Native toIndia
RegionDelhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (Rohilkhand), Rajasthan, Uttarakhand
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Khariboli Dialect Area in the northern subcontinent

Kauravi (Hindi: कौरवी, Urdu: کَوروی), also known as Khaṛībolī, is a Western Hindi dialect descended from Shauraseni Prakrit that is mainly spoken in Northwestern Uttar Pradesh.

Modern Hindi and Urdu are two standard registers of Hindustani, descending from a subdialect of Khaṛībolī spoken in Dehli called Dehlavi. Dehlavi, also called Hindavi (now Hindustani) gained prestige when it was accepted along with Persian as a language of the courts. Before that, it was only a language the Persianate states (like Delhi Sultanate) spoke to their subjects in, and later as a sociolect of the same ruling classes.[1]

Modern Kauravi contains some features, such as gemination, which give it a distinctive sound and differentiates it from Braj and Awadhi. An early form of Kauravi became the main basis of Old Hindi, which subsequently developed into Hindustani and then into today's Hindi and Urdu registers.[2][3]

Geographical distribution

Khariboli is spoken in the rural surroundings of Delhi and northwestern Uttar Pradesh, as well as in some neighbouring areas of Haryana and Uttarakhand.[4] The geography of this part of North India is traditionally described as 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.[5][6]

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.[7] On the other hand, Khariboli supporters sometimes pejoratively referred to Braj Bhasha and other dialects as Pariboli (Hindi: पड़ी बोली, Urdu: پڑی بولی, lit.'fallen/supine dialects').[7]

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.[8] Drawing a distinction between the Khari of Old 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.[8] 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 northeast of Old Delhi).[9] Sankrityayan postulated that this Kaurvi dialect was the parent of Old Delhi's specific Khari dialect.[8] Sankrityayan had also advocated that all Hindustani be standardized on the Devanagari script and Perso-Arabic entirely is abandoned.[8]

Other dialects of Hindustani

Khariboli is related to four registers of Hindustani, the lingua franca of northern India and Pakistan: Standard Hindi, Standard Urdu, Dakhini and Rekhta. Standard Hindi (also High Hindi, Manak Hindi) is the language of the government and is one of the official languages of India, Standard Urdu is the state language and national language of Pakistan, Dakhini is the historical literary dialect of the Deccan region, and Rekhta the "mixed" Hindustani of medieval poetry.[10] These registers, together with Sansiboli, form the Hindustani dialect group. This group, together with Braj Bhasha, Kanauji and Bundeli, forms the Western dialect set of Hindi languages.

Early influences

The area around Delhi has long been the center of power in northern India, and naturally, the Khari Boli 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 Awadhi, Braj Bhasha, and Sadhukaddi were the dialects preferred by littérateurs. Standard Hindustani first developed with the migration of Persian Khari Boli speakers from Delhi to the Awadh region—most notably Amir Khusro, mixing the 'roughness' of Khari Boli with the relative 'softness' of Awadhi to form a new language which they called "Hindavi." This also became referred to as Hindustani, which subsequently diverged into Hindi and Urdu.

Although as a dialect, Khari Boli belongs to the Upper Doab, "Hindavi" developed in the cultural spheres of Allahabad and Varanasi.

Rise as the basis for Standard Hindustani

The earliest examples of Khariboli can be seen in the compositions of Amir Khusro (1253–1325).[11]

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).[11] However, after the Bhakti movement became ritualistic, these languages came to be regarded as rural and unrefined.[12] 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.[12]

The British administrators of India and the Christian missionaries played an important role in the creation and promotion of the Khariboli-based Modern Standard Hindustani.[9] 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,[13] 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 the 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 government patronage and 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.[11] A prominent Indian historian Raja Sivaprasad was a promoter of the Hindi language, in particular the Khariboli version. Gradually, in the subsequent years, Khariboli became the basis for standard Hindustani, which began to be taught in schools and used in government functions.[14]

Urdu, the heavily Persianised version of Khariboli, replaced Persian as the official language of local administration in North India in the early 19th century. However, the association of Urdu with the Muslims prompted Hindus to develop their own Sanskritised version of the dialect, leading to the formation of Modern Standard Hindi.[14] After India became independent in 1947, the Khariboli-based dialect was officially recognised as the approved version of the Hindi language, which was declared as one of the official languages for central government functioning.

See also


  1. ^ Muzaffar, Alam (1998). "The pursuit of Persian: Language in Mughal Politics". Cambridge University Press. 32 (2): 317–349.
  2. ^ Masica, Colin P. (2007). Old and New Perspectives on South Asian Languages: Grammar and Semantics. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. p. 51. ISBN 978-81-208-3208-4. Braj and Awadhi in early and middle stages preserve old case endings -hi, etc, while Khari Boli (Old Hindi) and Dakkhini seem to have lost these endings in the Apabhramsa period.
  3. ^ Matthews, David John; Shackle, C.; Husain, Shahanara (1985). Urdu literature. Urdu Markaz; Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies. ISBN 978-0-907962-30-4. But with the establishment of Muslim rule in Delhi, it was the Old Hindi of this area which came to form the major partner with Persian. This variety of Hindi is called Khari Boli, 'the upright speech'.
  4. ^ Syed Abdul Latif (1958), 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, Azamgarh, Varanasi, May, 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 ...
  5. ^ Arvind Singhal; Everett M. Rogers (1999), Entertainment-education: a communication strategy for social change, Psychology Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0-8058-3350-8, ... Joshi creatively combined Khari Boli, a much-used, rustic, yet popular derivative of the Hindi language in North India, with conventional Hindi ...[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Shibani Roy; S. H. M. Rizvi (1985), Dhodia identity: anthropological approach, B.R. Pub. Corp., 1985, ISBN 9780865907447, ... The written script and spoken language of the urban folk differ from the rural dialect or khari boli. This is the unrefined and crude tongue of the rustic folks of the village ...
  7. ^ a b Alok Rai (2001), 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! ...
  8. ^ a b c d Prabhakar Machwe (1998), Rahul Sankrityayan (Hindi Writer)Makera of Indian Literature, Sahitya Akademi, 1998, ISBN 978-81-7201-845-0, ... re-drawing 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 ...
  9. ^ a b 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.
  10. ^ "Rekhta:Poetry in Mixed Language" (PDF). www.columbia.edu. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  11. ^ a b c 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.
  12. ^ a b 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.
  13. ^ "Lallu Lal (Lallu Lal, 1763–1825) | The Online Books Page". onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  14. ^ a b John Joseph Gumperz (1971). Language in Social Groups. Stanford University Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8047-0798-5. Retrieved 26 June 2012.