Western Pahari

The Western Pahari or Himachali languages are a group of Northern Indo-Aryan languages spoken in a region of northern India centred on Himachal Pradesh and including parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand.

Western Pahari
India (Himachal Pradesh, parts of Jammu and Kashmir & Uttarakhand)
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
ISO 639-2 / 5him
Western Pahari Languages


Pahari written in Various Scripts

The following lists the languages classified as belonging to Western Pahari, with the provisional grouping used in Glottolog 4.1:[1]

Nuclear Himachali:
Pahari Kinnauri
Kullu Pahari
Mahasu Pahari

These languages are a dialect chain, and neighbouring varieties may be mutually intelligible. Some Western Pahari languages have occasionally been regarded as dialects of either Dogri, Hindustani or Punjabi.[citation needed]

Some Western Pahari languages, notably Dogri and Kangri, are tonal, like their close relative Punjabi but unlike most other Indic languages. Dogri has been an official language in India since 2003.

A controversial theory, put forward by linguist Claus Peter Zoller, suggests that the Bangani language is closely related (or a part of) the Western Pahari languages, and has been misclassified as one of the Garhwali languages.

To the west of the core areas of Western Pahari – in the mountainous areas of Jammu – there are a number of varieties that are intermediate with Kashmiri. These include Kishtwari and Poguli (both often counted as Kashmiri dialects), and Sarazi (typically included within Wester Pahari).[2]

Writing systemsEdit

Western Pahari was classified as a language category by renowned linguist Sir George Abraham Grierson for languages spoken in what we refer to as the Western Pahari Belt, which includes parts of present day Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and the Galyat region of Pakistan. The language has numerous dialects, which were written mostly in the Tankri script before the 19th century. The script originated from Sharada, and is regarded as one of South Asia’s oldest writing forms. However, in current times Devanagari, Nastaliq, Gurumukhi, Shahmukhi and Arabic alphabets are employed to write Western Pahari across the entire linguistic sphere.[3]


According to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), all of Western Pahari languages, except for Dogri, are under either definitely endangered or critically endangered category.[4] None of these languages, except for Dogri, have any official status.

The demand for the inclusion of 'Pahari (Himachali)' under the Eight Schedule of the Constitution, which is supposed to represent multiple Pahari languages of Himachal Pradesh, had been made in the year 2010 by the state's Vidhan Sabha. There has been no positive progress on this matter since then even when small organisations are taking upto themselves to save the language and demanding it. Due to political interest, the language is currently recorded as a dialect of Hindi, even when having a poor mutual intelligibility with it and having a higher mutual intelligibility with other recognised languages like Dogri.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Family: Himachali". Glottolog 4.1.
  2. ^ Kaul, Pritam Krishen (2006). Pahāṛi and Other Tribal Dialects of Jammu. 1. Delhi: Eastern Book Linkers. ISBN 8178541017.
  3. ^ article| Serena, Hussain;Sharma, Vishal|year = 2020|title = Why Recognising Indigenous Language Movements Is Crucial in Contemporary South Asia| Publisher = The Wire| web|url=https://m.thewire.in/article/culture/international-mother-language-day-indigenous-language-movements-south-asia.html%7C
  4. ^ "Endangered languages".


External linksEdit

  • Himachali a effort by Himachal Pradesh State to form a Pahari language out of Western Pahari languages of the state.