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Bhojpuri ( ) is a regional language spoken in parts of north-central and eastern Indiamarker. It is spoken in the western part of state of Biharmarker, the northwestern part of Jharkhandmarker, and the Purvanchal region of Uttar Pradeshmarker, as well as an adjoining area of southern plains of Nepalmarker. Bhojpuri is also spoken in Guyanamarker, Surinamemarker, Fijimarker, Trinidad and Tobagomarker and Mauritiusmarker. The variant of Bhojpuri of the Surinamese Hindustanis, is also referred to Sarnami Hindi or just Sarnami when it is mixed with (Creole) English or Dutch words. In Guyana and Trinidad a smaller percentage of the Indians know Bhojpuri compared to Suriname.

The Bhojpuri language is part of the Eastern-Hindi or Begali continuum of languages which once exended from Assam and Begal to Benares. While the rest of Bihar and UP slowly adopted the new Hindi standard, the language remained strong in the areas between Patna and Benares.The government of India while taking census, disagree, and consider Bhojpuri to be a dialect of Hindi. But now the government of India is preparing to grant it statutory status as a national scheduled language.

Bhojpuri shares vocabulary with Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu and other Indo-Aryan languages of northern India. Bhojpuri and several closely related languages, including Maithili and Magadhi, are together known as the Bihari languages. They are part of the Eastern Zone group of Indo-Aryan languages which includes Bengali and Oriya.

There are numerous dialects of Bhojpuri, including three or four in eastern Uttar Pradesh alone.

The scholar, polymath and polyglot Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan wrote some works in Bhojpuri. Other eminent writers include Viveki Rai. There have been other writers who have written in Bhojpuri but the number is small compared to the number of speakers. Some other notable Bhojpuri personalities are legendary freedom fighter Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, first president of India Rajendra Prasad, Manoj Bajpai, and former Indian prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, Chandra Shekhar. Bihar Kokila Padma Shri Sharda Sinha is a famous Bhojpuri folk singer.

Number of speakers

According to an article published in Times of India, an estimated 70 million people of Uttar Pradeshmarker and a further 80 million people in Biharmarker speak Bhojpuri as their first or second language. There are 6 million Bhojpuri speaking people are living outside the Bhojpuri heartlands of Bihar and Purvanchal. These areas include Nepal, especially Birgunjmarker, Mauritius, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, Uganda, Singapore, Trinidad & Tobago, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Great Britain, and the United States. This makes the total Bhojpuri speaking population in the world close to 150 million.[55025]It means if government of India grants Bhojpuri the status of language which is in process it will become third most spoken language in India after Hindi and Bengali which will surprising to many of the Indians.

However, the official figures as per the Census of India 2001 are much lower. The census counts 33 million people in India to be speakers of the Bhojpuri dialect under the Hindi language sub-family.

Bhojpuri dialects, varieties, and creoles are also spoken in various parts of the world, including Brazilmarker, Fijimarker, Guyanamarker, Mauritiusmarker, South Africa, Surinamemarker, and Trinidad and Tobagomarker. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, many colonizers had faced labor shortages and were unable to obtain slaves from Africa due to the abolition of slavery; thus, they imported many Indians as indentured servants to labor on plantations. Today, many Indians in the West Indiesmarker, Oceania, and South America still speak Bhojpuri as a native or second language.

The Bhojpuri language has been heavily influenced by other languages in many parts of the world. Mauritian Bhojpuri includes many Creole and English words, while the one spoken in Trinidad and Tobago has picked up some Caribbean words along with English.

Bhojpuri literature

The Bhojpuri-speaking region, due to its rich tradition of creating leaders for building post-independence India such as first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad followed by many eminent politicians and humanitarians like Dr. Krishna Dev Upadhyaya, was never devoid of intellectual prominence which is evident in its literature.

Bhojpuri became one of the basis of the development of the official language of independent Indiamarker, Hindi, in the past century. Bhartendu Harishchandra, who is considered the father of literary Hindi, was greatly influenced by the tone and style of Bhojpuri in his native region. Further development of Hindi was taken by prominent laureates such as Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi and Munshi Premchand from the Bhojpuri-speaking region. Bhikhari Thakur, known as the Shakespeare of Bhojpuri, has also given theater plays including the classics of Bidesiya. Pioneer Dr. Krishna Dev Upadhyaya from Ballia district devoted 60 years to researching and cataloging Bhojpuri folklore. Dr. H. S. Upadhyaya wrote the book Relationships of Hindu family as depicted in Bhojpuri folksongs (1996). Together they have cataloged thousands of Bhojpuri folksongs, riddles and proverbs from the Purvanchal U.P, Bihar, Jharkand and Chotta Nagpuri districts near Bengal.

