Quseir-al-Qadim on the Red Sea coast of Egypt.

2.Rock-cavern inscription in Jambai 2nd Century AD.

Let us see what spoils such a great discovery
  1. Pulli TheoryScholars have observed two notational systems of Brahmi for writing Tamil. The first system is older than the second and the latter is very close to the Asokan Brahmi system. In the first system the short medial, a, is marked by a short horizontal stroke. In the second system the same mark indicates a long medial a. For example, scholars once used to read a certain word as maakaana following the second system. It did not make much sense. When the first system was used to read the inscription, the meaning became clear. The same word was read as makan, a common Tamil word for son. These two systems of Brahmi are different from the Tamil Pulli system described in Tholkappiam. The earliest stone inscription in the Tamil script is found at Vallam near Chinglepet and it belongs to the early seventh century A.D.There the dot over the pure consonants can be clearly seen. In the numerous inscriptions found on rock-shelters on hillocks near Madurai, scholars have failed to observe the Pulli in any of the inscriptions. The occurrence of the Pulli is closely linked with the date of Tholkappiam believed to be the oldest Tamil work. The late occurrence of the Pulli in Tamil inscriptions will indicate either the late date for the tholkappiam or prove Tamil Brahmi theory as false.
  2. Lack InscriptionsFor all the theories about inscriptions , we find only two or three inscriptions in the period mentioned 300BC to 500AD. Almost all the inscriptions are some grafitti. If the sangam literature and Tholkappiam if assumed are from this period then there should be flurry of inscriptions the absence show that written culture was not widespread.
  3. Inconsistencies of two Tamil brahmi and Tamil Pulli systems.The second system is closer to Ashoka Brahmi then the first one. And pulli does not show up until 7th century AD. Some scholars have even argued that Ashoka brahmi came from Tamil Brahmi, but that is not a creditable argument. Only few inscription sometimes only one inscription have been cited to show they are different. Anyone can see there will be some changes even if same person writes and the script surviving great distances with only few variations is itself miracle. So these differences are just few errors crept into the writing not a seprate script.
  4. Citing evidences where tamil was not present
    Mahadevan has been citing the southern Brahmi script found in Karnataka and Andhra to prove his theory especially Bottiporulu inscription. Which cannot be considered in the context of tamil. Many of the inscriptions dates not verified by competing authority. many references have been heresay and preliminary data on the first sighting. Many of the inscriptions are handcopied which again can introduce errors.
  5. Regional variations not surprising
    There are number of regional variations in Brahmi itself. Northern brahmi, southern brahmi , sinhala brahmi and others. In southern brahmi itself in bottiporulu inscription simultaneouly different variations have been found.
  6. Sinhala Brahmi
    Tamil brahmi is very similar to Sinhala brahmi. Here Mahadevan will claim sinhala brahni came from tamil brahmi, but evidence shows otherwise. Until 3nd century AD the tamil brahmi and srilankan brahmi are carbon copy of each other. only with advent of pallavas the script went in different ways.
  7. Scientific evolution of Brahmi
    Brahmi's limitation in phonetics in each region of India was overcome by adding megalithic symbols over the brahmi script that is why we have so many scripts in India. These are called vowel markers. This nothing new.
  8. Literary works at later period
    The written literture comes from later period of 8th century AD , it reaches a peak in 12-13th century AD. Writting seems to have started around 6th century AD during Pallava region.
So a normal evolution of scripts are taken in the arguement and has been cited reason for uniqueness of the script. Same type of evoluation has taken in other parts of India is downplayed and the arguement is made that only tamil has them is false. In short the Tamil Brahmi is an attempt to stretch the antiquity of tamil and also

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