Have ever heard about the Sharada Script? The script that stands on the verge of extinction , now seeks its right for revival! Sharada script is believed to be about 1800 years old and holds much importance than it is given at present.
Back in 2017, researchers at Oxford university made some exciting and interesting inferences from a manuscript containing the earliest references to the number ‘zero’. This manuscript was found to be 500 years older than previously considered.
This script, known as Bakhshali, was known to contain important and advanced mathematical concepts including geometric progression, algebra, quadratic equations etc.
Bakhshali script is currently at Bodleian Library of Oxford University and has proofs of its existence right from the 3rd century A.D. To add a little piece of information, the still surviving piece is incomplete with 70 leaves of birch bark.
This fact goes unnoticed that, the age of bakhshali gives us enough proof about the knowledge of ancients about the number ‘zero’ in India.
Now what exactly awes us is , that the manuscript Bakhshali was written in Sharada script. Yes , now you see that considering how old is the manuscript itself, the prevalence of Sharada goes back by more than 500 years! We have had coins that belonged to Hindu Shahi Kings of Kabul, (7 A.D.) engraved in Sharada. Numerous hindu deities excavated from Afghanistan have found to be containing the Sharada inscriptions.
When the oldest scripts of the sub-continent, known as Brahmi and kharoshti began seeing its fall, it was Sharada that became the preferred script for writing Sanskrit in the NorthWestern part of Indian Sub continent.
Soon, when the Kashmiri language began emerging , Sharada script got adopted as the official and the standard way to write Kashmiri. Also, goddess Saraswati the pioneer of purity and knowledge became the patron deity of Kashmir, making Kashmir a renowned centre of learning all over Asia.
It is also known that in 16th century, Guru Angad Dev, adopted this script to formulate the Gurumukhi alphabet.
It is also known that when Buddhism spread in the adjoining regions of Tibet, writing mantras and requirement to preserve Sanskrit text was inappropriate in Chinese language. Consequently monks were sent to India, where they learned the script from Kashmir. It is found in some sources that, it later helped those monks in creating Tibetan alphabet.
However ,Sharada script saw its fall after the Islamic invasion in Kashmir, and hasn’t seen its rise and revival since then. It has been the bearer of the prestigious culture of India and deserves much,much more attention. Today , however there a few kashmiri pandits who have the knowledge and are trying continuously to propagate amongst everyone!
Some short amazing facts:
- The other name for this script is Siddha Matrika.
- There are thirty-four consonant letters, carrying the vowel sound a. The vowel can be subsided keeping one of the thirteen vowel to the consonant letter.
- Type- Abugida
- Languages: Sanskrit, Kashmiri
- Time period 300 CE –present (almost extinct)
- Direction Left-to-right