Paharis of Chenab valley looking for Pahari Speaking Status
Bhalesi, Bhaderwahi, Padri, Sarazi, Pogali, Deswali, Khah, Gaddi being Pahari Speaking dialects need inclusion
Sadaket Ali Malik // VoM News 24×7
The Pahari’s are by no means the people living in the hilly regions, but the people whose language is mountainous, their unique culture, way of life. The Pahari is an umbrella term and under it there is a hierarchy of dialects. Pahari was also listed in the 6th schedule of Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. Whenever a Pahari is mentioned, most of the people in argue that it means everyone who is living in a mountainous area, but this is not the case at all. Pahari is an ethnolinguistics way of folklore.
Linguists have divided the Pahari language into three major catagories :
This branch of the Eastern Pahari language is spoken in a vast region as far as Nepal. The locals call it “Khashura”.
This branch of the Central Pahari Language is spoken in the Garhwal area of Uttarakhand. The locals call it “Gurwali and Komoni”.
This branch of the western Pahari language is spoken in the upper parts of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu Division’s Bhalessa, Bhaderwah, Paddar, Saraz, Ramban, Pogal puristan, other areas of western pahari are Pakistan occupied Kashmir, Pothohar Plateau, Murree, Jhelum, Hazara and Peshawar.
Central Pahari is a sub-dialect of Punjabi language, while Eastern Pahari dialect is a mixture of Pothohari dialect due to its similarity to Pothohari area, while Western Pahari dialect is a sub-dialect of Punjabi language due to its similarity to Dogri area. Is a mixture of Dogri accent.
There are many pahari speaking people of Doda, Ramban and Kishtwar districts who are yet to be identified, surveyed, legalised under certain provisions of the government like Inclusion in 8th schedule, majority of Pahari endangered dialects like Bhalesi, Bhaderwahi, Paddri, Sarazi, Pogali, Gaddi are mentioned in the first linguistic survey of India conducted by G A Grierson. These dialects come under the manifold of Western Pahari classification as elucidated by Grierson and other Linguists like Ghraham Belley and Patterhook. The Government of Jammu and kashmir documents like [District Doda at a Glance 2016-17 Page 5] mentioned these dialects as Pahari. The pahari Speaking people are a specific class that has a distinct culture, way of life and customs, and the most distinctive feature of this group is that it speaks a pahari language, not every human being who speaks the dimensions of the state. If I live in the mountains, it will be called Pahari. The identity of this class is similar to the way Gujarati speakers are called Gujjar, Kashmiri speakers are called Kashmiri, Dogri speakers are called Dogra and Ladakhi speakers are called Ladakhi, Bhalessi speakers are called Bhalesi, Bhaderwahi speakers are called Bhaderwahi, Padri speakers are called Paddri, the people inhibiting in Saraz are Sarazi, and Paharis of Pogal Puristan and Ramban District are speakers of Pogali, Gaddi (pastoral dialects are speakees of Gaddi dialect) spoken in Bhaderwah and Bani Billawar areas.
Bhalesi Dialect :
Bhalesi has its own Rich words and plathora of grammer. It is listed in the First linguistic survey of India volume IX. Bhalesi dialect has some similiarities with Bhaderwahi but has its own distinct phonology. Bhalesi is widely mentioned in the studies conducted by P K Kaul, Petterhook and Ghram belley. The people belonging to Bhalessa (Gandoh Bhalessa, Chilly Pingal, Jitota, Neeli, Bathri Changa, Khaljugasar, Alni Gingota, Basnota, and Kahara Tehsils speak Bhalesi and it is evident that its people are pahari speaking People (PSP).
However, Bhalesi comes under the umbrella of Indo Aryan languages and are enjoying the same right as provided to the himachili, Pothwari, Kangri and others. The unique feature of Bhalesi pahari language is that it is spoken by all the communities i.e both Hindus and Muslims so it is a link language between the two communities. Bhalesi practice distinct Pahari Culture and are more closely related to the Pahari languages spoken in Himachal Pradesh and Bhaderwahi.
The Bhalesi dialect is surrounded by the other pahari languages like Chinali, Pangwali and Chambeali to the south east, Padri to the north east, Sarazi to the west and Bhaderwahi respectively to south.
The Bhaderwahi and Bhalesi differs in the area of preponderance of diphthongs, the dropping of /l/ between vowels, for example in Bhalesi we pronounce black as /Kalo/ in comparison to Bhaderwah we call it /Kao/.
Bhalesi is spoken in trio tehsils of Gandoh, Chilly pingal and Kahara and some parts of Thathri sub division. The trio tehsils of Bhalessa sub division enjoying distinct cultural and ethno linguistic identity and common language features. The Pahari Speaking People of Bhalessa are both the communities and both csn speak this language well. Since Bhalesi is a lingua franca of Bhalessa.
