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Assamese language


The Assamese script (অসমীয়া লিপি Ôxômiya Lipi)[1] is a writing system of the Assamese language. It used to be the script of choice in the Brahmaputra valley for Sanskrit as well as other languages such as Bodo (now Devanagari), Khasi (now Roman), Mising (now Roman) etc. The current form of the script has seen continuous development from the 5th-century Umachal/Nagajari-kanikargaon rock inscriptions written in an eastern variety of the Gupta script, adopting significant traits from the Siddham Script along the way. By the 17th century three styles of Assamese script could be identified (baminiya, kaitheli and garhgaya)[2] that converged to the standard script following typesetting required for printing. The present standard is identical to the Bengali script except for three letters. Buranjis were written during Ahom dynasties in Assamese language using Assamese script. The earliest evidence of Assamese script is found in the Charyapada, the Buddhist songs. They are supposed to have been composed within a time-frame of four hundred years from 8th century AD to 12th century AD. In the 14th century Madhava Kandali used Assamese script to compose the famous Kotha Ramayana which is the first translation of Ramayana in a regional Indian language after Valmiki Ramayana in Sanskrit. Later, Srimanta Sankardeva used it in the 15th and 16th centuries to compose his oeuvre in Assamese and Brajavali the language of the Bhakti poems ( Borgeets) and Dramas (Ankiya naat). A coin with Assamese script from Ahom dynasty The Ahom king Chakradwaj Singha, (1663–1670 AD) was the first ruler who started issuing Assamese coins for his kingdom (see figure for a sample coin). Similar script with minor differences are used to write Maithili, Bengali, Manipuri and Sylheti language.