Classical Odia Language Day
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Odia is one of the regional and very old languages ​​of India. It is mainly used by the people of Odisha & also by some people of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal, which are sharing border with Odisha. Apart from this, in other states of India, as well as abroad, mainly in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe, some Odias have also made Odia famous abroad. Odia is the official language of Odisha. It is also one of the 22 official languages ​​in the Constitution of India and the second official language in Jharkhand. Odia is the sixth Indian language and the first in the Indo-Aryan group of languages to get the status. Odia is an Indo-Aryan language which originates from Pali & Prakrit. 

Jagannath Das used the Prakrit language in his Bhagabat.

‘ପ୍ରାକୃତ ବନ୍ଧେ ଭାଗବତ ,

କହିଲା ଦାସ ଜଗନ୍ନାଥ ।.

This shows there is no doubt that Odia is a Prakrit language until the sixteenth century. It shows that the origin of the Odia language is from Prakrit, not Sanskrit.

ଓଡ଼ିଆ ଭାଷା ଆମ ଗୌରବମୟ ସଂସ୍କୃତି ଓ ଅସ୍ମିତାର ପରିଚୟ। ଆମ ଭାଷା ଷଷ୍ଠ ଭାରତୀୟ ଭାଷା ଭାବେ ଶାସ୍ତ୍ରୀୟ ମାନ୍ୟତା ଲାଭ କରିଛି। ଆସନ୍ତୁ ଓଡ଼ିଆ ଭାଷାର ଶାସ୍ତ୍ରୀୟ ମାନ୍ୟତା ଦିବସରେ ଏହାର ସୁରକ୍ଷା ଓ ପ୍ରସାର ପାଇଁ ସଂକଳ୍ପବଦ୍ଧ ହେବା।

The Odia language has taken its modern form since 1200 AD. From this time on, various poems such as Koili, Chautisha, etc. began to be composed. Sarala Das wrote the Mahabharata in Odia in the fourteenth century. From the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, poets translated various Puranas from Odia into Sanskrit. Poetry has been gaining popularity since the seventeenth century. From the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, the poets of Odisha enriched the Odia language by composing different poems, poems, hymns, chants, choupadi, etc. in different rhymes, ragas and rhythms. By this time the Odia language had reached the peak of its development. Although the Odia language has been progressing since the nineteenth century, it is small compared to the progress of other regional languages ​​in India.

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The inscriptions of Ashoka’s time, the inscriptions of Jaugad and the inscriptions of Khandagiri and Hatigumpa, built during the time of Kharabela, provide information on the original history of the Odia language. The inscription of the Hatigumpa shows that the original Odia language is from the Pali language. The language written in the Hatigumpa inscriptions is Pali and the script is Brahmi, so this inscription proves that the Odia language is older than other languages. Under the influence of the Sanskrit language, the word has changed in many places in the Old Pali language. However, the influence of foreign languages ​​in Odia is very less, which is much lower than in other Indian languages.

The use of Odia words can be seen in the 7th century palm leaves. Charya Sahitya, especially compiled by Buddhist Acharya collected from the Nepalese royal court, is the destination of ancient Odia words.

Similarly, in the 9th century inscriptions of Maharaja gana from Bhadrak

‘ଦେବ କହି ଭକତି କରୁଣ ବୋଲନ୍ତି ଭୋ କୁମାର ଶେଣ’ 

is first complete Odia word written in Odia language. The use of the Odia word “Kumbhara(କୁମ୍ଭାର)” can be seen in the copperplates of seventh century. 

The main source of Odia language is cave inscriptions and old paintings. the 20,000 years old paintings from Gudhandi in Kalahandi, the 10,000-year-old paintings from Yogimath in Nuapada, and the 3,500-year-old caves from Bikramkhol in Jharsuguda. Till today, the orange text “Tha(ଠ)” in the Yogimath script has been used in almost all Indian scripts, including odia.

Read Also : #ClassicalOdia Odisha celebrates Sastriya Odia Bhasha Dibasa Today – 11th March

The Odisha Legislative Assembly passed a law on the official use of the Odia language in 1954. According to this, all the work at the government level was decided to be done in Odia. However, due to a lack of effort and the difficulty of typing Odia in typewriters, it did not actually work.

Classical Odia Language Day
Classical Odia Language Day

Here’s a timeline of odia language

  • BC 600 – BC 200 (Ancient Indian Vedic Aryan Language) 
  • BC 200 – BC 100 ( The language of the Pali scriptures of the Buddhists)
  • AD 100-600 (various archives of the Prakrit language, various literary Prakrit) 
  • AD 600-1000 (development of non-Biblical literature, end-to-end abnormalities of the Prakrit language, Buddhist doha composed during this period)
  • AD 1000 – AD 1500 (ancient Odia language)
  • AD 1500 – AD 1800 (modern Odia language)
  • AD 1800 – Present (modern Odia language)

Since the Odia language is already recognized as a classical language, it is the responsibility of all Odias to enrich it. Language is rich when it is widely used. Educated young people are generally reluctant to speak Odia, which is unfortunate. If they do not love Odia language and do not strive to protect and promote the language, Odia is more likely to disappear. The more people have an interest in Odia, the better it can be with the development of literature, art and culture.

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By A P Subhakanta Samal

Teacher, Proud Odia. Passionate about History and heritages of Odisha. Founder and Chief editor of Shubhdristi (ଶୁଭଦୃଷ୍ଟି), A bi-monthly Odia e magazine and literature portal.