Marathi is the native language of the state of Maharashtra. It is an Indo Aryan language and is one of the most widely spoken languages in the country. It stands in the 4th place amongst the widely spoken languages in the country. Marathi belongs to the 10th century, and the language is a derivative of the Sanskrit and Pali scripts.
Marathi literature flourished in history under the reigns and rules of prominent dynasties and rulers. They adopted their patronage in this language and contributed to the overall popularity and growth of the language.
UPSC Mains Marathi Syllabus Paper – I
Language and Folk-Iore
- Nature and Functions of Language (with reference to Marathi) Language as a signifying system : Langue and Parole; Basic functions; Poetic language; Standard Language and dialect; Language variations according to social parameters. Linguistic features of Marathi in the thirteenth century and seventeenth century.
- Dialects of Marathi Ahirani; Varhadi; Dangi
- Marathi Grammar Parts of Speech; Case-system; Prayogvichar (Voice)
- Nature and kinds of Folk-lore (with special reference to Marathi) Lok-Geet, Lok Katha, Lok Natya
History of Literature and Literary Criticism
a. History of Marathi Literature
- From beginning to 1818 AD, with special reference to the Mahanubhava writers, the Varkari poets, the Pandit poets, the Shahirs, Bakhar literature.
- From 1850 to 1990, with special reference to developments in the following major forms : Poetry, Fiction (Novel and Short Story), Drama; and major literary currents and movements, Romantic, Realist, Modernist, Dalit Gramin, Feminist.
b. Literary Criticism
- Nature and function of Literature
- Evaluation of Literature
- Nature, Objectives and Methods of Criticism
- Literature, Culture and Society
UPSC Mains Marathi Syllabus Paper – II
Textual study of prescribed literary works. The paper will require first-hand reading of the texts prescribed and will be designed to test the candidate’s critical ability.
- Mahatma Jotiba Phule “Shetkaryacha Asud; ‘Sarvajanik Satyadharma’
- S.V. Ketkar ‘Brahmankanya;
- P.K. Atre ‘Sashtang Namaskar’
- Sharchchandra Muktibodh ‘Jana Hey Volatu Jethe’
- Uddhav Shelke ‘Shilan’
- Baburao Bagul ‘Jevha Mi Jaat Chorli Hoti’
- Gouri Deshpande ‘Ekek Paan Galavaya’
- P.I. Sonkamble ‘Athavaninche Pakshi’
- Namadevanchi Abhangawani’ Ed: Inamdar, Relekar, Mirajkar Modern Book Depot, Pune
- ‘Painjan’ Ed : M.N. Adwant Sahitya Prasar Kendra, Nagpur
- ‘Damayanti-Swayamvar’ By Raghunath Pandit
- ‘Balakvinchi Kavita’ By Balkavi
- ‘Vishakha’ By Kusumagraj
- ‘Mridgandh’ By Vinda Karandikar
- ‘Jahirnama’ By Narayan Surve
- ‘Sandhyakalchya Kavita’ By Grace
- ‘Ya Sattet Jeev Ramat Nahi’ By Namdev Dhasal
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More about the Marathi language
The Jadhava dynasty finds a clear mention in history and is believed to have taken the first foot forward in patronizing Marathi language to what it is today. The dynasty rulers made Marathi the language of all their official transactions in the bygone era and encouraged their men to study and learn in Marathi language.
Not just the rulers, the Panths belonging to particular religious sects popularized the language in the form of prose and poetry. It is these Panth communities that are majorly responsible for the overall growth and spread of the language and the literature across different corners of the state.
There are about 90 million speakers of Marathi worldwide and among the Indo Aryan language groups, it is also claimed to be the oldest one. It is around 1300 years old. The spoken form of the language is a direct Sanskrit derivative, while the written part detailing the syntax and important grammatical points pertain to the Pali language officially.
Marathi was considered the official language of the Shatavahana dynasty. Karpurmanjari and saptashati which is epic legendary works in Maharashtra were contributed by the Shatavahana dynasty rulers. The Prakrit derivative of Marathi or Marathi Prakrit form was very popular in ancient India, both in mainland Maharashtra and the border regions collaborating with Karnataka.
