The word "Bagheli" written in Devanagari script
Native toIndia
Native speakers
2,694,964 (2011 census)[1]
Census results conflate some speakers with Hindi.[2]
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
bfy – Bagheli
pwr – Powari
Glottologbagh1251  Bagheli
powa1246  Powari
Baghelkhand region where Bagheli is spoken

Bagheli (Devanagari: बघेली) or Baghelkhandi is a Central Indo-Aryan language spoken in the Baghelkhand region of central India.


A language belonging to the Eastern Hindi subgroup, Bagheli is one of the languages designated as a 'dialect of Hindi' by the Indian Census Report of 2011. Bagheli is a regional language used for intra-group and inter-group communication.

George Abraham Grierson in his Linguistic Survey of India[3] classified Bagheli under Eastern Hindi. The extensive research conducted by local specialist Dr. Bhagawati Prasad Shukla is commensurate with Grierson's classification. Ethnologue cites Godwani, Kumhari and Rewa as dialects of Bagheli. According to Shukla, the Bagheli language has three varieties:

  1. Pure Bagheli
  2. West-Mixed Bagheli
  3. Southern-Broken Bagheli

Like many other Indo-Aryan languages, it has often been subject to erroneous, arbitrary, or politically-motivated designation as a dialect, instead of a language. Furthermore, as is the case with other Hindi languages, Bagheli speakers have been conflated with those of Standard Hindi in censuses.

Geographical distribution

Bagheli is primarily spoken in the Rewa, Satna, Sidhi, Singrauli, Shahdol, Umaria, Anuppur, Katni districts of Madhya Pradesh and in some parts of Prayagraj and Chitrakoot districts of Uttar Pradesh and also Baikunthpur of Madhya Pradesh.[citation needed]

Popular culture

The Pao, a scheduled tribe also known as the Pabra, speak Bagheli as their first language. Their language was mistakenly reported to be Tibeto-Burman by Ethnologue, perhaps due to confusion with the Pao language of Burma.[4]

There are several radio and TV programmes in Bagheli. All India Radio is broadcasting Bagheli songs and agricultural programmes from Shahdol, Rewa and Bhopal. Furthermore, courses pertaining to Bagheli literature are available to be studied at Awadhesh Pratap Singh University, Rewa.

Devi Bhajan in Bagheli language

Further reading


  1. ^ "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues - 2011". Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Census of India: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues –2001".
  3. ^ "The Record News".
  4. ^ "ISO change request" (PDF).