Khariboli dialect

This article is about rural dialect outside Delhi. For the standard dialect, see Hindustani language.
खड़ी बोली
کھڑی بولی
Kauravi (कौरवी)
Pronunciation kʰəɽiː boːliː
Native to India
Region Delhi, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand.
Native speakers
(240 million cited 1991–1997)[1]
Urdu alphabet, Devanagari
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None
Linguasphere 59-AAF-qd

Areas (red) where Khariboli/Kauravi is the native language

Khariboli,[2] also known as Khari Boli or simply Khari, Dehlavi, Kauravi, and Vernacular Hindustani, is the prestige dialect of Hindustani, of which Standard Hindi and Standard Urdu are standard registers and literary styles,[3] which are the principal official languages of India and Pakistan respectively.[4][5] The term "Khariboli" has, however, been used for any literary dialect, including Braj Bhasa and Awadhi. As a dialect of Hindustani, Khariboli is a part of the Western group of the Central Zone (Hindi Zone) of Indo-Aryan languages. It is spoken mainly in India in the rural area surrounding Delhi, Western Uttar Pradesh,and southern Uttarakhand.[4][6]

In academic literature, the term Kauravi (कौरवी) is sometimes applied to the specific Khari dialect spoken in the western parts of the Khari-speaking zone. Although Khariboli and Standard Hindustani differ dialectically, Standard Hindustani is sometimes also referred to as Khariboli and regarded as the literary form of that dialect.[7]

Khariboli is believed to have initially developed contemporaneously with the neighboring Awadhi and Braj dialects in the 900–1200 CE period. Khari contains some features, such as gemination, which give it a distinctive sound and differentiates it from standard Hindustani, Braj and Awadhi.

Geographical distribution

Khariboli is spoken in the rural surroundings of Delhi and northwestern Uttar Pradesh, as well as in some neighboring areas of Haryana and Uttarakhand.[6] The geography of this part of North India is traditionally described doabs.

In Haryana, the following districts are Khari-speaking:

In Uttar Pradesh, the following districts of the Yamuna-Ganges doab are Khari-speaking:

In the trans-Ganges area, it is spoken in the following districts of Rohilkhand region in Uttar Pradesh:

In Uttarakhand, the following districts of the Yamuna-Ganges doab are partially Khari-speaking:

In the trans-Ganges area, it is partially spoken in the following districts of Uttarakhand:

Khariboli in Hindustani popular culture

Khariboli is often seen as rustic by speakers of Standard Hindustani, and elements of it were used in Hum Log, India's first television soap opera, where the main family was depicted as having roots in Western Uttar Pradesh.[8][9]

As the two main Hindustani dialects of Western Uttar Pradesh and the areas surrounding Delhi, Khariboli and Braj Bhasha are often compared. One hypothesis of how Khariboli came to be described as khari (standing) asserts that it refers to the "stiff and rustic uncouthness" of the dialect compared to the "mellifluousness and soft fluency" of Braj Bhasha.[10] On the other hand, Khariboli supporters sometimes pejoratively referred to Braj Bhasha and other dialects as "Pariboli" (पड़ी बोली, پڑی بولی, fallen/supine dialects).[10]

Kauravi and Sankrityayan's proposal

Although most linguists acknowledge that Modern Standard Hindustani descended from Khariboli, the precise mechanism of dialectical changes from Khari to the prestige dialect (such as the loss of gemination which is so prevalent in Khari) lacks consensus. There are also variations within Khari itself across the area in which it is spoken. In the mid-twentieth century, Indian scholar and nationalist, Rahul Sankrityayan, proposed a redrawing of the linguistic map of the Hindustani zone.[11] Drawing a distinction between the Khari of Delhi and the Khari of the extreme western parts of Western Uttar Pradesh, he advocated that the former retain the name Khariboli while the latter be renamed to Kauravi, after the Kuru Kingdom of ancient India.[11] Although the term Khariboli continues to be applied as it traditionally was, some linguists have accepted the term Kauravi as well, applying to the language spoken in the linguistic arc running from Saharanpur to Agra (i.e. the close east and north east of Delhi).[5] Sankrityayan postulated that this Kaurvi dialect was the parent of Delhi's specific Khari dialect.[11] Sankrityayan had also advocated that all Hindustani be standardised on the Devanagari script and Perso-Arabic entirely be abandoned.[11]