William Carrey from the colonial British rule took great initiatives in streamlining and organizing the Marathi grammar and syntax in structural form. The earliest part of grammar and reference books in religious and spiritual contexts in the languages are proof enough of the tremendous amount of work done in this regard.
The standardization process was not just elaborate, it was very enriching and contributed immensely for the up gradation of the language. It was during the British rule that the first Marathi newspaper was published and an English book was translated into native Marathi language.
However the modern part of Marathi language and literature saw its hay days right from the beginning of the 20th century itself. Marathi also has two prominent dialects in itself- standard Marathi and Warhadi Marathi. Standard Marathi is the officially adopted language by the state government of Maharashtra.
The language is also officially adopted in the union territories of Daman and Diu plus Dadra and Nagar Haveli. It is interesting to note that Goa also has been instrumental in popularizing the language in being an immediate neighbor with Maharashtra.
The government of India has recognized Marathi as one of the special languages amongst the 22 list of languages and has placed special linguistic study sections for Marathi. These Marathi departments help in the further revival and study of the language and immensely contribute to the spread of knowledge and literature.
The first literature form of the language can be dated back to the 10th century. The famous monolithic structure of Gomateshwara in Shravanabelagola in Karnataka is the oldest form of Marathi literature found in the country. Marathi literature enjoys its golden period in the ancient literature form and a revived and much advanced form in the modern literature days.
It is believed that the older form of literature was more submissive and shared its attraction for the not-so-positive tones. They were mostly sad toned with not much life and zest filled in them. This is believed to be till the 1800 AD.
Though the literature tone is believed to be pessimistic and a little on the negative corner, the word usage and the grandeur of the literature is maintained and well collaborated in all the works.
They were mostly devotional poems, narrative prose and hymns that lacked basic structure and form in them. They were written without a well defined and bright structure to them, with few takers for their cause. The noteworthy mention of the Yadava dynasty in this era of literature is worth mentioning.
It is the saints who greatly contributed to the new form of Marathi literature and began sheen of revival and transformation in the language. They brought in a new emergence phase and spread new light for the dull fallen language.
Prose, poetries, words that touched millions of people were recited, written and spread across in different parts. People easily got attracted to the new form of Marathi wave and also enriched their own social lives and knitted themselves closely with the culture of their times.
Namdev, Dhyaneshwar and Mukundaraj were amongst those several saints who collaborated at different periods to enrich human lives through the medium of language and their writings. In this regard, Vivekasinshu is the first of such respectable work marking a milestone in a journey of transformation for Marathi. Other works of the period include Bhawarthadeepika, Dnyaneshwari, Amrithinabhava, Govinda Prabhu charitra, Siddhartha sutra Pantha among others,
Ekanathi Bhagavatha, Christapurana etc are some of the other prominent works rendered by Marathi saints from a different trend following. In this period, Tukaram who is the most famous poet of Marathi literature in the saint group wrote more than 3000 abhangas. Sant Ramdas who was a devotee disciple of Tukaram rendered other great works such as Dasabodh and Manache Shlok.
All these works have the highest rated form of Marathi literature and have spread the word of spiritual enrichment and glorified human life in all its forms.
In 18th century, Marathi literature saw great contributions form poets to both the poetry and the prose form of literature. After 1818, the official period of modern Marathi literature began. Poetry, scientific writing, research and technical writing along with translations marked a great contribution to the language in the beginning of early days of modern literature.
There were many great English works that got easily translated into Marathi language in this era. It was also the British influence that missionaries acted as a catalyst in bringing about a ring transformation to the language and its soul. By bringing in content from the west, the Britishers were not just popularizing their culture, but also brought in a fancy attraction towards the Marathi language too.
This was soon revived by Lokamanya Tilak who started his own local newspaper in Marathi and Ranade who worked towards unifying people for the cause of freedom struggle and taking them away from the clutches of false attractions of the British ways of living. V R Tambe, C V Joshi, Vinda Karandikar are noteworthy names amongst many others in the modern days of Marathi literature activity.
Vijay Tendulkar and C T Dhanolkar have contributed to the form of literary dramas and scripted success in their fields. N S Phadke and Durga Bhagwat have contributed to writing excellent form of essays on socially relevant topics in Marathi literature in the modern day.