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A Kaithi Handbook

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Kameshwar Singh Bihar Heritage Series-18
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Item Code: HAO685
Author: George Abraham Grierson
Publisher: Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University, Bihar
Language: English
Edition: 2013
Pages: 69
Other Details 10x6.5 inch
Weight 310 gm
Book Description

Kaithi script has remained in use for the last many centuries in most of the regions of north India not only for bookkeeping and preparing land related records and documents, but, also for writing letters and personal diaries. Once, I had an opportunity of glancing through one of the diaries (written in Kaithi) of Rajkumar Shukla who is known to have persuaded Gandhi to come to Champaran in 1917 to protect peasantry against indigo planters' oppressive conduct. The prevalence of this script among various speech communities for a long time, it seems, reveals its unique feature that it has not remained identified and attached with any one particular dialect. However, the simultaneous use of Kaithi, Deonagari and the script of each region-specific language, perhaps, attracted the attention of Georg A.Grierson, a great linguist of the colonial era. He was, I think, the first scholar to discuss the structure of Kaithi in comparative perspective and also in term of its variations. Credit goes to him to bring it to the notice of linguists (particularly graphologists) at the international level. His book was published first in 1881, and, then, its second (revised) edition came out in 1899.

However, in the course of time this work of Grierson virtually lapsed into oblivion. Yet, efforts began to be made for searching out a copy of it in different libraries of the country. Fortunately, a few months back we found a copy of it in a very old personal library in a village. I showed it to Dr.Surendra Gopal, former Professor of History, Patna University. Dr. Gopal suggested that it deserves to be published in Kameshwar Singh Bihar Heritage Series. We soon discussed its historical significance and value for the scholars working on languages / dialects and scripts used in different cultural zones of Bihar.

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