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Maharashtri Prakrit

Maharashtri Prakrut
महाराष्ट्री प्राकृत
Region Maharashtra and some parts of India
Era 500 BC[citation needed] – 500 AD; developed into Marathi, Konkani, Maldivian and Sinhala
Language codes
ISO 639-3 pmh
Linguist list
Glottolog maha1305[1]

Maharastri or Maharashtri Prakrut (Marathi: महाराष्ट्री प्राकृत Mahārāṣṭri Prākrit), is a language of ancient and medieval India which is the ancestor of Marathi, Konkani,[2] Sinhala and Maldivian.[3][4][5] It is one of the many languages (often called dialects) of a complex called Prakrit, and the chief Dramatic Prakrit. Maharashtri was spoken for 1000 years (500 BC[citation needed] to 500 AD). It was used in numerous works of literature, and its literary use was made famous by the Sanskrit playwright Kālidāsa.

Maharashtri Prakrit was commonly spoken until AD 875 and was the official language of the Satavahana dynasty. Works like Karpurmanjari and Saptashati (150 BC) were written in it. Maharashtri Prakrit was the most widely used Prakrit language in western and southern India.

Maharashtri apabhraṃśas remained in use until the 13th century and was used widely in Jain literature and formed an important link in the evolution of Marathi. This form of Apabhraṃśa was re-Sanskritised and eventually became Marathi.


Maharashtri was the most popular amongst all Prakrit languages. It was spoken from Malwa and Rajputana (north) to the Krishna River and Tungabhadra River region (south). Historians agree that Maharashtri and other Prakrit languages prevailed in what is now modern Maharashtra.[6]

Maharashtri was widely spoken in Western India and even as far south as Kannada-speaking region.[7]

Early literature

The Gāhā Sattasaī, Setubandh and Karpuraman̄jarī (कर्पुरमंजरी) are attributed to King Hāla Satavahana (r. 20-24 CE). It was used by Vakpati or Vakpatiraj to write the poem Gaüdavaho.[8][9] It is also used in the dialogue and songs of low-class characters in Sanskrit plays, especially the famous dramatist Kālidāsa.[8]

Royal patronage

Maharashtri was, literally, the "Language of the Empire", the official language of the Satavahana Empire in the early centuries of the Common Era. Under the patronage of the Satavahana Empire, Maharashtri became the most widespread Prakrit of its time, and also dominated the literary culture amongst the three "Dramatic" Prakrits of the time, Maharashtri, Sauraseni and Magadhi. A version of Maharashtri, called the Jaina Maharashtri, also was employed to write sections of Jain scripture. The Satavahana Emperor Hala's Sattasai, an anthology of over 700 love poems, has been established as the most famous work of literature in Maharashtri.

See also


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Maharastri Prakrit". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ "Roots of Konkani" (in English and Konkani). Goa Konkani Akademi. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  3. ^
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  6. ^ V.Rajwade, Maharashtrache prachin rajyakarte
  7. ^ C. V. Vaidya, History of Medieval Hindu India, Being a History of India from 600 to 1200 AD, in 3 vols.: Vol. I, p. 317. ISBN 81-7020-438-0
  8. ^ a b The Linguist List
  9. ^ Dr.Kolarkar, Marathyancha Itihaas