A simple but meaningful definition of who is a Marathi man by Acharya P.K. It was done by Atre. According to the Atriyas, the one who is followed by a piece of Tukoba is a true Marathi man! On the same footing, it can be said that there is a single Marathi person who has not heard the mantra ‘Gyanba – Tukaram’? Every Marathi person is directly connected to that tradition, which is described in the words ‘Gyanadeve Rachila Paya Tuka Jhalase Kalas’.
Like ‘Gyanba-Tukaram’, the mantra of ‘Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai’ is also loaded with Marathi people.
What magic is there in the names Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram and Shivaji? These were flesh and blood men like you and us; But they were great symbols of the cultural brotherhood that pervades the Marathi society of yesterday and today.
Through such symbols we know tradition, culture, history. But history is not just biographies of such iconic individuals. History is the overarching story of the society that these individuals represented.
To understand it, the range of our vision should be far and wide. Now look at this! Many Marathi people forget that even before the history of the Marathas, something historically meaningful happened in this land. When the memory is strained to trace the question, what before Shivaji, the common Marathi man reaches far back to Dnyaneshwar. But before that, many people do not have the answer to this question! So first it should be noted that –
- Shivaji was not the starting point of Maharashtra’s history but the culmination of a larger historical process. Also
- Dnyaneshwari was not the starting point of Marathi literature but it was the culmination of a literary-cultural process.
The origin of any language is not something that happens suddenly. The origin and development of Marathi language was also a long-term process. While explaining this process, the historical development of the society and the terrain in which Marathi language developed should also be taken into account.
Maharashtra has been inhabited since at least one and a half to two lakh years ago. The agricultural phase which is considered important in the development of human civilization started in Maharashtra about 4000 years ago. Numerous remains of that stone age culture have been found all over Maharashtra.
This culture flourished in Maharashtra from about 2000 to 1000 BC. Savalda, Kavthe, Prakash in Dhule-Nandurbar area; Gangapur in Nashik District; Daymabad, Jorve, Nevase, in Ahmednagar district; Excavations at many places like Inamgaon in Pune district throw light on the life of the people during this culture. Remains of houses, water and grain tanks, plank-varvanta, copper-yellow khapras carved in black-brown colors, artistic cups of liquor, tools of mud stones and copper, fishing nets have been found.
Nayakshahi (chiefdom) system of government; Cultivation of wheat, rice, millet, pulses and cotton; Trade with territories outside Maharashtra; of the practice of polygamy; of Pitar Puja; Archaeological evidence of burials and crypts has been found. (Shavakumbh means the earthen tank in which dead bodies are kept and buried.
especially the corpses of young children). Today there is ‘Rehakuri Sanctuary’ of deer and Maldhok parties in Nagar district. Even during that Stone Age period, there were a lot of deer and birds of prey. This has been proved by the fact that during the Paleolithic period, hunting of deer and deer increased in the same area. BC Around 1000, environmental changes disrupted agriculture in Maharashtra, depopulated human settlements, and led to cultural decline.
For the history of the next few centuries we have to depend on myths. Sage Agastiri is considered to be the first Arya to cross the Vindhya Mountains and come south. He married Lopamudra, a Munda princess from Vidarbha. The mentions of Janasthan, Panchavati and Dandakaranya in the Ramayana are associated with Maharashtra-Bhoomi. The Panchavati area of Nashik is believed to have been blessed by the residence of Ram-Sita. There is a myth that Parasurama colonized the region of Aparanta i.e. Konkan.
The next phase in the history of Maharashtra was written evidence and the reigns of dynasties. Maharashtra was also included in the Maurya Empire of Priyadarshi Ashoka in the third century BC. Inscriptions of Ashoka have been found at Sopara in Thane district and Devtek in Chanda district. But the Satavahanas can be said to be the first local rulers of Maharashtra. In the one and a half thousand years since him, many royal dynasties ruled in different parts of Maharashtra.
The most important dynasties were the Satavahanas, Vakatakas, Badami Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Kalyani Chalukyas, Shilahars and Yadavas respectively. The detailed history of all these has to be identified separately. But as part of our general knowledge we should at least be familiar with some salient things. For example, sculptures of Satavahanas can be seen even today at Pandava-caves in Karle, Bhaje, Nashik. A coin-ghat inscription mentions ‘Maharathino Ganakairo’ (member of the Maharatha Gana) in reference to the Satavahanas. It is believed to date back to the first century BC. The Satavahanas had trade relations with the Romans.
Hence, the writings of Ptolemy and Pliny find descriptions of the Satavahana kingdom. Pratishthan (today’s Paithan) is mentioned as a Satavahana capital and thirty fortified towns. Gautamiputra Satakarni (106 to 130 AD) was a great emperor who exterminated the foreigners like Sakas, Yavanas (Greeks) and Pahlavas and expanded his empire to the three seas around South India. He is known as ‘Shakkarta’.