The Bhojpuri literature has always remained contemporary. It was more of a body of folklore with folk music and poems prevailing. Literature in the written form started in the early twentieth century. During the British era, then known as the "Northern Frontier Province language", Bhojpuri adopted a patriotic tone and after independence it turned to community. In later periods, following the low economic development of the Bhojpuri-speaking region, the literary work is more skewed towards the human sentiments and struggles of life.

A recent publication (2009) 'Bhojpuri-Lok Sahitya: Lok Geeton Ki Samajik Sanskritik Sandarbh Evam Prishthbhumi" (Bhojpuri Folk Literature: Social and Cultural Landscape of Folk Songs) by Dr. Dharmveer Singh (Publisher: Chaukhamba Sanskrit Bhavan, P.O. Box 1160, Chowk, Varanasi-221001, India) contains an exhaustive research on the historical and social background of the origin and temporal development of this language in greatest detail. This book is exhaustive in its approach and is a gem for anyone who is interested in Bhojpuri as a language. The most impressive aspect of the book is the collection of folk-songs that the author has gleaned from various sources. With the advent of modern technology and effect of cinema, these folk-songs are becoming extinct. This book preserves not only the songs in a written form but also provides the context in which they should be viewed and appreciated.

Writing scripts

Bhojpuri over the course of time has been written in various scripts by various people. Bhojpuri until late 19th century was commonly written in Kaithi script as well as Nasta'liq (Persian) script.

Mention of Bhojpuri literature cannot be complete without Bhikhari Thakur and his immemorial Bidesia. However, it is unforunate that no conscious attempt is being made to preserve his literature which is mainly in various folklores.

A recent publication 'Bhojpuri-Lok Sahitya: Lok Geeton Ki Samajik Sanskritik Sandarbh Evam Prishthbhumi" (Bhojpuri Folk Literature: Social and Cultural Landscape of Folk Songs) by Dr. Dharmveer Singh (Publisher: Chaukhamba Sanskrit Bhavan, P.O. Box 1160, Chowk, Varanasi-221001, India) contains an exhaustive research on the historical and social background of the origin and temporal development of this language in greatest detail. This book is exhaustive in its approach and is a gem for anyone who is interested in Bhojpuri as a language. The most impressive aspect of the book is the collection of folk-songs that the author has gleaned from various sources. With the advent of modern technology and effect of cinema, these folk-songs are becoming extinct. This book preserves not only the songs in a written form but also provides the context in which they should be viewed and appreciated.


Kaithi script was used for administrative purposes in the Mughal era for writing Bhojpuri, Maithili, Bangla, Urdu, Magahi and Hindi from at least 16th century up to the first decade of 20th century. Government gazetteers report that Kaithi was used in a few districts of Bihar through the1960s.It is possible that Kaithi is still used today in very limited capacity in these districts and in rural areas of north India. The significance of Kaithi grew when the British governments of the Bengal Presidency (of which Bihar and some southern districts of Nepal was territory) and the NorthWestern Provinces & Oudh (hereafter, NWP&O) selected the script for use in administration and education. The first impetus of growth was the standardization of written Kaithi in 1875 by the government of NWP&O for the purpose of adapting the script for use in formal education.The second was the selection of Kaithi by the government of Bihar as the official script of the courts and administrative offices of the Bihar districts in1880.Thereafter; Kaithi replaced the Persian script as the writing system of record in the judicial courts of Bihar. Additionally, on account of the rate of literacy in Kaithi, the governments of Bihar and NWP&O advocated Kaithi as the medium of written instruction in their primary schools.

Nasta'liq (Persian)

Before 1880 all the administrative works in Bihar was done in this Persian script and possibly all the educated Muslims in the Bhojpuri speaking region wrote unofficial works in Nasta'liq script.


By 1894, official works were carried out in both Kaithi and Devanagari in Bihar which probably started giving way to replacement of Kaithi completely by Devanagari. At present almost all the Bhojpuri works are done in Devanagari even in the overseas islands where Bhojpuri is spoken.

