A Gujarati Origin for Scripts of Sumatra, Sulawesi and the Philippines

Christopher Miller

Abstract


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This paper presents evidence for a new theory that indigenous scripts of Sumatra, Sulawesi and the Philippines are descendants of an early variety of Gujarati script introduced into the archipelago, thus placing them in the Nagari group. This at first seems implausible, but the historical record attests to the major role of Gujaratis in the archipelago. Tomé Pires (Cortesão 1944) reports a thousand Gujaratis in Malacca prior to 1512, Barnes (2004) shows that Gujaratis sold printed cloths manufactured to the tastes of customers in Sulawesi and the Moluccas around this time, and Gujaratis are known to have played a major role in introducing Islam to the archipelago.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/bls.v36i1.3917