Halegannada ( _kn. ಹಳೆಗನ್ನಡ) is the Kannada language which has transformed from the fifth century CE during the reign of the Kadambas of Banavasi (ancient royal dynasty of Karnataka - 345 CE – 525 CE). [cite web|url = http://www.ourkarnataka.com/states/history/historyofkarnataka10.htm |title = OurKarnataka.com: History of Karnataka: Kadambas of Banavasi |accessdate = 2008-06-30] The Modern Kannada language has evolved in four phases over the years. From the Purva Halekannada in the fifth century (as per early epigraphic records), to the Halegannda (Old Kannada) between the 9th and 14th century, the Nadugannada (Middle Kannada) between 14th and 18th Century it has evolved to the present day Hosagannada (Modern Kannada) from 1800 to present. Hosagannada (Modern Kannada) is the official language of the Karnataka state and is one of the 22 official national languages of the Republic of India and is the native language of approximately 65% of Karnataka's population.citeweb|url=http://dpal.kar.nic.in/30%20of%201981%20(E).pdf|title= The Karnataka Local Authorities (Official Language) Act, 1981|work=Official website of Government of Karnataka|publisher=Government of Karnataka|accessdate=2007-07-26]


Halegannada is derived from two Kannada words, "hale" and "Kannada". "Hale", in Kannada language, means old or ancient. In Kannada grammar there are sandhis in which while pronouncing two words in combined form, the ka becomes ga (Ga-kar-agama sandhi) and so Hale and Kannada becomes HaleGannada.


"Purava HaleGannada (Pre-old Kannada)"Recently a 5th century copper coin was discovered at Banavasi with an inscription in the Kannada script, one of the oldest such coins ever discovered.

In a report published in a Mysore Archaeological Department Report (MAR) in 1936, Krishna (Dr. M. H. Krishna, the Director of Archaeology of the erstwhile Mysore state) who discovered the inscription in 1936 dated the inscription to 450 A.D. This inscription in old-Kannada was found in Halmidi village near Hassan district. Earlier also many inscriptions having Kannada words have been found for example Brahmagiri edict of 230 BCE by Ashoka. But this is the first full scale inscription in Kannada. Kannada is used in the inscriptions from earliest times and the Halmidi inscription is considered to be the earliest epigraph written in Kannada language. [http://asi.nic.in/asi_epigraphical_sans_language.asp Language of the Inscriptions - Sanskrit and Dravidiian - Archaeological Survey of India ] ] [cite web |url=http://www.hindu.com/2006/10/31/stories/2006103108870500.htm |title=Halmidi inscription|accessdate=2006-11-29]

This inscription is generally known as the Halmidi inscription and consists of sixteen lines carved on a sandstone pillar. It has been dated to 450 AD and demonstrates that Kannada was used as a language of administration at that time. [cite web |url=http://www.hindu.com/2004/10/24/stories/2004102405080300.htm|title=Halmidi inscription proves antiquity of Kannada: Moily|accessdate=2006-11-29 |format= |work=The Hindu, Sunday, Oct 24, 2004] K.V. Ramesh, Chalukyas of Vatapi, 1984, Agam Kala Prakashan, Delhi ISBN 3987-10333 p10]

Dr K.V.Ramesh has hypothesized that, compared to possibly contemporaneous Sanksrit inscriptions, "Halmidi inscription has letters which are unsettled and uncultivated, no doubt giving an impression, or rather an illusion, even to the trained eye, that it is, in date, later than the period to which it really belongs, namely the fifth century A.D." [Harvnb|Ramesh|1984b|p=58]

The original inscription is kept in the Office of the Director of Archaeology and Museums, Govt. of Karnataka, Mysore, [Harvnb|Gai|1992|p=297] and a fibreglass replica has been installed in Halmidi. A "mantapa" to house a fibreglass replica of the original inscription has been built at Hamidi village. The Government has begun to promote the village as a place of historical interest. [ [http://www.hindu.com/2003/11/03/stories/2003110304550500.htm Halmidi village finally on the road to recognition] ]

Evidence from edicts during the time of Ashoka the Great suggests that the Kannada script and its literature were influenced by Buddhist literature. The Halmidi inscription, the earliest attested full-length inscription in the Kannada language and script, is dated to 450 CE while the earliest available literary work, the Kavirajamarga, has been dated to 850 CE. References made in the Kavirajamarga, however, prove that Kannada literature flourished in the "Chattana", "Beddande" and "Melvadu" metres during earlier centuries.Narasimhacharya (1988), pp. 12, 17.]

