|Region||Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala (India)|
|Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value). (2001 census)|
|Saurashtra, Latin, Devanagari, Tamil|
Saurashtra or Sourashtra or Palkar or Patkar (Gujarati: સૌરાષ્ટ્ર, Tamil: சௌராஷ்டிரம்) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Saurashtrian community native to Gujarat, who migrated and settled in Southern India. Madurai in Tamil Nadu has the highest number of people belonging to this community and also remains as their cultural center.
The language is largely only in spoken form even though the language has its own script. The lack of schools teaching Saurashtra script and the language is often cited as a reason for the very few number of people who actually know to read and write in Saurashtra script. Latin, Devanagari or Tamil script is used as alternative for Saurashtra Script by many Saurashtrians.
- 1 History
- 2 Classification
- 3 Writing System
- 4 Sounds
- 5 Loanwords in Saurashtra Language
- 6 Dialects
- 7 Sourashtra Vidya Peetam
- 8 Geographical Distribution
- 9 Sourashtra Vijayaaptham
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Related Links
In Sanskrit, words like Sundara are changed to Soundarya. The prefix Su means good. Rashtra = Nation. Surashtra or Sourashtra refers to 'good nation'. The origin of the name dates back to the time when the ancestors of these people inhabiting the kingdom of Saurashtra in the modern day state of Gujarat. Different roots were suggested for the origin of the name "Saurashtra". "Sou" in Hindi refers to the number,'100' and "rashtra" refers to 'region'. So in general, sourashtra refers to a province of 100 regions. Another possible origin of the word is, the Sanskrit term "Saura" means sun. Since Saurashtra people built and worshipped Sun or "Saura" God they were called as Saurashtrians and the region they lived was naturally called as Saurashtra Province.
Though there is little historical evidence available to support the argument that the Saurashtrians lived in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat in Western India, folklore, and recent linguistic and genetic researches have been able to establish, that this region was indeed once the habitat of the Saurashtrians. However, their language has more similarities with Marathi and Konkani, both Indo-Aryan languages of Western India, than it does with Modern Gujarati, the language of present-day Gujarat. Linguists have been able to explain why it is so: Both Saurashtra and Gujarati branched off from a common parent, and have since taken completely different paths to modernity. Gujarati came under the influence of Hindi, Persian, and Arabic, whereas Saurashtra, taking off from Gujarat before it had made any Muslim contact, was influenced by Marathi, Konkani, Kannada, Telugu, and finally, Tamil. It has been acknowledged that Persian and Arabic have had only limited influence on Marathi and Konkani, and this is why they still retain a good amount of vocabulary and grammar derived from Sanskrit, as compared to other daughter languages of Sanskrit. It is possible that the vocabulary and grammar shared between Modern Saurashtra and Marathi is what was originally derived from Sanskrit.
The southward flight of the Saurashtrians seems to have been triggered by the frequent Muslim invasions, most notably by Mahmud of Ghazni, of their homeland and the instability caused by it. No details are available whether it was a mass migration and when it took place. They found safe haven in the Vijayanagara Kingdom, with its capital at Hampi in present-day Karnataka, which was then expanding southwards. Weaving being their traditional occupation, they were able to win the attention of the Emperor and were soon elevated to the position of royal weavers. Telugu and Kannada were the court languages, though other languages such as Sanskrit and Tamil were also in use. It was during this period that Saurashtra started absorbing Telugu and Kannada words into its lexicon.
Vijayanagara rulers had the practice of appointing Governors, known as Nayaks, to manage far-flung regions of the empire. When Madurai and Thanjavur were annexed to the empire, Governors were appointed to administer the new territories. A part of the Saurashtra community may have moved to Madurai and Thanjavur at the time to serve the Governors.
The Vijayanagara empire collapsed after more than two centuries of rule, in 1565, after the Sultans of Deccan Confederacy won the battle of Talikota, thus opening up southern India for Muslim conquest. Soon afterwards, the Governors of Madurai and Thanjavur declared themselves the new rulers of the respective territories.
The Saurashtrians had to migrate again since they no longer enjoyed the royal patronage they were used to, and so, once again, were on the move. As there were Saurashtrians already present in Madurai and Thanjavur, it was only natural that they migrated further south to join their folks living there. The language would undergo one last alteration, this time influenced by Tamil, to bring it to its modern form. To this day, Saurashtrians are densely populated around the Royal Palace of Thirumalai Nayak, the greatest of the Nayak Rulers that ruled Madurai. There are good number of people staying in Mumbai (Maharashtra) in a place called Cheeta Camp and also in other parts of the city, but they all migrated from Salem etc. places within a period of a century.
It is important to note that the Marathi-speaking community in Thanjavur should not be mistaken for Saurashtrians. The Marathi community arrived in Thanjavur during King Serfoji's reign and they are culturally and linguistically distinct from Saurashtrians.
The greatest of the Nayak Rulers had great liking for silk wears and as the Saurashtrians were specialists in the weaving trade, they were invited by the King for weaving special silk clothing for the palace dwellers and that is how they settled around the palace of Thirumalai Nayak. Vrajlal Sapovadia consider Saurashtra language even older than original Gujarati and mix of Gujarati, Devnagari, Marathi & Tamil.
