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(Editor, Compiler, Author and Translator Dr. PADMA SUDHI)
An important aspect of Indian folk-literature can be found in its proverbs. They are the shortest expressions of long experience of practical life, and as the practical experience of a worldly man is the same almost everywhere, the proverbs have a uniform character both in for any ideas. Clothed in poetic language sometimes in short prove sentences also, these are in most cases satirical and replete with puns. Although they embody experience of day-to-day practical life, they are not without literary flavor.
The credit for the collection of proverbs in Indian languages goes to the Christian missionaries. In order to learn the languages of the soil, they made, attempts to collect the proverbs of different regions and had been editing and publishing them in the form as of dictionaries from the beginning of the last century even before any other element of Indian folk-literature came out in print. As early as 1824 T. Rosdbuck published in Calcutta Languages. In 1832 Drstanta-Vakya Sarigraha, a collection of proverbs, Bengali and Sanskrit with their translation and application in English, was published in Calcutta by Rev.W.Morton, senior missionary of the incorporated society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts, lot contained 803 Bengali and seventy two Sanskrit Proverbs. This is the first record compilation and publication of proverbs in an Indian languages. The Christian missionaries continue to present similar collections from different parts of India and, as a result, a number of collection appeared in the course of half century. The first collection of Tamil Proverbs was madce earlier than 1874 , because the second edition of Tamil Proverbs by P. Percival was published in Madras in 1874. A collection of Punjabi proverbs was made for the first time by R.G. Temple in his article some Punjabi and other Proverbs published in Folkore, Vol. II (London, 1883). Telugu and Sanskrit proverbs printed in London in 1968. A collection of proverbs from Kashmir was brought out for the first time in 1985 in Bombay by J.H.Knowles in his A Dictionary of Kashmiri Proverbs and Sayings. The first collection of Sindhi proverbs was made by an Indian, Rochiram Gajumal, in his A Handbook of Sindhi Proverbs published in Karachi in 1895. The book was issued in two parts; one contained about 500 Sindhi proverbs with their English equivalents, while the other contained about 250 Sindhi proverbs which had no English English equivalents as such, but their translations were made by the complier himself. A collection of Marathi proverbs was made by A. Manwaring in his Marathi Proverbs published in Oxford in 1899. It is, however, not known whether this was the first collect ion of Marathi proverbs.
It was only in the twentieth century that the attention of Indian scholars was drawn to the collection and preservation of proverbs in the regional languages and due to their efforts the number of proverbs on record has increased in every State. About 13,000 proverbs have been collected in Bengali so far. The actual number of Hindi proverbs published may be much greater. The use of proverbs and idioms enriches the style of writing, but today it has become rare in most of the regional languages. Proverbs are now preserved only in the memory of illiterate womenfolk in general or in the pages of dictionaries.
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