The 5th century Tamatekallu inscription of Chitradurga and the Chikkamagaluru inscription of 500 CE are further examples.Narasimhacharya (1988), p6] Rice (1921), p13] Govinda Pai in Bhat (1993), p102]

Halmidi Textual analysis

The inscription is in verse form indicating the authors of the inscription had a good sense of the language structure.Harvnb|Datta|1988|p=1474] The inscription is written in pre-old Kannada ("Puruvada-hala Kannada"), which later evolved into old Kannada (Halegannada), middle Kannada and eventually modern Kannada. [M. Chidananda Murthy, "Inscriptions (Kannada)" in Harvnb|Datta|1988|p=1717] The Halmidi inscription is the earliest evidence of usage of Kannada as an administrative language.harvnb|Ramesh|1984a|p=10] .


The pillar on which the inscription was written stands around convert|4|ft|m high. Its top has been carved into an arch, onto which the figure of a wheel has been carved, which is probably intended to represent the Sudarshana Chakra of Vishnu.harvnb|Khajane|2006] The following lines are carved on the front of the pillar:

1. jayati śri-pariṣvāṅga-śārṅga vyānatir-acytāḥ dānav-akṣṇōr-yugānt-āgniḥ śiṣṭānān=tu sudarśanaḥ
2. namaḥ śrīmat=kadaṁbapan=tyāga-saṁpannan kalabhōranā ari ka-
3. kustha-bhaṭṭōran=āḷe naridāviḷe-nāḍuḷ mṛgēśa-nā-
4. gēndr-ābhiḷar=bhbhaṭahar=appor śrī mṛgēśa-nāgāhvaya-
5. r=irrvar=ā baṭari-kul-āmala-vyōma-tārādhi-nāthann=aḷapa-
6. gaṇa-paśupatiy=ā dakṣiṇāpatha-bahu-śata-havan=ā-
7. havuduḷ paśupradāna-śauryyōdyama-bharitōn=dāna pa-
8. śupatiyendu pogaḷeppoṭṭaṇa paśupati-
9. nāmadhēyan=āsarakk=ella-bhaṭariyā prēmālaya-
10. sutange sēndraka-bāṇ=ōbhayadēśad=ā vīra-puruṣa-samakṣa-
11. de kēkaya-pallavaraṁ kād=eṟidu pettajayan=ā vija
12. arasange bāḷgaḻcu palmaḍiuṁ mūḷivaḷuṁ ko-
13. ṭṭār baṭāri-kuladōn=āḷa-kadamban kaḷadōn mahāpātakan
14. irvvaruṁ saḻbaṅgadar vijārasaruṁ palmaḍige kuṟu-
15. mbiḍi viṭṭār adān aḻivornge mahāpatakam svasti

The following line is carved on the pillar's left face:

16. bhaṭṭarg=ī gaḻde oḍḍali ā pattondi viṭṭārakara

Epigraphy of Halekannada (old Kannada)

While Kannada is attested epigraphically from the mid-1st millennium CE as Halmidi script of Purava HaleGannada (Pre-old Kannada), and literary Old Kannada Halekannada flourished in the 9th to 10th century Rashtrakuta Dynasty.cite web|url=http://jnanpith.net/laureates/index.html|title=Awardees detail for the Jnanpith Award|work=Official website of Bharatiya Jnanpith|publisher=Bharatiya Jnanpith|accessdate=2008-05-12]

More than 800 inscriptions are found at Shravanabelagola dating from various points during the period from 600 to 1830 CE. A large number of these are found in the Chandragiri, and the rest can be seen in the Indragiri and the town. Most of the inscriptions at the Chandragiri date back to before the 10th century. The inscriptions include text in the Kannada, Sanskrit, Tamil, Marathi, Marwari and Mahajani languages. The second volume of Epigraphia Carnatica, written by Benjamin L. Rice is dedicated to the inscriptions found here.The inscriptions that are scattered around the area of sravanabelagola are in various "Halagannada" (Old Kannada) and "Purvahalagannada" (Pre-Old Kannada) characters. Some of these inscriptions mention the rise and growth in power of Gangas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagar empire and Mysore Wodeyars. These inscriptions have immensely helped modern scholars in properly understanding the nature, growth and development of the Kannada language and its literature.