The common feature of cultural heritage of Bhalessa includes sharing of
common brotherhood The area is having mixed culture. Besides Pahari Bhslesi, people are speaking several other dialects, viz Mixed Kashmiri, Gojri. The Bhalesi is a common and linked language of the area. “Kod” is a popular cultural festival celebrated in Bhalessa. Kod and its own folklore. Other festivals are “Panyaou” “kanchoth” “Basow” “Dikhneen””Malchay” “Rang”, Bheja Mela of Beerdevsthan is the Biggest Night mela of District Doda held at Bheja Bhalessa besides Kalgoni Mela. Gujjar and Bakarwals are nomads.Like the Guddies they come down to plain and barren areas of Punjab during winter. During summer they go deep in the mountainous valley of Bhalessa. The Bhalesi has rich words dictionary of its own and can be groomed so as to overcome from the list of definetely endangered status. Its Pahari Shape and family need to be retained and its script need to be revived.
Bhaderwahi is another rich language and has a distinction of being a Pahari Speaking Dialect of Bhaderwah and its adjoining villages. The language comes under western Pahari classification as classified by first linguistic survey of India conducted in 1919. This pahari Speaking dialects is spoken by all the communities.
G.A. Grierson (1919) has elucidated Bhaderwahi and Bhalesi morphology.
Koul (2014) has given some of the common linguistic features of Bhaderwahi with the other dialects of western Pahari. He also talks about the influence of other languages like Dardic, Munda, Dravidian, Sanskrit, Prakrit and Hindi on Bhaderwahi.
Bhaderwahi has its own grammar and is spoken in Bhaderwah tehsil of Doda District. Bhaderwah is a region popularly known as Chota kashmir and is known for its beauty throughout the country. Bhaderwahi songs, and literature is seen developing. Bhaderwahi is a lingua fransca of Bhaderwah and is spoken in every household.
A rich dialect and having palethora of words is spoken in Saraz region of Doda upto the Dhar of Ramban area. It is a wide area where Sarazi is spoken. As per the First linguistic survey of India Sarazi too is a pahari speaking dialect spoken by varying communities. The language has been a source of amity among the people of all the communities. It has rich words and comes under western pahari classification. As per the census records of 2011, the population of Saraz is 1,79,014. Muslims comprise 51 per cent of the population and Hindus 49 per cent. About 90 per cent of the population is rural. Both the communities speak this Pahari dialect (Sarazi) as first language besides other languages like Kashmiri, watali, Deswali in dessa area.
Sarazi has its own grammer and is a lingua fransca of Saraz region. It shares some features with Bhaderwahi and Kashmiri as well. Going by most of the arguments and evidences presented so far (Kaul 1977; Kogan 2012), Sarazi should be classed as a Western Pahari language. It would still make a very aberrant member of the group. Bailey (1908), who first documented Sarazi, classified it the same way.
Grierson (1919) elucidated a clear sketch of Sarazi in Linguistic Survey of India (1903-1928), classified it as a dialect of Kashmiri admitting that it could equally be classified as a Western Pahari language.
Among all the neighbouring languages, Sarazi shares the highest per cent of its vocabulary with Bhaderwahi (A western pahari dialect) since it is subsumed that Sarazi as western Pahari and (Pahari speaking language spoken in Doda and its interior areas. Sarazi being a Western pahari has a lexical similiarities with Bhaderwahi, Bhalessi and Padri too. Since it can more be a Pahari as classified by the Grierson in the first linguistic survey of India. The other linguists also termed Sarazi as a part of western pahari family. It is worthwhile to.mention here that Sarazi has been termed as definetly endangered dialect by UNESCO as there has been no literature development or non inclusion of this dialect under certain provisions viz a voz revival of its script.
Padri dialect :
Padri dialect is a part of dialect chain of Bhaderwahi-Bhalesi-Padri (Grierson 1919 in linguistic survey of India). Padri is too a rich dialect spoken in saffron valley of Padder. It is a dialect spoken by varying communities of Padder area of Kishtwar district and has a rich words and grammer. Padder is a area where Ist World peace conference was held. The area is producing rich quantity of saffron and is playing a pivotal role in advancement of the economy.The number of speakers, as of the 1981 census, stood at 10,000. Now the number is quite mashrooming.
Padri as per the linguists like Kaul share similarities with the other western pahari dialects like Bhaderwahi and Sarazi. Padri has a rich grammer and its phonology need to be revived. Padri is a lingua fransa of Padder – a saffron valley. Padder is touching its borders with Pangi (Himachal Pradesh), Zanskar valley of Ladakh & Marwah-Wadwan Valley. Padri dialect as an offshoot of westen pahari has been kept under vulnerable category of languages in 2014 by Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India.
As per the survey conducted in 2015 by scholars of Department of linguistic studies, University of Kashmir, it was found that 70% of the population speak in Padri at home while rest communicates in dominant and other specific languages. It is quite clear that there is significant decrease in percentage of its use. It is evident that Padri dialect is heading towards extinction. The dialect need a fleeting attention.
