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Spoken in India
Language extinction developed into Marathi,Konkani,Divehi (Mahl) and Sinhalese
Language family Indo-European
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2 inc
ISO 639-3 pmh

Maharashtri (Marathi: महाराष्ट्री प्राकृत), is a language of ancient and medieval India, descended from Prakrit, and spoken in what is now Maharashtra and other parts of India. It is the ancestor of Marathi, Konkani[1], Sinhala and Dhivehi as well. It is one of the many languages (often called dialects) of a complex called Prakrit, and the chief Dramatic Prakrit. Its literary use was made famous by the playwright Kalidasa.

Maharashtri was the most popular amongst all Prakrit languages. It was spoken from Malwa and Rajputana (north) to Krishna and the Tungabhadra river region (south). Sanskrit lost its status as a 'communication language' somewhere around 500 B.C., when Prakrit came into use. The ruler Hāla (r. 20-24 CE) mentioned in the Puranas as a member of the Satavahana dynasty, used Maharashtri, then popular, to write Saptashati(सप्तशती) or Gāthā Saptashatī, Setubandh (सेतुबंध) and Karpurmanjari (कर्पुरमंजरी)[2]. Maharashtri was in use for 1000 years (500 BC to 500 AD). Historians agree that Maharashtri and other Prakrit languages prevailed in modern Maharashtra.[3] Maharashtri was widely spoken in western India and even down south in the parts which speak Kannada.[4]

Marathi is descended from the Prakrit dialect Maharashtri (literally, the "Language of the Empire"), which was the official language of the Satavahana Empire in the early centuries of the Common Era. Under the patronage of the Satavahana Empire, Maharashtri became the most widespread Prakrit of its time, and also dominated the literary culture amongst the three "Dramatic" Prakrits of the time, Maharashtri, Sauraseni and Magadhi. A version of Maharashtri, called the Jaina Maharashtri, also was employed to write sections of Jain scripture. The Satavahana Emperor Hala's Sattasai, an anthology of over 700 love poems, has been established as the most famous work of literature in Maharashtri. Maharashtri evolved during the 15th and 16th centuries into Marathi.[5]


  1. ^ "Roots of Konkani" (in English,Konkani). Goa Konkani Akademi. Retrieved 2009-09-03.  
  2. ^ Dr.Kolarkar, Marathyancha Itihaas
  3. ^ V.Rajwade, Maharashtrache prachin rajyakarte
  4. ^ C. V. Vaidya, History of Medieval Hindu India, Being a History of India from 600 to 1200 AD, in 3 vols.: Vol. I, p. 317. ISBN 8170204380
  5. ^ Bhashaindia-Marathi


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