The earliest full-length Kannada copper plates in Old Kannada script (early eighth century CE) belongs to the Alupa King Aluvarasa II from Belmannu, South Kanara district and displays the double crested fish, his royal emblem.Gururaj Bhat in Kamath (2001), p97] The oldest well-preserved palm leaf manuscript is in Old Kannada and is that of Dhavala, dated to around the ninth century, preserved in the Jain Bhandar, Mudbidri, Dakshina Kannada district. [26] The manuscript contains 1478 leaves written using ink.

From the ninth to the fourteenth centuries CE, Kannada works were classified under Old Kannada. In this period Kannada showed a high level of maturity as a language of original literature.

The written Kannada language has come under various religious and social influences in its 1600 years of known existence. Linguists generally divide the written form into four broad phases.

From the ninth to fourteenth centuries CE, Kannada works were classified under "Old Kannada" ("Halegannada"). In this period Kannada showed a high level of maturity as a language of original literature.The earliest cultivators of Kannada literature were Jain scholars (Narasimhacharya 1988, p17)] Mostly Jain and Saivite poets produced works in this period. This period saw the growth of Jain "puranas" and Virashaiva "Vachana Sahitya" or simply vachana, a unique and native form of literature which was the summary of contributions from all sections of society.More than two hundred contemporary Vachana poets have been recorded (Narasimhacharya 1988, p20)] Sastri (1955), p361] Early Brahminical works also emerged from the eleventh century.Durgasimha, who wrote the "Panchatantra", and Chandraraja, who wrote the "Madanakatilaka", were early Brahmin writers in the eleventh century under Western Chalukya King Jayasimha II (Narasimhacharya 1988, p19)] By the tenth century Kannada had seen its greatest poets, such as Pampa, Sri Ponna and Ranna, and its great prose writings such as the "Vaddaradhane" of Shivakotiacharya, indicating that a considerable volume of classical prose and poetry in Kannada had come into existence a few centuries before Kavirajamarga (c.850).Sastri (1955), p355] Among existing landmarks in Kannada grammar, Nagavarma II's "Karnataka-bhashabhushana" (1145) and Kesiraja's "Shabdamanidarpana" (1260) are the oldest.Sastri (1955), p359] Narasimhacharya (1988), p19] .

Epigraphia Carnatica by B.L.Rice publihed by the Mysore Archelogy department in 12 volumes contains a study of inscriptions from 3rd century AD until the 19th century. These inscriptions belonged to different dynasties that ruled this region such as Kadambas, Western Chalukyas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagar kings, Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan and the Mysore Wodeyars. The inscriptions found were mainly written in Kannada language but some have been found to be written in languages like Tamil, Sanskrit, Telugu, Urdu and even Persian and have been preserved digitally as a CD-ROM in 2005. [ [http://www.archive.org/details/epigraphiacarnat04mysouoft Epigraphia Carnatica] ]

Information Dissemination on Halegannada

Linguist Lingadevaru Halemane announcing the launching of the lecture series in Bangalore in June 2007 on Halegannada, noted that there was documentary proof about Kannada being existent even in 250 BC, and that there were enough grounds for giving classical status to Kannada. The lecture series unveiled the indigenous wealth of the language, the stone inscriptions belonging to different periods, besides the folk and medicinal knowledge people possessed in this region in that age. This series of lectures would be extended to other parts of the state. [cite web|url = http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Jun242007/district200706249136.asp |title = Deccan Herald - Lecture series on Halegannada |accessdate = 2008-06-30]

The central Government of India formed a new category of languages called Classical languages, in 2004. Tamil was the first to be classified so.Sanskrit was added to the category a year later.The four criteria to declare Kannada as a Classical language, stated below, which are stated to be fulfilled has prompted action to seek recognition from the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) [cite web|url = http://www.viggy.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3087&whichpage=2: |title = viggy.com Kannada Film Discussion Board - exclusive platform for Kannada cinema - Why kannada deserved classical language |accessdate = 2008-06-30]

# Recorded history of over a thousand five hundred years
# High antiquity of a language's early texts
# An body of ancient literature, which is considered a valuable heritage by generation of speakers
# The literary tradition has to be original and not borrowed from another speech community and the language could be distinct from its "later and current" forms or it could be continuous. The Classical tag equates a language to all ancient languages of the world.This is a qualification that helps establishment of its research and teaching chairs in any univesristy in the world. It also provides a larger spectrum for its study and research,creates a large number of young researchers and ensures republication of out-of-print classic literature.


External links

* http://www.archive.org/details/epigraphiacarnat04mysouoft Epigraphia Carnatica] , online copy of the 1898 edition. (archive.org)

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