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the affinity of Hindi with the Sanscrit language is peculiarly striking; and no person acquainted with both can hesitate in affirming that Hindi is chiefly borrowed from Sanscrit. Many words, the etymology of which shews them to be the purest Sanscrit, are received unaltered; many more undergo no change but that of making the final vowel silent; a still greater number exhibits no other difference than what arises from the uniform permutation of certain letters; the rest too, with comparatively few exceptions, may be easily traced to a Sanscrit origin. Pracrit and Hindi books are commonly written in the Devanagari; but a corrupt writing, called Nagari, is used by Hindūs in all common transactions where Hindi is employed by them; and a still more corrupted one, wherein vowels are for the most part omitted, is employed by bankers and others in mercantile transactions."
Gaura, or, as it is commonly called, Bengalah, or Bengali, is the language spoken in the provinces, of which the an
cient city of Gaur was once the capital; it still prevails in all the provinces of Bengal, excepting, perhaps, some frontier districts, but is said to be spoken in its greatest purity in the eastern parts only; and, as there spoken, contains few words which are not evidently derived from Sanscrit. This dialect has not been neglected by learned men. Many Sanscrit poems have been translated, and some original poems have been composed in it: learned Hindūs, in Bengal, speak it almost exclusively; verbal instruction in sciences is communicated through this medium, and even public disputations are conducted in this dialect. Instead of writing it in the Devanagari, as the Pracrit and Hindevi are written, the inhabitants of Bengal have adopted a peculiar character, which is nothing else. but Devanagari, deformed for the sake of expeditious writing. Even the learned amongst them employ this character for the Sanscrit language, the pronunciation of which too they in like manner degrade to the Bengali standard.-Although Gaura be
the name of Bengal, yet the Brahmanas, who bear that appellation, are not inhabitants of Bengal but of Hindūstān proper. They reside chiefly in the Suba of Delhi; while the Brahmanas of Bengal are avowed colonists from Canoj. It is difficult to account for this contradiction. The Gaura Brahmanas allege a tradition, that their ancestors migrated in the days of the Pandavas, at the commencement of the present Cali Yuga."*
Maithila, or Tirhutiya, is the language used in Mithila, that is, in the Sircar of Tirhut, and in some adjoining districts, limited however by the rivers Cusi and
*"Great affinity appears between the manners and practices of the Brahminas and those Gymnosophists of Ethiopia, who settled near the sources of the Nile; and, according to Philostrates, they were descended from the Brahmins. He says, the Gymnosophists of Ethiopia came from India, having been driven from thence for the murder of their king near the Ganges."-Philost. Vit. Apol. c. 6.—“ Sketches of the Hindus," by the author of the present work, vol. i. Sketch x. p. 255.
Gandhac, and by the mountains of Nepal : it has great affinity with Bengali; and the character in which it is written differs little from that which is employed throughout Bengal. In Tirhut too, the learned write Sanscrit in the Tirhutiya character, and pronounce it after their own inelegant manner. The dialect of Mithila has no extensive use, and does not appear to have been at any time cultivated by elegant poets."
Utcala, or Odradesa, is co-extensive with the Suba of Oresa, extending from Medinipur to Manacapattana, and from the sea to Sammall-pur. The language of this province, and the character in which it is written, are both called Uriya.* So far as a judgment can be formed from imperfect specimens of this language, it contains many Sanscrit words variously corrupted."
The five Hindu nations, whose pecu
* From the name of the province of Orisa, or as it is generally called, Orixa.
liar dialects have been thus briefly noticed, Occupy the northern and eastern portions of India; they are denominated the five Gaurs. The rest, called the five Dravirs; inhabit the southern and western parts of the peninsula. Some Pandits indeed exclude Carnata, and substitute Casmira; but others, with more propriety, omit the Cashmirian tribe; and, by adding the Canarasto the list of Dravirs, avoid the inconsistency of placing a northern tribe among southern nations. There is reason too for doubting whether Cashmira be occupied by a distinct nation, and whether the inhabitants of it be not rather a tribe of Canyacubjas.
Dravira is the country which terminates the peninsula of India. Its northern limits appear to lie between the twelfth and thirteenth degrees of north latitude. The language of the province is the Tamul, to which Europeans have given the name of Malabar, from Malay-war, a province of Dravira. They have similarly corrupted the true name of the dialect into Tamul,