Kishtwar is the land of harmonious culture. Variety of languages and dialects are spoken in the mountainous terrain.

It is an old saying that ” चार  कोस  पर  पानी  बदले, आठ  कोस  पर  वाणी  “, means that the dialectical changes take place after every fifteen to twenty kilometers.   Kishtwar is a multi-lingual district where dialects vary from one to another. But Kishtwari and Kashmiri is the main language, spoken by a majority of the people and in a vest area comprising Kishtwar, Mandal, Palmar, Chhatroo, Thakrai, Keshwan, Sarthal, Kuntwara, Nagseni and Dachhan. It is the medium of communication of both the have now switched i.e. Muslims and the Hindus although a majority among Muslims have now switched to Kashmiri – Kishtwar an admixture of Kashmiri and Kishtwari languages but not Kashmiri, in its entirety as some writers claim It is due to the interaction between the migrant population of Kashmir, which settled here and the original inhabitants of this place.
Kishtwari has originated from Prakrit. The literary language was Sanskrit which has close relationship with Prakrit. Kishtwari can conveniently be called sister language of Kashmiri as both have originated from Prakrit which is much simpler than Sanskrit. The present form of Kishtwari is the direct outcome of Prakrit, Pali or Sanskrit language.
Padderi is spoken, exclusively in Paddar only while in Saroor and Bonjwah, people speak in Saroori and Bhalesi both dialects of Bhadarwahi. Buddhists speak in Bodhi and Gujjars in Gojri language.
The variety of dialects prevalent in Kishtwar has been preserved from the times immemorial without getting disturbed from outside influence. This may be due to the in-accessibility and rugged and mountainous terrain of the area.
Kishtwar and all other dialects used in the area have originated from ‘Prakrit’ the spoken language of the people when Sanskrit was the literary language; Sanskrit is therefore, the mother of all the language of the Indo-Aryan family of Language. Sentence structure of Kishtwari, Kashmiri and other dialects is also the same as that of Sanskrit and different from English.
Writer differs on whether Kishtwar is a language or a dialect. Some claim that Kishtwari is a language with its various dialects spoken in Nagseni, Dachhan, Chhatroo, Kontwara, Pogal – Paristan, Desa and Siraj.

Paddri Language

Paddri is a Pahari dialect spoken by the people of paddar. It has very little been influenced by the common speech of the people living in the neighborhood like Ladakh, Tibet, Himachal; Pradesh, Bhalessa and Nagesni area. It is also an off shot of Indo-Aryan group of languages.

Ladakhi Language

The bhots of paddar living in Hango, Haloti, Sumcham, Lussani, Kabbaan, Chakroi and Tun villages of Bhot Nala and Ishityari and Gandhari Nala of Paddar speak Ladakhi dialect which is quite different from Paddari. They have preserved their own language but has been influenced by Paddari.

Gojri Language

Kishtwar has been inhabited by Gujjar also in some areas of Chattroo, Udil, Keshwan, Palmar, Cheerji, Pullar, Nagseni, Dool, Trigam, Sarror, Bonjwah, Kidru Paddar etc. They speack a language called Gojri, Parimu or Hindiki. This language is a akin to western Punjabi and belong to Rajsthani group of languages. The most interseting fact about Gujjars is that they speak the same languages throughout J&K state. This  language is mostly written in Persian script.

Saroori and Bawanjwali

The people of the theses area speack Sarorri in Saroor pargana and Bonjwali in Bonjwah area which have close affiity with Bhaderwahi -language used by Bhaderwahi peoples. The accent and speech vary to a great extent in thes dialects.

Despite this no literature worth mentioning is available in Kishtwar language. The reason can be:-

(a) No state patronage gives to Kishtwar by the local Raja’s.
(b) Complete isolation of the place from rest of the country due to its mountainous, rugged and difficult topography and non-availability of road connectivity.
(c) Scarce schooling facilities till sixties.
A dialect qualifies to be a language when it is spoken by the people of a particular country / region as a source of communication, having its own system of sound, words and grammar, script and literature in the form of books of prose and poetry. On this measure – rod, Kishtwari, as on today, does not qualify to be a language in the true sense of the word. However it is a vibrant language, consistently adopting words from neighboring languages and enriching it self.
With the boom in educational activities and availability of road – connectivity and interaction with the outer world, Kishtwari is well on its path to be recognized as a language. Galaxies of poets and writers have now been writing in Kishtwari and publishing books and articles. A literary organization known as ‘Kishtwari Sahitya Kala Sangam’ has taken up the responsibility of the enrichment of the Kishtwari language and the day is not far when it will be recognized as a language fit to be included in the 8th scheduled of the constitution.
The common language has no narrow mindedness. It includes, accepts and adopts common words from other languages be it National or International. We do not find any language presently in the same form, style and tone as it is spoken by our ancestors long long ago..

Some common Kishtwari words and their meanings:-

English Kishtwar English Kishtwar English Kishtwari
Me Boo Face Shond  Salt Loon
You Tuse Stone Round Tea Chai
He Soo Punishment Sazza Leaf Patr
She Saai Slap Shvat Village Gaam
We Aisay Hand Aatha City Shaar
Boy Bukut Books Kitaba Men Moun
Girl Kudii Talk Katha Women Zanan

 

Few sentences in Kishtwari language with their meaning in English :-

  1. Kishtwari— Meyoun naam thu Pardeep.

    English—- My name is Pardeep.

  1. Kishtwari— Tusi kya thav Karan?

    English— What are you doing?

  1. Kishtwari—Tusi kichid thav?

    English— How are you?

  1. Kishtwar— Main thay na Kishtwari katha ivaan.

    English— I do not know Kishtwari language.

  1. Kishtwari— Kishtwar thay vara soundar jaye.

    English— Kishtwar is very beautiful place .

Kishtwari Poem

Mummy bo khyamay Maggi noodles,
Daddy bo chimay Coca Cola
Nayin ma bozaav prany kathanik,
Nana tu katha kar nai zamanich.
Maasie khiyiy kon droma satrorey,
Moswas zabis ane cold drink pakore.
Zaba chacha ta chachi, pana kun thum na pashan
Uncle ta aunti zaba, pana thim rachchan
Yivoy thay nov zamana yi nayi reet.
Buda karan chat ta Budi karan tweet.

By:-Lokesh Sharma (Engineer)

Src:- Glimpses of Kishtwar, Tourism in Kishtwar and Focus on Jammu and Kashmir

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