Friday, February 11, 2011

The Dogri Language - by Ved Kumari Ghai Part-1

The Dogri Language
- by Ved Kumari Ghai Part-1

Dogri - the language of the Dogras is spoken in the region which includes parts of three States, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and undivided Punjab. The whole of Jammu Province south of Pir Panjal, some parts of Himachal Pradesh, viz. Kangra, Chamba, Kullu, Mandi, Suket, some parts of Punjab viz. Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Nurpur, Hoshiarpur and some parts of Pakistan, viz. Shakargarh tehsil of Sialkot comprise the area of Dogri language (Ghai 1965, Shivanath 1976). John Beams including Dogri in the group of eleven Indian languages gives its area as lying between the Punjab and the valley of Kashmir. (Outlines of Indian Philology, p. 11). According to Professor Gauri Shankar, three terrains form the Dogra region, Kandi (the lower hills), Andarwah (riverine region lying in the plains) and Pahari (mountaineous region) (Gauri Shankar 1981). Dogri is a feminine form of the word Dogra which is a tribal name signifying the people of Duggar. Various views have been expressed about the origin of the word Duggar from Dvigarta (Gauri Shankar, 1981), Durgaha (H.R. Divakar 1970), Dungar (Prashant, Research Bi-annual Vol. 1, pp. 7174) and Durga (Gauri Shankar 1981, Shivanath 1976). The last one corroborated by a Chamba copper plate inscription of the eleventh century (Vogll, 1911, p. 183) seems to be the most plausible. 

In the census of 1961 the number of the Dogri speakers of Jammu is given as 8,69,199. The number has gone upto 15 lacs in the census of 1981 (Dogri Shodh p. 3) but this does not include the speakers of various other dialects which come under Western Pahari. Taking all these dialects together the Dogri speakers number approximately fifty lacs. 


The earliest known mention of Dogri language is found in Amir Khusru's list of Indian languages-Sindhi, Lahauri, Kashmiri, Dogri, Dhursamundari, Tilangi, Gujarati, Malbari, Gaudi Bengali, Awadhi and Dehalavi. As Amir Khusru lived from 1253 to 1325 AD, the existence of Dogri language earlier to 13th century is proved. Inscriptions dating from 12th century AD contain Dogri expressions (See Dogri Inscriptions by Shivnath. 1976. pp. 52-55) and R.N. Shastri's Dogri Shodh. 1981. pp 40ff) refer to some sanads, letters, agreements and title deeds written in Takri script and Dogri language dating from 1750 AD to 1860 AD. The earliest extant Dogri work is Rajauli, a Dogri translation by Tehaldas from the original Persian work by Bali Ram. The work was translated for Raja Dhyan Singh of Kotla in the latter half of 18th century AD (Gauri Shankar, Sapta Sindha. 1972), Rev. Carey mentioned Dogri in his list of Indian languages in 1916. A Dogri translation of the New Testament is said to have been published by Christian missionaries of Sirampur. A few pieces of Dogri poetry of Dattu of second half of 18th century and of Rudradatta, Ganga Ram and Lakkhu of the 19th century are available. Jyotishi Vishveshar translated Lilavati, a Sanskrit work on Mathematics into Dogri in 1873 AD. It was in the 20th century that Dogri writing showed a quick growth in various fields of poetry, prose, novels, short stories, plays etc. 

Dogri belongs to the Indo European family of languages in India and is derived from Sauraseni Prakrit. (Gauri Shankar 1981, B.K. Shastri 1981). Vocabulary of Dogri is largely derived from Sanskrit but it has absorbed a large number of Arabic, Persian and English words, e.g., asar (effect) araj (request), tariff (praise) are Arabic; Kos'as' (effort), gajaa (subsisting) nagarani (inspection) are derived from Persian; tagma (medal) bahadar (brave) are of Turkish origin; afasar, injan, pulas, faisan, taim etc. are from English words-officer, engine, police, fashion, time etc. 


Grierson describes Dogri as a dialect of Punjabi and Kandyali, Kangra and Cameali as its three sub-dialects. (Linguistic Survey of India Vol. IX Part I). Some Punjabi writers like Ujjal Singh Bahri (Punjabi Ate O'tar Bharati Bhashavan, p. 91), Piara Singh Padam (Punjabi Bhasadi vadiai p. 107), Harpirat Singh (Punjabi dia upa bhas ava to upabolia in Punjabi Dunia Dec. 1978. p. 58) have expressed a similar opinion, but the veteran linguist Dr. Siddheshwar Verma has pointed out that Dogri is structurally an independent language (Namcetana Oct.-Dec. 1967) and not a dialect of any other language. Shivnath mentions seventeen dialects spoken in the area of Duggar. These are standard Dogri, Kandyali, Kangri, Bhatiali, Sirmauri, Baghati, Kiunthali, Kului Gujari, Rambani, Pongli, Hoshiarpur Pahadi and Lahnda. Bhadrawahi, Rambani and Pongli have common features with Dogri and Kashmiri while Kangri, Hoshiarpur Pahadi and Lahnda have common features with Dogri and Punjabi.

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