Native toIndia
RegionKashmir Valley
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)

Sheikhgal or Watali is an unclassified Indo-Aryan language[1] of Jammu and Kashmir, India. Its speakers, the formerly nomadic Watals,[2] are found throughout Kashmir, particularly in the districts of Srinagar (Parimpora, Nowhatta, Dargah, Natipora, Hawal), Baramulla (Bandipora, Khawja Bagh, Sopore and Tangmarg), Pulwama (Lolaab and Lassipora) and Kupwara (Kanthpora, Kulgam, Haihama, Magam, Handwara, Tarathpora).[3] Among its speakers the language is also known as Opedigal or Phiri kathi.[4]

Although attitudes towards the language are generally negative,[5] the community is compact[6] and Sheikhgal is the dominant language within the home.[7] However, in other domains (market, workplace etc.) the language of wider communication Kashmiri is the preferred choice, even with other speakers of Sheikhgal.[8] Within the family, there is a slight shift away from using Sheikhgal (85% of those interviewed by Mullick speak Sheikhgal with their spouses but only 69% do so with their children).[9]


  1. ^ Safdar 2014, p. 280.
  2. ^ Safdar 2014, p. 279.
  3. ^ Mullick 2003, pp. 11–12; Safdar 2014, p. 279
  4. ^ Mullick 2003, p. 11.
  5. ^ Mullick 2003, p. 66.
  6. ^ Safdar 2014, p. 280; Mullick 2003, p. 91
  7. ^ Mullick 2003, pp. 81–2.
  8. ^ Mullick 2003, pp. 84–85.
  9. ^ Mullick 2003, p. 81. see also comment on p. 93.


Further reading