About the Book
present work is an exhaustive study. The work deals with the phonological
development of the total range of Middle-In do-Aryan Language. The author has
taken materials from the works relating to this topic, but has presented in her
own style and has taken conclusion of her own. This study is comprehensive and
in-depth analysis of the subject.
About the Author
Dr. Saheli Das, Nalinaksha Dutta Stipend holder of the Dept. of Pali,
C. U. (Ist class 3rd in M.A.), JRF & SRF(UGC,NET)
obtained Ph.D. degree from the University of Calcutta. She is trained in
Ancient Indian Palaeography, Prakrit Language and
Literature, Museum Studies, Manuscriptology and
Tibetan Language. She was also worked as a Research Associate (post Doctoral
Fellow), Dept. of Pali, C.D., UGC-UPE Scheme(West Asian Buddhism). She worked as a Guest Lecturer
in the Dept. of Pali, Govt. Sanskrit College. Now she
is working as a Guest Lecturer in Pali, Dept. of
Languages, in Sanskrit Dept. and in Buddhist Studies, under Faculty of Arts,
University of Calcutta. She is the Life Member of The Asiatic Society, Kolkata
and Indian Society for Buddhist Studies, Jammu. She has more than thirty
research papers (national and international) on different fields of Buddhism.
She is the Acharya Buddhaghosha
Award recipient of the year 2007.
present study is based on my Ph.D. thesis entitled A Historical Development of
Middle-Indo- Aryan Languages with Reference to Buddhist Literature and
Epigraphy which I had submitted in 2006 and obtained the Ph.D. degree from the
University of Calcutta in 2007. Some changes have occurred regarding the time
period. This study is carried out under the direct supervision of Prof. Dr.
Mani Kuntala Halder (De). the then Head of the Dep. of Pali,
University of Calcutta. Kolkata. I am really indebted
to my supervisor and it is not a matter of exaggeration to say that without her
help and guidance in every respect alone could not get me reach the desired
well known fact that the Indo-Aryan language which happened to be the mother of
other North Indian languages was initially introduced in India by the intruding
Aryans during 15th century B.C. Actually, the Indo-Aryan
language can be divided three distinct categories. viz.
Old-Indo- Aryan (upto 6th century B.C.). Middle-Indo-Aryan (6th century B.C. to 10th century A.D.) and New-Indo-
Aryan (10 century A.D. onwards). Among those three categories, the
Middle-Indo-Aryan (MIA) language which comprises of Pali
and Prakrit has important historical values. Since Pali and Prakrit, belonging to
the category of MIA language contained vast amount of historical material
related to Buddhism. Cultivation of same in proper perspective is supposed to
yield important results related to historical analysis.
present study consists of seven chapters. Chapter - I is an introduction
containing a general survey of MIA languages. The total period of MIA languages
can be divided in four sub-divisions. viz. (a) period of
early development. (b) transitional period. (c)
period related to the development of later Prakrits and (d) later phase of development. Chapter - II
contains the palaeographic records of MIA languages. Chapter- III deals with
the history. structure and characteristics of Pali and Prakrit - the early MIA
languages (6th century B.C. to l0th century B.C.). Chapter - IV depicts a phase
of change in the realm of MIA languages (1st century S.C. to 4th century AD.)
which includes Prakrit. Prakrit
influenced by Sanskrit. Sanskrit influenced by Prakrit
and the three dialects of the fragments of of Asvaghosa’s drama. Chapter - V deals with a particular
stage development of literary prakrits (4th
century AD. to 6th century AD.) consists of Maharastri,
Sauraseni, Magadhi, Ardha-Magadhi, Paisaci etc.
Chapter - VI is. in fact, a discussion on the
development of late MIA. i.e . Apabhramsa and Avahattha (6th century AD. to 10th
century AD.). Chapter - VII forms the concluding part.
In this occasion. I would like to show my gratitude to Late Prof. Amitabha
Bhattacharya. Dept. of Ancient History and Culture.
C.U. and Late Prof. Niranjan Goswarni,
Curator. Ashutosh Meseum of Indian Art. C.U. for their valuable instructions.
indebted to Prof. Satya Ranjan
Banerjee, Dept. of Linguistics. C.U
.. Prof. Late Subhadra Kumar
Sen. Dept. of Linguistics. C.U .. Prof. Ratna Basu,
Dept. of Sanskrit. C. U.. Prof.
Samir Mukherjee, Dept. of Museology. C.U .. Dr. Sadhan Chandra Sarkar, Ex-Officer-in
Charge. Govt. Sanskrit College. Kolkata.
Late Dr. Kanai Lal Hazra, Dept. of Pali. C.U.. Late Prof. D.P. Guha, Nalanda Mahavihar, Prof. V.P.
Jain. Director. Bhogilal Leherchand Institute of Indology. Delhi for their valuable
suggestions and continuous instructions.
convey my heartfelt thanks to the authorities of the Central Library,
University of Calcutta, Museum & Library of The Asiatic Society, Kolkata,
Library of the Govt. Sanskrit College, Kolkata and Library of the Bhogilal Leherchand Institute of Indology, Delhi for giving me permission to consult books,
documents and periodicals from time to time.
personal note, I must mention the name of my parents, Shri Sunil Kumar Das
& Smt. Keya Das, for their constant prodding and
encouragement. I am grateful to my sister Smt. Sanoli
Das Ghosh and brother-in-law Shri Supratim
Ghosh and my niece Sambodhi
Ghosh for their encouragement. My Husband Shri Surajit Sarkar provided me
immense cooperation at every step. I am greatful to
my father- in law Late Swarnakamal Sarkar and mother-in-law Smt. Shila
Sarkar. I am really indebted to my friend Shri Supriyo Biswas for his technical
assistance. I am specially indebted to my Gurudev Late Kamal Kumar Sinha.
also thankful to Shri Prashanta Bhattacharya of Punthi Pustak, Kolkata for undertaking the heavy tusk of
publishing this book with great care.
those, I acknowledge my gratitude towards those persons who helped me a lot
without mentioning their name.
Introduction-a general survey
Palaeographic records of mia
History, structure and characteristics of pall and prakrit -
The early mia languages (6th
century B.C. - 1 st century B.C.)
A phase of change during the period between
the 1st century B.C. And 4th century AD.
Different literary prakrits (4th
century AD.- 6th century AD.).
Later development of mia during
the period between 6th century AD. – 10th century
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