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Approach:

  1. Intro – write briefly when and how evolution of modern language started.
  2. Then write briefly about Bhakti movement.
  3. Then bring out how Bhakti movement shaped and helped in evolution of different languages giving some examples and order in which it spread leading to development of languages.

The evolution of modern languages can be traced around 1000 A.D. when local differences in Prakrit grew more pronounced, which later came to be known as Apabhramsa. These languages, conditioned by the regional, linguistic and ethnic environment, assumed different linguistic characteristics.

The most powerful trend of medieval Indian literature between 1000 and 1800 A.D. is devotional (bhakti) poetry which is a poetic approach to religion and an ascetic approach to poetry. It is poetry of connections – connecting the worldly with the divine, and as a result, the old form of secular love poetry began to have a new meaning in all languages. The rise of bhakti poetry gave rise to regional languages (Bhasa).

The power of ancient bhakti poetry in Tamil set in motion a pan-Indian efflorescence. After Tamil, Pamba’s great court epics were composed in Kannada in the 10th century. Devotional literature in Kannada, the Vachanas (sayings) of the various saints of the Krishna, Rama and Shiva cults, is well known.

Chronologically, Marathi, the close successor of Kannada, became the next venue for bhakti. Gyaneswar (1275 A.D.) is the first and foremost bhakti poet in Marathi. And then it is Gujarati in the 12th century. Gujarati poets like Narsi Mehta and Premananda occupy a prominent place in the galaxy of the Vaishnava poets.

Afterwards, the sequential order is as follows: Kashmiri, Bengali, Assamese, Manipuri, Oriya, Maithili, Braj, Avadhi and other languages of India. Hindi literature, with its supra-regional character, attracted Namdev (Marathi) and Guru Nanak (Punjabi) and others to write in Hindi, which by then had developed into a conglomeration of many languages and dialects, and came to be known as an umbrella language.

Thus, the conception of bhakti did away with the elite tradition of Sanskrit and accepted the more acceptable language of the common man as justified by Kabir saying that Sanskrit is like water of a well stagnant, Bhasa is like flowing water.

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