Other dialects of Hindustani

Khariboli is related to four standardised registers of Hindustani: Standard Hindi, Urdu, Dakhini and Rekhta. Standard Hindi (also High Hindi, Nagari Hindi) is used as the lingua franca of Northern India (the Hindi belt), Urdu is the lingua franca of Pakistan, Dakhini is the historical literary dialect of the Deccan region, and Rekhta the court register of Urdu used in medieval poetry. These standard registers together with Sansiboli form the Hindustani dialect group. This group together with Haryanvi, Kauravi, Braj Bhasha, Kanauji and Bundeli forms the Western Hindi dialect group.

Early influences

The area around Delhi has long been the center of power in northern India, and naturally, the Khariboli dialect came to be regarded as urbane and of a higher standard than the other dialects of Hindi. This view gradually gained ground over the 19th century; before that period, other dialects such as Avadhi, Braj Bhasha and Sadhukaddi were the dialects preferred by littérateurs. Standard Hindi was first developed by the Turkish speakers of Khari boli who migrated from Delhi to the Awadh region—most notably Amir Khusrau, and mixed the roughness of the Khari boli with the relative softness of Awadhi to form a new language which they called "Hindvi." Hindvi later developed into Hindustani—which further diverged as Hindi and Urdu.

Although, as a dialect Khari boli belongs to upper Doab, however, Allahabad in lower Doab and Varanasi have been the literary centres of Khari boli in the form of standard Hindi.

Rise as the basis for Standard Hindustani

The earliest examples of Khariboli can be seen in the compositions of Amir Khusro (1253–1355).[12]

Before the rise of Khariboli, the literary dialects of Hindi were the ones adopted by the Bhakti saints: Braj Bhasha (Krishna devotees), Awadhi (adopted by the Rama devotees) and Maithili (Vaishnavites of Bihar).[12] However, after the Bhakti movement degenerated into ritualistic cults, these languages came to be regarded as rural and unrefined.[13] Khariboli, on the other hand, was spoken in the urban area surrounding the Mughal courts, where Persian was the official language. The Persian-influenced Khariboli thus gradually came to be regarded as a prestige dialect, although hardly any literary works had been written in Khariboli before the British period in India.[13]

The British administrators of India and the Christian missionaries played an important role in creation and promotion of the Khariboli-based Modern Standard Hindustani.[5] In 1800, the British East India Company established a college of higher education at Calcutta named the Fort William College. John Borthwick Gilchrist, a president of that college, encouraged his professors to write in their native tongue; some of the works thus produced were in the literary form of the Khariboli dialect. These books included Premsagar by Lallu Lal,[14] Nasiketopakhyan by Sadal Mishra; Sukhsagar by Sadasukh Lal of Delhi and Rani Ketaki Ki Kahani by Inshallah Khan. More developed forms of Khariboli can also be seen in some mediocre literature produced in early 18th century. Examples are Chand Chhand Varnan Ki Mahima by Ganga Bhatt, Yogavashishtha by Ram Prasad Niranjani, Gora Badal Ki katha by Jatmal, Mandovar Ka Varnan by Anonymous, a translation of Ravishenacharya's Jain Padmapuran by Daulat Ram (dated 1761). With the government patronage and the literary popularity, the Khariboli flourished, even as the use of previously more literary tongues such as Awadhi, Braj and Maithili declined in the literary vehicles. The literary works in Khariboli gained momentum from the second half of the 19th century onwards.[12] Gradually, in the subsequent years, Khariboli became the basis for the standard Hindustani, which began to be taught in the schools and used in the government functions.[15]

Urdu, the heavily Persianised version of Khariboli, had replaced Persian as the literary language of the North India by the early 20th century. however, the association of Urdu with the Muslims prompted the Hindus to develop their own Sanskritised version of the dialect, leading to the formation of the Modern Standard Hindi.[15] After India became independent in 1947, the Khariboli-based dialect was officially recognized as the approved version of the Hindi language, which was declared as one of the official languages of the central government functioning.

