(Copy right protected by Dr. G.S. Tripathy)
It cannot be exactly determined the date of origin of the ODIA BHASHA and its subsequent development. The spread of Prachya Prakrita might have taken the same course in ODISHA, known as Kalinga in ancient times in the history of India. The conquest of Kalinga by Ashok in 261BC is an important and well-known event. Before the epoch making event it is very difficult to ascertain the form of languages prevalent in the land of Bharat.
Long long ago when first Manu came to this earth from the other planet where he was living due to an OUGHA with his nearest relatives; he tried to teach his mother tongue Sanskrit to the then people here on this earth when there was no India, no Pakistan and no specific countries as they are today. With his Space-ship first Manu landed at Sapta-sindhu as per the indication given in Vedas. At that time Sapta Sindhu was surrounded by seven prominent rivers and three seas like Parabata, Saraswata and Arbabat.
“OUGHA” means flood-either due to water or snow is not specifically mentioned in Vedas. Harappa and Mahenjodaro civilization, which we call, is the sole gift of the then Arayas who came from the same planet to this earth along with, Manu with their technology, which cannot be imagined by the so called modern scientists of date.
The scholars who say that the Arayas have come from middle Africa, Egypt, Europe etc to Saptasindhu, are totally wrong. After staying in Sapta Sindhu, gradually these Arayas have gone to European countries and to other places like Irak, Iran, Pakistan etc, to eke out their livelihood.
Aryan influence predominated gradually spreading from Sapta Sindhu civilization towards the east of present India.
After the extinction of the Magadhan dominance, a branch of Chedi dynasty ruled over the Kalinga Empire. The Emperor Kharavela was the third member of this dynasty who was a scion of northern origin. When and how this northern Chedi dynasty established itself in Kalings is not known. But it is an admitted fact that they belonged to Aryan origin without any doubt. Kharvel has been styled as “AIRA” or “Aryan” in the Hathigumpha inscription. This word “AIRA” has been taken to be a corruption of the word ARYA or Aryan. In this epigraph the titles given to him are purely of Sanskrit origin. The Hathigumpha Prasasti has been composed in the Sanskrit origin only. The names of his relatives found in this epigraph are of Sanskrit origin. With a sacred language of Sanskrit Janism was also of Sanskrit origin from the north of India professed by emperor Kharvela.
From the short inscriptions on the Udaygiri Caves, names of his father-in-law and some of his officers found prominently which are of Sanskrit origin. With a sacred language of Sanskrit Origin, Janism was a religion of northern India.
By some scholars the names of some of his probable successors, VADUKA Kudupsiri are taken as of Dravidian origin though it has not been accepted by all.
As of Sanskrit origin, the name of Kharavel too has been interpreted meaning the ocean.
Some of the facts have been analysed above is to show that the Chedies of the Kalinga were of the northern origin and they Patronized and spoke a language of Sanskrit origin.
Assigned to the third century A.D., the Bhadrakha inscription of GANA is Prakrit. But there are certain words in this inscription which do not follow the Prakrit grammar and language. In this epigraph a word “MEDHA” is used. This seems to be a word of local language then Prevailing in then Kalings.
Upto the beginning of the Gupta Period, Prakrit was the language in all documents in then ODISHA.
This continues, it seems, up to 4th Century A.D. But all the epigraphs of the later Gupta period found in ODISHA, was in Sanskrit. Sanskrit was prevalent during the time of all the ruling dynasties of ODISHA like the vigrahas and the Matharas who have used Sanskrit in their charters. In their copper plates all the later dynasties like the Shilodbhavas, Bhaumas and Somavanisis used the language Sanskrit only. From the fourth fifth century A.D. onwards a change in the official language from Prakrit to Sanskrit seems to have taken place.
Whether the direct administration of the imperial Guptas was ever introduced in the ODISHA for which scholars are still uncertain.
In the field of culture and religion during their rule, ODISHA felt the influence of the mighty change that took place in northern India and there is no doubt about it.
During the Gupta period there was revival of Hinduism and of Sanskrit which had its repercussion on ODISHA too. The local language must have been influenced and became Sanskritic in their origin and vocabulary.
During the rule of Matharas, Panchatantra was composed, who were the contemporaries of the Guptas, in ODISHA. All the languages of this country must have been influenced by this great work of Panchatantra.
There are some places in India till-today where people are very much interested to speak Sanskrit and learn through Sanskrit only. Their mother tongue is Sanskrit only. The places are MATUR and HOSALI of KARNATAK, ‘Jhari’ “MOHADA”, “BAGHUAAR” of MADHYA PRADESH, GANODA village of BAUSAWADA district in Rajsthan.
In the SIMOGA district of Karnataka there is a village by name MATUR, as aforesaid, where only two thousand people are living. 95% (percent) of the people of this village are speaking Sanskrit only. When an outsider comes to that village, at once he hears – “BHABATAH NAMA KIM”
In place of “hallo” they speak “Hari Om”
All most everyone of that village, irrespective of Children up to grownups – they speak only Sanskrit. They fully understand the Indian traditional values including Muslims also whose children too speak Sanskrit.
They are not lagging behind in any respect some people of that village are serving as professors and teachers in different universities of India and abroad. Some Engineers are also there in that village.
