Bangla Bhasha/Bengali Language

Bengali, the language.

When I think about the mystery that is language I feel astonished. The same Bengali language that helps to shed light today in the thousand corners of the minds of innumerable people and makes it easy for us to interact with and understand each other; if we were to follow its light into the past, where would we end up? Who were those wanderers, who struggled against all odds on the path of the unknown, the ones who first set out from a nameless home on a journey both long and filled with obstacles carrying the faint flame of the language that we now speak. That ancient flame has travelled, illuminating the way, from one age to another to arrive at the tip of my pen today carrying a message of kinship. Those earliest of travelers took varying routes across the branches created by sweeping changes in history and this has blurred the similarities between those white skinned blond haired strong forest dwellers and this brown skinned short lived city dwelling subject of England with the dust of the ages. The only similarity that remains is the ancient thread of an unbroken language. Occasionally there have been new threads added to this language, sometimes time has repaired stresses in the chain and at other times the touch of non-Aryan hands has removed it further from its Caucasian roots, but it has remained uninterrupted. This language still points its finger back at the distant west to a birthing place whose exact location is not known to anyone.

The indigenous people of ancient India used to speak in a language that was divided into two major strands – Shourosheni and Magdhi. Shourosheni gave rise to the Hindi spoken in the Western parts of the country while Magdhi was the root of the Hindi spoken in eastern India. The other languages were Odri or Oriya and Gaudi or Bangla. There was no mention of Assamese. But in the latter part of ancient history, there are far more examples of Assamese prose than there are of Bengali. The language used in them is almost indistinguishable from Bengali.

Magdhi is the older of the two. According to Hornley, Magdhi was the only language once in use. The language spread from the west to the east gradually. The second wave of language Shourosheni came into India and took over the west. Hornley was of the opinion that there were two influxes of Aryans into India. Even though their languages were similar in origin, there were some differences.

Just as a river descends as many streams into many countries and reaches the sea as a number of branches, the ancient Magdhi travelled through the tongues of the Aryans and after many centuries today its rhythm moves the heart of Bengal and enriches its soul. Its flourish is not ever. It has spread wide and mingled its deep currents beyond the physical boundaries of the land to where it is now standing within the embrace of the world. When I think of how the ancient and yet fresh flow of language ties those times of yore and these times and unites the unknown souls of many lands with the newly awakened soul of Bengal, I am amazed. We use language so easily and yet it is not easy to know its inner secrets. The singular rules that connect language down the ages are both unchanging and also liable to be modified at each step of the way.
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Rabindranath Tagore
1938, Santiniketan