Sourashtram is classified under Indo-European Family – Aryan Sub Family -Indo-Aryan Branch – Inner Sub Branch Central Group-and pending some authoritative work, is tentatively grouped under Gujarati according to Linguistic Survey of India. vide Census of India 1961 Volume I INDIA Part II-C (ii) Language Tables p. ccxvii, published by The Manager of Publications, Civil Lines, Delhi, 1967. “Sourashtra Brahamanargal Sarithiram” is a well renowned book in Tamil which descirbes about their ancestry, how they descended south during ghazini’s invasion. Mostly they are categorized as Brahmins and when there was argument between them and Tamil Brahmins during “Upakarma” at vaigai river, madurai, they were arrested and presented in nayakkar’s court. Local Brahmins claimed that Sourashtra people were doing same kind of rituals as Brahmins and they want to understand how ritual they were. Thirumalai Nayakar ordered a debate to test their knowledge on Vedas and Upanishads. Without any doubt, Sourashtra Brahmins were able to answer all questions with rich explanations and Nayakar ordered a “Pattayam” stating that Sourashtras are considered as Brahmins and they have right to use Iyers and Iyengars surname. This “Pattayam” is still found evident in Sourashtra Club, Madurai."Saurāshtra is, through and through, an Indo-Aryan language. Sourāshtran publications are sufficient proof that it is an adequate medium for literary expression" vide The Saurashtrans of South India, By Dr. H. N. Randle, Plate VIII, published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, London October 1944.
The language has had its own script for centuries, the earliest one available from 1880. Dr. H.N. Randle has written an article 'An Indo-Aryan Language of South India—Saurashtra Bhasha' in the Bulletin of School of Oriental and African Studies (BSOAS) 11 Part 1 p. 104-121 and Part II p. 310-327 (1943–46)Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of School of Oriental and African Studies. This language is not taught in schools and hence had been confined to being merely a spoken language. But many great works like Bhagavath Gita and Tirukkural were translated into Sourashtram. It is now a literary language. Sahitya Akademi has recognized this language by conferring Bhasha Samman awards to Sourashtra Scholars.
Most Saurashtrians are bilingual in their mother tongue and Tamil and are more comfortable using their second language for all practical written communication though of late, some of them started writing in Sourashtram using Sourashtra script. There is an ongoing debate within the Saurashtra community regarding the use of the script for the Sourashtra language right from 1920 when a resolution was passed to adopt Devanagari Script for Sourashtra Language. Though some of the books were printed in Devanagari script, it failed to register the growth of the language.
But in practice because of lack of printing facilities, books are continued to be printed in Tamil Script with diacritic marks with superscript number for the consonants ka, ca, Ta, ta and pa and adding a colon to na, ma, ra, and la for aspirated forms, which are peculiar to the Sourashtra language. For writing Sourashtram using Devanagari Script, we require seven additional symbols to denote the short vowels 'e' and 'o' and four symbols for aspirated forms viz. nha, mha, rha and lha. We also require one more symbol to mark the sound of 'half yakara' which is peculiar to the Sourashtra language. The books printed in Devanagari Script were discarded because they did not represent the sounds properly.
The Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities, Allahabad by his letter No.123/5/1/62/1559 dated November 21, 1964 Communicated to Sourashtra Vidya Peetam, Madurai that the State Government were of the view that as only one book in Sourashtra Language had so far been submitted by Sourashtra Vidya Peetam for scrutiny, there was no point in examining the merits of only one book specially when the question regarding the usage of script - Hindi or Sourashtram, was still unsettled, and that the question of text books in Sourashtram might well lie over till a large number of books is available for scrutiny and for being prescribed as text books in Schools.
The Leaders in the Community could not realize the importance of teaching of mother tongue in schools and did not evince interest in production of textbooks in Sourashtram for class use. Now an awareness has arisen in the Community, and Sourashtra Vidya Peetam wants to teach the Sourashtra language through multimedia as suggested by Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities in his 42nd Report for the year (July 2003 to June 2004). Of late in internet, many Sourashtra Yahoo groups in their website use the Roman script for the Sourashtra language.
Now the Sourashtra font is available in computers and this enabled the supporters of Sourashtra Script to print books in its own script. An electronic journal, printed in the Sourashtra Script, VISHWA SOURASHTRAM has been started http://sourashtra.info Another website http://palkarblogs.com is available for practicing the Sourashtra Script. One journal, Bhashabhimani, is published from Madurai, in Sourashtra Script. Another journal, 'Jaabaali', is also published by the same Editor of Bhashabhimani from Madurai. The 'Zeeg' Sourashtra script practice Magazine is also published from Madurai only. All the three journals support the Sourashtra script only. There is no journal in Devanagari.
The letter order of Saurashtra script is similar to other Brahmic Scripts. The letters are vowels, consonants, and the compound letters which are formed essentially by adding a vowel sound to a consonant.
Vowels and Consonants
The phoneme inventory of Saurashtra is similar to that of many other Indo-Aryan languages, especially that of the Konkani language. An IPA chart of all contrastive sounds in Saurashtra is provided below.
Loanwords in Saurashtra Language
The language itself is more similar to modern day Hindi and Marathi. However, in the course of migration to South India, the language was influenced by Dravidian Languages such as Telugu and Kannada and accumulated words from those language in its vocabulary as loanwords.
|English Equivalent||Saurashtra Loanword||Donor Language Word|
|"Rasam" (Thor Dhal Juice)||Pilchar||charu(Telugu)|
|Read / Study||Cheduvi||Chaduvu (Telugu)|
|Pressed rice||Adkul||Atukulu (Telugu)|
|Punch(blow with the first)||Gudhu||Guddu (Telugu)|
|40x40px||Saurashtra language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
|This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (April 2009)|
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