See also


  1. Standard Hindi: 180 million India (1991). Urdu: 48 million India (1997), 11 million Pakistan (1993). Ethnologue 16. (Ethnologue 17 figures for Hindi are not restricted to Khariboli Hindi.)
  2. Devanagari: खड़ी बोली, کھڑی بولی khaṛī bolī; lit. 'standing dialect'
  3. Hindustani (2005). Keith Brown, ed. Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (2 ed.). Elsevier. ISBN 0-08-044299-4.
  4. 1 2 Yamuna Kachru, Hindi, Volume 12 of London Oriental and African language library, John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2006, ISBN 978-90-272-3812-2, ... Khari Boli, the dialect spoken around Meerut and Delhi, which forms the base of modern standard Hindi ...
  5. 1 2 3 Colin P. Masica (9 September 1993). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Cambridge University Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-521-29944-2. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  6. 1 2 Syed Abdul Latif, An Outline of the cultural history of India, Oriental Books, 1979, ... Khari Boli is spoken as mother-tongue in the following areas: (1) East of the Ganges, in the districts of Rampur, Bijnor and Moradabad,Bareilly, (2) between the Ganges and the Jamuna, in the districts of Meerut, Muzaffar Nagar, Saharanpur and in the plain district of Dehradun, and (3) West of the Jamuna, in the urban areas of Delhi and Karnal and the eastern part of Ambala district ...
  7. Shabdkosh (Dictionary), Pustak, 2010, retrieved 8 January 2010, ... खड़ी बोली: स्त्री० [हिं० खड़ी+बोली] १. मेरठ, बिजनौर, मुजफ्फर नगर, सहारनपुर, अम्बाला, पटियाला के पूर्वी भागों तथा रामपुर, मुरादाबाद आदि प्रदेशों के आसपास की बोली। २. उक्त बोली का परिष्कृत, सांस्कृतिक तथा साहित्यिक रूप जिसे आजकल हिन्दी कहा जाता है। ...
  8. Arvind Singhal; Everett M. Rogers, Entertainment-education: a communication strategy for social change, Psychology Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0-8058-3350-8, ... Joshi creatively combined Khadi Boli, a much used, rustic, yet popular derivative of the Hindi language in North India, with conventional Hindi ...
  9. Shibani Roy; S. H. M. Rizvi, Dhodia identity: anthropological approach, B.R. Pub. Corp., 1985, ... The written script and spoken language of the urban folk differ from the rural dialect or khadi boli. This is unrefined and crude tongue of the rustic folks of the village ...
  10. 1 2 Alok Rai, Hindi nationalism, Orient Blackswan, 2001, ISBN 978-81-250-1979-4, ... on one account, Khari Boli was contrasted with the mellifluousness and soft fluency of Braj Bhasha: khari was understood to refer to the rustic and stiff uncouthness of Khari Boli. The protagonists of Khari Boli returned the compliment: Braj Bhasha was called pari boli – ie supine! ...
  11. 1 2 3 4 Prabhakar Machwe, Rahul Sankrityayan (Hindi Writer)Makera of Indian Literature, Sahitya Akademi, 1998, ISBN 978-81-7201-845-0, ... re0drawing of the map of Hindi-speaking areas, on the basis of the so-called dialects ... He believed that the language spoken in Meerut and Agra was the original mother of Khari boli; he called it Kauravi ... his presidential speech in the Bombay session of the Hindi Sahitya sammelan in 1948, with the strong plea to use Devanagari script for Urdu, provoked bitter controversy and many Urdu speaking Communists saw to it that Rahul was expelled from the Communist Party of India ...
  12. 1 2 3 Kloss, Heinz; McConnell, Grant D., eds. (1978). Les Langues écrites Du Monde: Relevé Du Degré Et Des Modes D'utilisation (The Written Languages of the World: A Survey of the Degree and Modes of Use). Presses Université Laval. pp. 198–199. ISBN 978-2-7637-7186-1. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  13. 1 2 Sheldon I. Pollock (19 May 2003). Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia. University of California Press. p. 984. ISBN 978-0-520-22821-4. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  14. Premsagar, English translation online
  15. 1 2 John Joseph Gumperz (1971). Language in Social Groups. Stanford University Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8047-0798-5. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
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