A friend of mine from Bihar told me what we considered as the national language Hindi was indeed a form of the Khariboli of Delhi. The Hindi they spoke was different, not a dialect but a different language altogether. I was surprised and perplexed. The article tries to find out all about Hindi language and literature. The article is verbatim from the History and Culture of Indian People published by the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan. After that I compared notes with The Cultural Heritage of India published by the Ramakrishna Mission.
Round about 500 AD there were regional Prakrits which were the source of modern Indo-Aryan languages and the authors can think of these Prakrits as -
Eastern Prakrit or Magadhi.
Central Prakrit or Ardha-Maagadhi.
Northern Prakrit, which may be called Khasa or Himalayan Prakrit.
Sauraseni Prakrit as current in Western U.P. and parts of Eastern Punjab as well as of Rajasthan.
Possibly a special Prakrit of Western Rajasthan, Saurashtra and Gurjara.
A Prakrit embracing Northern and Western Punjab and Sind.
Possibily there was another Prakrit, which was current in Malava. But it might have just been a variety of Sauraseni.
We have the Prakrit current in Maharashtra, which was this time confined only to the northern districts of the present day Maratha country.
By the end of 1300 a.d. the following Modern Indo-Aryan languages or groups had become established.
Bengali-Assamese which inspite of differences in pronunciation came upon to be looked upon as one language till 1500 a.d.
Oriya, which remained close to Bengali but had its own development.
Maithili, the speech of North Bihar became fully established by 1300.
Magahi, the speech of South Bihar, which was very close to Maithili and although was different in many ways did not create much literature.
Bhojpuri is an important language of Eastern India.
Kosali dialects, these became differentiated into its present day descendants, Awadhi, Bagheli, Chattisgarhi. Kosali seems to have been cultivated very early and we have a Sanskrit work that indicates that there was an attempt to teach Sanskrit through the Old Kosala speech, goes back to the 1st half of the 12th century.
Brajabhasa speech is connected with Bundeli and Kanauji, this is parts of modern day Western U.P., parts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Old Western Rajasthani, which after 1500 got bifurcated into Western Rajasthani or Marwari and Gujarati on the other.
Sindh speech derived out of the Old Vrachada Apabhramsa of Sind.
Lastly we have the incipient Punjabi language, mainly on a Western Punjabi basis.
We also have Kashmiri as a Dardic speech profoundly modified by Indo Aryan, which was taking shape by 1300.
Assamese - Bengali which may be taken as two languages, considering that the political history of Assam and Bengal were quite independent of each other from very early times, Oriya - Maithili and Magahi as a wholly developed though connected dialect, Bhojpuri - Kosali, also known as Gahwari, Brajabhasha with Kanauji and Bundeli, perhaps not yet fully differentiated, the Rajasthani dialects, of which the most important was the Marwari, largely used in literature and Gujarati which went along with Marwari, Marathi and the connected Konkani dialects, and then Punjabi both Western and Eastern and Sindhi.
Besides there was a group of North Indian or Himalayan dialects, coming from the old Khasa Prakrit of which the authors have no specimen until very late times. Excepting Bengali-Assamese-Oriya-Marathi-Gujarati-Sindhi-Punjabi the speeches of the North Indian plains have had a restricted literary employment during the last one hundred years and people from the beginning of the 20th century have accepted a form of Western Hindi (the Khariboli speech of Delhi) as their language of education, literature and public life. It has become the national language while Maithili, magahi, Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Bagheli, Brajabhasa, Chattisgarhi with other Central and Western Himalayan dialects being described as dialects of Hindi. But that was not the case till about 150 years ago.
The vocabulary of Hindi is chiefly derived from Sanskrit. Like other Indo-Aryan languages Hindi in its present shape began to take shape around the 10th century a.d. But before the 14th century it was highly influenced by the Sauraseni Apabhramsa. Interestingly Sauraseni also gave birth to Punjabi. (refer the article on Punjabi).
Oldest Hindi Mystico - Devotional Poetry - The padas and vanis of Gorakh Natha 1150, the great Natha Pantha teacher, and other contemporary Yogis preaching the philosophy and practice of hatha-yoga are also ascribed to this period. But their language is very changed and it is difficult to decide how much of these compositions are genuine. These poems emphasize the need for a pure life, detachment from material prosperity, and real knowledge, which prepared the ground for the bhakta poets of a later period.
The article has two chapters -
Covers development of Hindi from 1300 to 1947.
Scripts in India of the Present Day