Garhwali Language in Written Form Before Twentieth Century
According to Rama Prasad Pahadi , Garhwali language is one of the oldest language of India . Rama Prasad Pahadi wrote to this author in personal letter and wrote in many his articles in Hilans magazine and other regional periodicals that Garhwali has been there from Mahabharata era and its origin place is around Kankhal Haridwar or the area of Dhangu and Uday Pur . Rama Prasad stated that there is influence of Garhwali language on the script of Kalsi Lat or pillar of great Ashok era near Danda Lakhaund, Dehradun . There is no doubt that Garhwal have been an important area for Indians (Jambudweep) as pilgrim place and the place of creating /writing manuscript from the Mahabharata time. It means that there was a specific regional language in Garhwal area which later on transformed into modern Garhwali language Dhasmana supports that the origin of Garhwali is originated from Vedic language .While , Dr Govind Chatak supports that Shaurseni Rajasthan is the mother of present Garhwali. However, it is a known fact that Garhwal as kingdom have been a sovereign nation even in the time of Mogul and only British as foreign ruler ruled Garhwal after 1812 Ad. Therefore, it is also clear that a single language of Garhwal had been there from Mahabharata time and definitely that language was transforming time to time due to migration of people from other parts of India and Tibet and China. Since, there had been political stability in Garhwal kingdom (600 AD is supposed to be initial year) for more than thirteen hundred years after is supposed be the establishment of Garhwali kingdom) became the king of Garhwal, the language was stable .
Vishambar Datt Chandola wrote in his write up ‘ Garhwali Sahitya ki Shurwat’ (2) that The main communication medium among Garhwalis before British was oral Garhwali language and Sanskrit was the language of elite. Literature creative and for ritual activities . The tantra, mantra, jantra were created in Garhwali . Same way, Garhwali is very rich in terms of its folk literature. Always, the state language had been Garhwali even before Panwar Destiny (1).
Accordingly, there were four states of written forms in Garhwali language
1- Tantra, Mantra and Jantra : This philosophical, spiritual and religious literature is available in manuscripts . Many manuscripts are now published , many manuscripts require publishers.
2-Carving on stone or copper/metal. Temple and building pillars and on cooper shields.
3- State language in state orders or sanad: Garhwali had been state language of Garhwali King Shrinagar Garhwal and then Tihri. Therefore, the orders of king or its ministerial decisions were written in Garhwali. The orders were always handwritten before Gorkhali took over Garhwal. The handwritten orders or sand is available in many museums specially of Vikram Shardul the younger brother of Manvendr Shah the ex- ruler of Tihri Garhwal.
4- Literature available in the form of letters.
There is a carving in Devalgarh temple stone of 1460 AD in Garhwali language (3) :
Ajaipal ki dharma patho bhandari karaun; ku
Sabari granth: This is a handwritten manuscript and t is in old form of Garhwali . This manuscript describes that Ajeypal ruled from 1440-1519 AD or 1500 to 1558 Samvat Sabdri Granth is about Jantra and mantra. There is complete detail of ‘ Ajaipal Jantra’ and ‘Salinam Jantra’ in Sabri Granth
There is a carved copper plate in Raghunath Mandir Devprayag of 1495 Ad, which describes in garhwali language about the king Jagtipal, Ramchandra Math, Bhumi, Bandto, etc.
The carving on the door temple of Khsetrapal, of 1604, there is description in Garhwali language about Maharaja Sahajpal ,Maharaja Manshahi (1608), and maharaja Prithwisha (1664)
There is description in Garhwali language on the stone carving n the door of Mahadev temple, Devprayag about construction of Raguhnath ji Bhandar, and Tijoriin the year 1610 AD
A letter of Maharaja Pradeepshah of 1757 was found in Kedarnath temple Yul, Tihri wherein there state stamp ‘Badrinath Vijayate and Shri with garhwali description .
Garhwali had been the state language of sovereign nation Garhwal and there are state orders in Garhwali which are available with Vikram Shardul Shah. There are many letters available about Devprayagpuri from 1495 to 1856 (1).
There are letters (1746) available from state authorities to all Syana ( village authority) about penalty for not paying the tax in the form of Ghee by villagers .
There is a state letter in Garhwali available (1796) toa person Chaturbhuj, wherein state authorties accepted about a Dahrmapatra (letter about religious matter) from Panch (village councilors) ( Reference-Babulakar 1990)
There are many letters are published in the book ‘Devparayagi Prakash’ about Devprayagpuri as request letter to pardon the Jhallar tax (1794), to pardon tax of 1791 and the Dasodh tax of 1800. There are sixty one letters in Garhwali language published in Devprayag Prakash , which are proof that before 1815, the state language of Garhwal was Garhwali and the state used to post the letters in Garhwali for day to day activities and informing necessary information to the subject (Babulakar, 1990)
Bahuguna (1976) provided the scripts of stone carving of Devalgarh 1460), and all the stone carving found in Devprayag in his historical book Gad Matyeki Ganga
Bahuguna (1976) provided an example of Garhwali prose from a hand written book ‘ Samaina ‘ written around 1780
Bahuguna (1976) provided us many old letters written before 1900 AD as letter of Basbanand Bahuguna and Shishram Bahuguna.
Brahma Nand Thapliyal (1913), Dr Pitambar Datt Barthwal Bahuguna(1955), Babulkar (1986), Anuragi (1986), Dr Vichardas (2009), and many more provided that there is garhwali language in the following published and unpublished philosophical antipathy books :
1- Dhol Sagar
2- Damau Sagar
5- Jogeshwari Sakhi
14-Narsingh ki Chauki
26-Jur Todi archival
35-Mantra Goril kai
39-Saub Jadu Ukhel
43-Chudail ko Mantar
45-Lochda ki Baidai
47- Guru Paduka
48-Shrinath ko Suklesh
The above detail is proof that Garhwali had been the only language of communication for more than fifteen hundreds years in Garhwal among common men and elite. Sanskrit was the language of elite only
1-Babulakar, Mohan (editor) 1990 , Garhwali Lok Bhasha ki Likhit Parampara, in the book- Garhwal ki Jeevit Bhibhtiyan aurGarhwal ka Vaishishthya, Mukhchyali, Dev Prayag, Page 165 to 170
2-Bahuguna , Abodh Bandhu, 1976), Gad matyaeki Ganga’ Alaknanda Prakashan, Delhi, India, pp20.
3- Bahuguna, Abodh Bandhu, 1955, Garhwali ke Gorakhpanthi Granth, Girish, Garhwal Sahitya Mandal Delhi, page 28
4- Babulkar, Mohan, 1986, Dhol Sagar par mere Sunjhav, Barrister Mukandi Lal Smiriti Granth, Smriti Granth Samiti, Kotdwara, Dehradun, pp354
5- Anuragi, Keshava, 1986, Gorakhpanth ke Paripex men Dhol Sagar,Barrister Mukandi Lal Smiriti Granth, Smriti Granth Samiti, Kotdwara, Dehradun, pp 329
6- Kukreti, Vishnu Datt, 1986, Nathpanth aur Garhwal, Garhwal ki Jeevit Bhibhtiyan aurGarhwal ka Vaishishthya, Mukhchyali, Dev Prayag, Page 226 to 235
7-Dr Vichar Das, 2009, Dhol Sagar, Series of Articles in Shailvani, Kotdwara
Copyright @ Bhishma Kukreti, Mumbai, India, 2009