Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken mainly in the Indian state of Maharashtra and parts of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka. It is the official language of Maharashtra and co-official language in the union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli. Marathi is written in Devanagari script which consists of 52 characters.
Marathi ranks 13th in the list of languages with most native speakers in the world. Marathi has the third largest number of native speakers in India, after Hindi and Bengali. The language has some of the oldest literature of all modern Indian languages. The major dialects of Marathi are Standard Marathi and the Varhadi dialect.
“Learn to Handwrite Marathi Alphabets”
Marathi distinguishes inclusive and exclusive forms of ‘we’ and possesses a three-way gender system, that features the neuter in addition to the masculine and the feminine.
The earliest example of Maharashtri as a separate language dates to approximately 1st century BCE: a stone inscription found in a cave at Naneghat, Junnar in Pune district had been written in Maharashtri using Brahmi script. The earliest mention of Marathi can be found in references from around 1000 AD. Marathi, a derivative of Maharashtri Prakrit language, is probably first attested in a 739 CE copper-plate inscription found in Satara. Several inscriptions dated to the second half of the 11th century feature Marathi, which is usually appended to Sanskrit or Kannada in these inscriptions.The Marathi language flourished under the rule of many great rulers such as Shivaji Maharaj who established a Hindu empire that lasted for more than 200 years. During this period literature produced by some famous poets like Mukteshwar, Ramdas, Eknath and Tukaram was seen as some of the best Marathi works.
After 1187 CE, the use of Marathi grew substantially in the inscriptions of the Yadava kings, who earlier used Kannada and Sanskrit in their inscriptions. Marathi became the dominant language of epigraphy during the last half century of the dynasty’s rule (14th century), and may have been a result of the Yadava attempts to connect with their Marathi-speaking subjects and to distinguish themselves from the Kannada-speaking Hoysalas.
Many great works have been created over the centuries in Marathi, such as plays written by Keshavasut, Dattoba and Gopal Bapu Ahire; poems from poets like Mardhekar, Nivrutti Bhalchandra and Sachin Ketkar; literature from writers like Pu La Deshpande and P.L. Deshpande; short stories by Anand Yadav; novels by Vijay Tendulkar; non-fiction works by Madhav Gadgil; children’s books by Laxman Gaikwad; biographies including those of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj; and historical epics such as Mahabharata. The oldest book in prose form in Marathi, Vivēkasindhu (विवेकसिंधु), was written by Mukundaraja, a Nath yogi and arch-poet of Marathi. The Mahanubhava sect made Marathi a vehicle for the propagation of religion and culture. Mahanubhava literature generally comprises works that describe the incarnations of gods, the history of the sect, commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita, poetical works narrating the stories of the life of Krishna and grammatical and etymological works that are deemed useful to explain the philosophy of sect.
Marathi has also spread to countries outside India, with many works being translated into foreign languages. In addition, Marathi has become more accessible through television channels and radio stations broadcasting in the language. Several newspapers are also printed in Marathi, and there are several websites offering news and other content in the language.
Marathi was widely used during the Sultanate period. Although the rulers were Muslims, the local feudal landlords and the revenue collectors were Hindus and so was the majority of the population. To simplify administration and revenue collection, the sultans promoted use of Persianised Marathi in official documents. The great efforts of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and a high ranking minister in his court, Khando Ballal Chitnis‘s father, Balaji Avaji Chitnis, the maratha empire was able to make marathi an important part of future Maharashtra. The Chitnises in the empire, descendants of Khando Ballal Chitnis, also authored great marathi language work such as Chitnis Bakhar, and the Shiva Digvijaya.
The dialect picture throughout the Marathi-speaking area is complex. Varieties that border other language areas tend to share feature with languages, such as Tamil, Kannada, and Konkani. Despite differences among the dialects in pronunciation and vocabulary, they are, for the most part, mutually intelligible. Standard Marathi is based on the speech of educated speakers of Pune, the second largest city of Maharashtra after Mumbai. Literary Marathi, based on older varieties of the language, differs significantly from spoken Marathi
“Learn to Handwrite Marathi Alphabets”
In addition to all universities in Maharashtra, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in Vadodara, Osmania University in Hyderabad, Karnataka University in Dharwad, Gulbarga University in Kalaburagi, Devi Ahilya University in Indore and Goa University in Goa have special departments for higher studies in Marathi linguistics. Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) has announced plans to establish a special department for Marathi.
Marathi grammar is very much like that of other Indo-Aryan languages such as Hindi, Bengali, and Punjabi. Unlike these languages, however, Marathi is agglutinative, i.e., it adds suffixes to roots to build words and to express grammatical relations. Agglutination is one of the features of Dravidian languages.
The Kadamba script and its variants have been historically used to write Marathi in the form of inscriptions on stones and copper plates. The Marathi version of Devanagari, called Balbodh, is similar to the Hindi Devanagari alphabet except for its use for certain words. Some words in Marathi preserve the schwa, which has been omitted in other languages which use Devanagari.Marathi is an important part of Indian culture that continues to be used by people both within India and around the world for communication and artistic expression. Its long history of literature provides a rich source of knowledge and insight into Indian society and its development over time.