However, historians differ about this chronology. Some believe that the Shalivahana Shaka was actually started by the Kushan ruler Kanishka. The Vakatakas are mainly natives of Vidarbha. Mahakavi Kalidasa is believed to have visited Maharashtra during his time. Some scholars speculate that ‘Ramgiri’ in his ‘Meghduta’ means Ramtek in Vidarbha. Many of Ajanthaya’s iconic paintings date back to the Vakataka era. The Vakataka rulers had reconciled with the powerful Gupta dynasty in the north by intermarriage.
The Purana ‘Mahavansh’ of the Sinhalese Buddhists, written around the time of the Vakatakas (AD 475), mentions four regions of Maharashtra. The mighty Chalukya Emperor Pulkeshi II who defeated Emperor Harshavardhana also established Amal in Maharashtra. In an inscription from the Bijapur region (AD 634) he is called ‘lord of the three Maharashtras (of Vidarbha, Desh and Aparanta)’. During his time (AD 641), the Chinese traveler Huentsung visited Maharashtra. Huentsanga’s description of Maharashtra makes a lot of sense: the land in this region is fertile and under cultivation. The weather is hot. People are brave, noble but honest and simple.
He is a fan of studies. They will never forget the debt of a benefactor. If you extend your hand to help, they will surely come running; But if someone insults them, they will not spare their lives without taking revenge on him. They will give advance warning to whoever is about to attack. Similarly, they will give time to get armed. Only later will four hands with him. They will pursue the fleeing enemy, but give shelter to the surrenderer with a generous heart.’
The characteristic nature of the soil of Maharashtra felt by Huentsanga – ‘soft wax we make Vishnudas tough Vajras Bhedu Aise’ in the 17th century saying of Tukaram and in the 20th century Govindagraja’s description of ‘Rakat Desha Hard Desha Desha Desha Dekha Desha Komal Desha Flowerhe Desha’.
Rashtrakuta is a.d. were the rulers of Maharashtra from 8th to 10th century. He is known as an exceptional ruler who conquered from south to north. The Kailasamandir of Verul, carved out of solid rock during the reign of the Rashtrakuta King Krishna, is considered an architectural wonder of the world.
The Marathi lyrics in the book ‘Mansollas’ (1129) by the Kalyani Chalukya king Somesvara should be said to be the earliest traces of Marathi Vadmaya. It is believed that the original construction of the temple of Ambabai in Kolhapur took place during the period of Shilahar Nripati. Historically, the Yadav dynasty of Devagiri, which ruled Maharashtra mainly from the late 12th century to the early 14th century, is very important. Because the broad and solid foundation of what we call ‘Marathi culture’ was laid during the Yadavas. Many features and characteristics of the social life of Maharashtra also took shape during the Yadav period. A new era in the history of Maharashtra began with the invasion of Allauddin Khilji in 1294. The Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughal Empire, the Muslim regimes of the south – particularly the Nizamshahi, the Adilshahi and the Qutbshahi – dominated Maharashtra at different times and regions.
The Bhakti movement of the pre-Shiva period brought a new consciousness to Maharashtra. Varkari Sampradaya awakened the Marathi identity and formed the background of Sivakarya by presenting the philosophy of spiritual equality and Karma Yogic Dharma of humanity in vernacular language.
In the 17th century, Shivaji Maharaj (1630-80) established the Swaraj of the Marathas. A new era began with his self-respecting, public welfare and religious tolerant policies. Samarth Ramdas’ descriptions of him as ‘Bhut Janansi Aadharu’ and ‘Janata Raja’ were very accurate.
Ramdasokti ‘Maratha Tituka Melvawa Maharastra dharamwa’ was the religion of that time. After Shivaji Maharaj, Sambhaji, Rajaram and Tarabai valiantly defended the Swarajya from the disastrous invasion of Aurangzeb.
In the 18th century – the Peshwa period – the Maratha Empire became a powerful force in India. On the one hand, Bajirao the elder’s attack on Delhi and Raghoba’s arrest, on the other hand, the defeat of Panipat (1761) and Madhavrao the elder’s short recovery – in the background of such ups and downs, the power of the Marathas declined in the 19th century.
British rule was established in Maharashtra in 1818. 19th century was the era of public awareness in Maharashtra. Since then, Maharashtra has played a major role in both social reform and nationalist politics. Mahatma Phule, Justice Ranade, Agarkar, Namdar Gokhale, Lokmanya Tilak, Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Yashwantrao Chavan to mention a few names can give an idea of the political and social contribution of modern Maharashtra.
Independence of India (1947) and formation of Union Maharashtra (1 May 1960) are particularly important events in the history of Maharashtra. Mumbai is not only the capital of Maharashtra, but also known as the ‘Industrial Capital’ of India.