Poguli is an unparallel language. It is spoken in Pogal paristan area of district Ramban and has a rich phonological and lexical features. It has similarities with western Pahari and kashmiri. A link language of pahari and Kashmiri. Several linguists termed it as Pahari and comes under the offshoot of Western Pahari. The poguli has a close lexical similarities with other western pahari dislects. It is a pahari speaking dialect and is spoken by most of the people in Tehsil Banihal. Poguli is intermediate between Kashmiri and Western Pahari as per several surveys and studies. Besides its lexical similarities with Kashmiri it is spoken by the people inhibiting in the hilly areas of Pogal Paristan. It is sorrounded by area of Sarazi and Bhaderwahi (western pahari offshoot of indo aryan family).
It has a rich literature, idioms and phrases. Poguli is listed in the First linguistic survey of India conducted by the then british ICS officer, George Grerison. Poguli is neither an offshoot of any tribe nor is it contrary to other literature of tribes. The slur misconceptions about it is disagreed by the linguists and scholars.
Deswali Dialect :
Spoken in Dessa area of Doda, it also termed as Pahari dialect. The dialect has a close lexical similarities with Sarazi a child dialect of western pahari.
Tribal Dialect of Khasha (Khasas) :
As per the records, the Khasas are the true inhabitants of Banshala (Present day Banihal) it is believed that in ancient era the Khasa An ancient tribe named Khasha or Khasa is mentioned in several ancient legendary Indian texts, including the Mahabharata. The Khasas are mentioned in several Indian inscriptions dated between 8th and 13th centuries CE1. In Banihal area some people are representing this dialect of Khah and are terming themselves as speakers of it. It is learnt that Khasha (Khah) is a tribal dialect spoken by the ancient Rajas. There is a growing misconception between the scholars. The fact that poguli has its distinct place in hidtorical studies like LSI and cant be treated as a part of Khah dialect. Some people are veering for a common language for these areas at the cost of eachother. Since it is to mention here that khashas were warriers. In his papers Late Moti Lal Saqi wrote that the native place of Khasha Tribes was between Banshala (present Banihal) and Rajapuri (present Rajouri) that is Budhal area. Khashas were great warriors of the outer hills of Kashmir. Since some people pleading for the cause of Khashas are true in this sense. The linguistic survey of India asserted it in its volume 9 Part 4 General introduction has a mention about the Khasa (Khasha) as inhabitants of Banshala (Present day banihal) since the claim of Khah (Khasha) for giving it ST status or tribal language status is genuine historically. Grierson in his Volume 9 part 4 has elucidated the passages of Rajtarangni and termed Khashas as inhabitants of this area. It is to mention here that both the poguli and khasha has a seprate mention and both are enjoying distinct place in historical studies. Both are independent in nature and both need to be groomed. Khasas being a tribal dialect need to be brought under the Tribal status whereas the poguli having distinct literature need to be revived under western pahari. Literature cant die, it has a distinct features of its own and has no comparison. Since the tribal status for khasha is genuine. The Khasha is unparallel owing to its distinct historical importance.
Gaddi dialect : Gaddi
Gadi dialect comes under the western pahari classification. It is mainly spoken in Bharmour Chamba and the Bhaderwah, Bani Billawar area of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a pestoral dialect/ tribal dialect too. The UNESCO in its documents has kept the Gadi dialect under definently endengered dialect. It hasnt got tribal or pahari status yet. Gaddi language is very beautiful, typical and unique in itself. Gaddi is widely spoken and it’s the mother-tongue of people of not only from Gaddi community but that of other casts including Sippi, Gaddi-Brahmin, and Rehaade living in Upper reaches of Kathua, Udhampur, Reasi, Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar Districts of Jammu region. It spoken widely in Bhaderwah. Since its preservation is imperative either to grant it a pahari or Tribal status.
To conclude, it is said that the entire erstwhile Doda (Doda, Ramban, Kishtwar) and even other districts like Udhampur, Kathua and Reasi are originally Pahari’s. The historical evidences shows that Bhalesi, Bhaderwahi, Padri, Sarazi, Pogali, Khah, Gaddi are either pahari offshoots or the tribes. Owing to the rich words idioms, phrases, vowels, consonants, phonology these dialects are totally ignored and it is evident from the history that the people speaking these dialects are Pahari Speaking. These dialects are heading towards extinction and need inclusion, pahari status, and scheduled language status, promotion and revival of their scripts and literature at large. Government need to frame a committee to gauge the legality of these dialects by assigning a fresh task to J&K Pahari Speaking Board for the conduct for fresh census afresh so as to do justice with the people. The Jammu and Kashmir reservation rules need to be amended at this juncture.
Sadaket Malik is Founder/ Secretary of Pahari Core Committee ( Centre for Study of indegenous Culture J&K and can be contacted at 7006432002.