What is the original script of the Sindhi language: Devanagari or Arabic?

Today we write Sindhi in Arabic script, but is it true that the original script of Sindhi is Devanagari?



By Arvind Iyengar, Professional Student in Linguistics

The short answer is: There is no clear answer to this question.

The answer to your question also depends on when you think the Sindhī language came into being, since languages change at a rapid rate.

The language of Shāh ʿAbdul Latīf Bhiṭṭāī (1689 – 1752 AD), the ‘national poet’ of Sindh, might be quite difficult to understand for a speaker of modern Sindhī. Therefore, can Shāh Latīf’s language be considered Sindhī?

That said, those driven by linguistic pride often claim (usually without proof) that the yet unknown language of the Indus Valley Civilisation was actually Sindhī, and therefore, the script used on the Indus Valley seals must be the original Sindhī script (even though no one knows what the symbols mean).

On similar lines, there might be those who claim that (depending on their ideology) either Arabic or Devanāgarī is the original script of Sindhī, again usually without proof.

A Sindhī translation of the Qurʾān and of the Mahābhārata are believed to have existed as far back as the 11th century (assuming of course that one can safely call this language Sindhī). Whether these were written in a Brāhmī-based script or an Arabic-based script is not clearly known (Brāhmī is the ancestor of the modern Devanāgarī script).

By the early 1800s, it has been attested by several authors, both Indian and European, that there were several different scripts in use for Sindhī, including Haṭavāṇikā (or Kẖudābādī), Gurmukhī and of course Devanāgarī and Arabic.

Usage of a script during this era usually depended on the religion, profession and/or ideological disposition of the user:
– Muslims might have been predisposed towards the Arabic script
– Hindus (Sindhī Nānakpanthīs) towards Gurmukhī or Devanāgarī
– Sindhī traders (Bhāībands and Shikārpurīs) towards Haṭavāṇikā, since this script did not mark vowels clearly and was near-illegible to most people except the writer; this script was therefore used to maintain accounts and keep them cryptic!

The British invaded and captured Sindh from the ruling Ṭālpur clan in 1843, and in 1853, decided to use a modified version of the Arabic script for Sindhī, since the majority population of Sindh was Muslim.

This modified 52-letter Arabic script is still the official script for Sindhī in Pakistan and India. In India, the government declared  Devanāgarī a co-official script for the language in 1950.

Courtesy: Quora
Read more » https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-original-script-of-the-Sindhi-language-Devanagari-or-Arabic


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