Maharashtra is an industrially advanced state in the country. Maharashtra is considered one of the leading states in the advancement of science and technology and also in the race of computer age. Dadasaheb Phalke, Balgandharva, P.L. Deshpande, Lata Mangeshkar, Khashaba Jadhav, Sachin Tendulkar, etc., can be glimpsed of the progress in the arts and sports fields of modern Maharashtra. The history of the Marathi language, which took shape during the course of the history of Maharashtra, is also worth seeing. Inscriptions with some use of Marathi are found from 10th-11th century AD.
The first bibliography in Marathi dates back to the thirteenth century. Therefore, it can be concluded that Marathi language must have existed at least from 8th-9th century. A result of the linguistic evolution that was taking place a few centuries before that was the creation of the Marathi language. There is no consensus among scholars in this regard. But two prominent schools of thought regarding the linguistic pedigree of Marathi can be shown as follows –
1. The order of development accepted by those who consider Marathi as a derivative of Sanskrit is:
-Sanskrit – Maharashtrian Prakrit – Maharashtrian corruption – Marhati (Marathi).
2. The development sequence acceptable to those who consider Marathi to be of Prakrit origin:
-Pre-Vedic indigenous language-Pali-Maharashtri Prakrit-Maharashtri – Apabhransha-Marhati (Marathi)
Maharashtrian Prakrit occupies a central place in both the above schools of thought. It is significant that the grammarian of the Prakrit languages, Vararuchi (1st century AD), prioritized Maharashtrian Prakrit among those languages. The book ‘Gathasaptashati’ in the same language written by Satavahana Raja Hal at Pratishthan is considered to be the oldest book in Maharashtra.
Although the word ‘Maharashtri’ existed in both the pre-Marathi Prakrit and Apabhramsha stages, these languages were not limited to Maharashtra; Their area was larger than that. In fact, it should be remembered that Maharashtra is made up of diversity and idiosyncrasies from the ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural point of view. Maharashtra has been a confluence of various streams since ancient times. This was possible only because of the geographical location of Maharashtra and the inclusive mind of the Marathi people.
Given this multi-hued culture of Maharashtra, there is no room for narrow regionalism. Someshwara’s ‘Mansollasa’ mentions the meaning that the women of Maharashtra say Ovya while grinding their caste.
Ovi and Abhang folk songs were later widely used by great geniuses and saint poets from Dnyaneshwar onwards. In the inscription of Shravanbelgol there is a Marathi mention of ‘Srichamundaraye Karviyale’. This text was written in AD. Scholars concluded that it was in 983.
Hence the inscription (1012) of Silahar ruler Keshideva at Akshi in Kolaba district is considered to be the earliest Marathi inscription. There are some differences in that too! There was also a lot of confusion about the original Marathi text. Mukundaraja’s ‘Vivekasindhu’, Sripati’s ‘Jya Tisharatnamala’, Mahinbhata’s ‘Lilacharitra’ and Dnyaneshwar’s ‘Dnyaneshwari’ have been given the honor of being pioneers by different scholars.
But majority of scholars now believe that Mahinbhata’s Lila Charitra (1278) is a biography of Sri Chakradhar, the founder of the Mahanubhava Panth. Soon after this the pinnacle of Vadmaya-philosophy was reached in the form of ‘Dnaneshwari’ (1290). This means, the Yadav period was the period of the first flowering of Marathi literature. The Indian script called ‘Devanagari’ for the urban Aryas is the Marathi script. It was also called ‘Baalbodh’ script. The ‘Modi’ script was developed to facilitate fast writing.
Some scholars have attributed it to Hemadri and Hemadpant, an accomplished minister of the Yadavas. ‘Hemadpanti temple-style’ is also known by his name. Innumerable sources of history of the Marathas are basically written in Modi. Many dialects of Marathi such as V-Hadi, Ahirani, Konkani, Malvani are prevalent.
During the birth of Marathi there was an exchange of words with Arabic-Persian languages; But it was very insignificant. For example, Dnyaneshwari is completely free from Persian contact. However, after the Yadava period, the communication between Marathi and Persian increased greatly.
Since the 19th century, the exchange with Urdu, Hindi and English increased. Language flows like a river. Some people even feel that it is polluted by taking what they can get in their stomach. Then, while the language is increasing, language purification is also undertaken. How can the history of Marathi language be an exception to this? Many writers contributed to the growth of Marathi. Santsahitya should be said to be the lifeblood of Marathi language. Sant, Pant (Pandit-poet) and Tant (Shahir) gave vigor to the Marathi language.
Of course, before all this, Lokavadmaya had talked her out of it. The genealogy of Marathi’s pride is very eloquent. The greats used it consciously.
Dnyaneshwar talks to Amrita to win the bet through her. Eknath asked the question that if Sanskrit language was created by gods, then our Marathi language was created by thieves? Christian Missionaries like Father Stephens who wrote ‘Kristapuraan’ in 1614 glorified Marathi and called it ‘Sarva Bhashammaji Sajiri’. Shivaji Maharaj refined his political language by making ‘Rajyavyabhaya Kosh’.