Kannada emerged as an independent language in the 9th century. It is spoken by 65% of the population of Karnataka. Kannada is almost as old as Tamil, the truest of the Dravidian family. Initially the area of the Kannada speech extended much further to the north than present Karnataka, but was pushed back by the Aryan Marathi. The early (pre 800AD) bits and pieces of Kannada literature are insufficient to lay claims to the literatureâ€™s origins. The oldest extant book is king Nripatungaâ€™s literary critique Kavi Raja Marga (circa 840). Jainism being a popular religion at the time, there were some Jaina poets like Srivijaya and Guna Varman I.