Main article: Indo-Aryan languages Saurashtra belongs to the western branch of the Indo-Aryan languages , a dominant language family of the Indian subcontinent. It is part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is also classified as being part of a Gujaratic languages that, alongside Saurashtra includes the languages like Gujarati see SIL Ethnologue. See also: Saura and Saura Hinduism Saura is a Sanskrit term meaning flame or dawn of Surya and the people worshiping Surya or Saura are called as Saurashtrians , the speakers of Saurashtra were once sun worshipers and have built sun temples dedicated to the Hindu deity Surya. The language is the modern living and active form of ancient Sauraseni Prakrit.
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In the s Norihiko Ucida, a Japanese scholar, went to Madurai, in southern India, to research Sourashtran — something of an island of a language, as the Sourashtrians originated in Gujarat but migrated to the Madurai area, in Tamil Nadu, where not surprisingly they were surrounded by Tamils, whose languages derive from an entirely different language family.
At the end of the last century T. Rama Ra[i] reformed the script and cast types for it. He published many books in this script. Later he introduced some changes and standardized it, [producing a version that] is now used by some people as Sourashtra script. Since the end of the nineteenth century books have been printed in Telugu, Tamil, Devanagari and Sourashtra scripts.
When Gandhiji preached for one common script for India, one group of the community decided to abandon the Sourashtra script in favour of Devanagari and destroyed the matrix designed by Rama Ra[i]. The move toward centralization and unification of languages in India, which to some extent had begun under colonial rule, gathered force immediately before and after independence. Between the wars, a resolution was passed to adopt the Devanagari script for the Sourashtra language.
The question of printing textbooks in Sourashtran would have to wait until a large number of books was available for examination. The point was, Sourashtra did not fit in. Devanagari needed at least seven extra characters to represent the full range of the Sourashtran spoken language, and for some it also epitomized the authority of the voice of government up in Delhi.
Tamil which most Sourashtrans speak to a virtually bilingual degree worked up to a point, but only when a number of superscript marks were added. With the new millennium, though, the tide changed. Even though, as is the case with language communities all over the world, the Saurashtra community is conflicted Devanagari or Tamil or Sourashtran? Ancient or modern?
Global or local? There are Facebook groups and websites dedicated to teaching and reviving the Sourashtran script, and an online newspaper in Sourashtran and Tamil. Most recently, digitized fonts have been created locally, and mobile-friendly applications.
Even though Sourashtran is an unofficial script, not taught in schools, it seems to be gaining traction through independent channels. This is what is happening in regard to Sourashtri script. Sourashtri language and script lovers learn it passionately and seek to spread its use without banking upon governmental support.