Many outsider students are also coming to that village to learn Sanskrit. History of Matur is very old. About 500 years back people established there in that village since the reign of Krishna Dev Roy the famous king of the then VIJAYA NAGAR.
“JHARI” in Rajagarh district of Madhya Pradesh contains a population of only one thousand. They speak flaw-less and beautiful Sanskrit even when they work in the field. Even the Bullocks in the field do not find any difficulty to understand the order of the cultivator in Sanskrit.
In BAGHUWAR and MOHAD also people do utilize Sanskrit language only since morning to evening in their social duties. They do not understand whether it is useful to know Sanskrit at all for their future upliftment in the society or in the country.
Many foreign scholars are of opinion that Sanskrit is by far the better than almost all the richest languages of the world.
But in ODISHA Sanskrit was never the spoken language. But from the rock edicts available during the period of Kharvela and after the victory of Kalings by Chandrasoka, it appears, there must be pali and Prakrit as spoken language in Orissa as the rock edicts here in ODISHA contain Prakrit mixed with pali in many cases.
But to evolve a language of its own, ODISHA must have taken centuries which became Sanskritic in origin. In any document so far discovered, no example of earliest form of the ODIA Bhasha has come down to us. Certain words have been found in the ODIA inscription here and there which are of Sanskritic origin. We find the word like Thira, Pruva, Tambra, Paduma etc in the Bhauma copper plate records which can be pronounced in Sanskrit as Sthira, Purva, TAMBRA and Padma respectively. The influence of local language is discernible clearly in the names like Nannta, Bhimata, Lona, Bhara and Unmata simha etc.
It must have existed in a formative stage during the period of the Sailoddhavas, the Bhaums and the Somavamasis if at all it existed.
From the language of the central India people of Odra Country spoke a different language according to Yuan’ Chwang. Family affinities with the language of the then ODISHA especially at the time of Yuam Chwang had with the language then available in the northern and central India. They differed in the past as they do at present even though all the Northern Eastern and central India belong to one family group. Ganjam and Puri district together known as Kongada. Being adjacent to Andhra Pradesh Kongada has been influenced by the Andhra Pradesh only.
It is true Yuan Chwang did not learn the languages of India. Also he did not carry out any research work on them. He formed an impression about the language of these places during his sojourn in kongada and Odra Countries. Hence too much importance should not be given on his reports.
By ninth-tenth century A.D. the present ODISHA was consisted with three cultural and political units known as Koshal, Utkal and Kongada under the Soma Vamasis.
About 931 A.D. Jajati. I occupied the then ODISHA. As a result by the people and by the ministers of the state, Jajati-II was requested to be the king of these afore said, three distinct territories. To the coastal region of ODISHA the capital of Somavamsi Kingdom was shifted from Koshal especially during the period of Jajati II. The growth of a common language in the then ODISHA was fostered due to these political changes.
The people of Koshal at that point of time spoke a language akin to Bhojpuri and Prakrit while Magadhi had the affinity with the language of the coastal strip. A new language came to be formed as Oriya which came into existence with the mixture of two branches of Prachya Prakrit along with Magadhi. From the fact that the elements of the language of the coastal strip, the land of the odras predominated in it, the nomenclature seems to be have been derived. That the Koshal tract at no time could produce literature of its own is another reason seems to be.
But no specimen of ODIA Language of the Soma Vamasi period has come down to us as the oriya language seems to have been born under these circumstances.
We got from the stone and copper plate inscriptions a number of specimens of the ODIA language provided to us by the Ganga Period. From a bilingual inscription (ODIA and Tamil) of the reign of Vira Narasimhadev discovered at Bhubaneswar these Spcimens are found. During the Ganga Period with indubitable evidences the ODIA Language had considerably developed. Dr. K.B.Tripathy in his book “the evolution of oriya Language and script” has published the text of many inscriptions except the Sonepur stone inscription of Bhanudev I.
These records as described by Sri Tripathy show the examples of a stereotyped language generally used in documents only. That there was a literary language in Orissa they do not produce any evidence on this score.
During the Ganga period, some ODIA scholars think that the oriya literature had made its appearance. By the MadalaPanji, they take their stand. From the reign of Chodagangadev they maintain that this chronicle had started to be written. To the first part of the twelfth century A.D., they thus trace back the origin of the oriya literature through the unreliable character of MadalaPanji known to the historians.
In his Artavallabha Mohanty Memorial Lectures 1964, Prof S.K. Chatterjee seems to have been led by the popular view. He has assigned therefore the beginning of MadalaPanji to the reign of Chodagangadev only.
The long proclamation purported to have been issued by the Ganga King Anangabhima devIII, which has been incorporated in the MadalaPanji, has been taken as a very good specimen of oriya prose by him. In this so called Proclamation, he has not noticed several anachronisms which have proved that it could not have been composed in the Ganga period only. They were being handed down orally from generation to generation not only during the Ganga period but even much earlier folk songs existed in the then Orissa.
This gives us some indication about the early form of oriya language and literature when studied deeply about these songs.
The date of the origins of Khanna - Vachana cannot be determined which is the earliest literature of Orissa.