Bhojpuri Media

In Bhojpuri many magzine and papers published from U P, Bihar West Bengal & Assam.Sunday Indian is aleading magzine from Delhi.Saneshthis is a first quarterly magzine from north east


Bilabial Labio-
Retroflex Post-alv./Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Tap or Flap

Comparison of Dialects of Bhojpuri

Introduction to usage and features

Many speakers of North Indian languages find the unique, distinct features of Bhojpuri humorous sounding. In Bollywood films, all the languages spoken in the villages of UP, Bihar, South Nepal, and North Jharkhand are often collectively referred to as Bhojpuri. Bhojpuri represents all the accents, tones, behaviours, village stories, idioms of the languages such as Awadhi, Braj bhasha, Kortha, Nagpuria, Magahi, and Maithili. Some of the features are discussed below:

Spoken trends

  • Addition of “Waa” or “eeya” to Nouns and sometimes Verbs

For male Nouns:

In Hindi with Bhojpuri style – “ शाहरुखवा कहा कि ये मेरा कुत्ता नही है ”
In true Bhojpuri language - “ शाहरुखवा कहलख/कहलस कि ई हमार कुकुर ना ह”

English translation – Shahrukh said that he is not my dog.

English in Bhojpuri style – Shahrukhwa said that he is not my dog.

For female Nouns:

In Hindi with Bhojpuri style – “ रिमिया रिया सेनवा के बहन है ”
In true Bhojpuri language - “ रिमिया रिया सेनवा के बहिन बिया ”

English translation – Rimi is the sister of Riya sen

English in Bhojpuri style – Rimia is the sister of Riya senwa.

In Hindi with Bhojpuri style – “ लठीया चला के तुम्हारा कपार फोर देंगे
” In true Bhojpuri language - “लठीया चला के तोहार/तोहर कपारवे फोर देम ”

English translation – (I'll) throw the baton and crack your skull

English in Bhojpuri style – (I'll) throw the batowa and crack your skullwa.

Notice that female names ending in “ee ” gets “eeya” as in “ रिमि becomes रिमिया ” and "लाठी" becomes "लठिया" similarly female names ending in “uu” gets “uaa” for example :

In Hindi with Bhojpuri style – “खुश्बुआ का बाप मर गया है ”
In true Bhojpuri language - “खुश्बुआ के बाप मू गईल बा / खुश्बुआ के बाबू मू गैईल बाना ”

English translation – Khusbu’s dad has died

English in Bhojpuri style – Khusbuaa’s dad has died

Apart from these all other females names and other nouns get "waa" in their ends.

  • Addition of "eeye" or "ey" in adverbs, adjectives and pronouns

In Hindi with Bhojpuri style – हम बहुत नजदिके से आ रहें है

In true Bhojpuri language – हम बहुत नजदिके स आवतानी/ आ रहल बानी.

English translation – I am coming from very near place

English in Bhojpuri style – I am coming from very nearey place.

Pronunciation of words

Bhojpuri has very distinct way of pronouncing, apparent to most north Indians would be aware of it. For example:मैं कहता हूँ is actually pronounced in Hindi as मै कैहता हूँ whereas in Bhojpuri it would be मैं कःहःता हूँ. The word for 'plenty' in Bhojpuri and Hindi is written as बहुत while Hindi pronounces it बहौत Bhojpuri retains बहुत even while pronouncing.

Trend of word formation

Though to speakers of Hindi, some Bhojpuri words may appear "mispronounced", they simply result from the divergent evolutions of the related languages. For example:
  • अमरुद is Hindi word for Guava, in Bhojpuri it is अमरूद
  • साइकिल is Hindi word (adapted from English) for cycle, in Bhojpuri many say साइकिल, सैकिलिया
  • रक्सौल is a town in Champaran district of Bihar, many Bhojpuria people pronounce रस्कौल
  • पहुँचना is a Hindi word for to arrive, in Bhojpuria people say चहुँपना
  • उमेश is a Hindi name and Bhojpuria people say उमेशवा
  • बच्चा is a Hindi word but Bhojpuria people say बचवा

Comparison of common words in Eastern Hindi dialects

खड़ी बोली भोजपुरी अवधी मैथिली मगही सादरी खोरटा कोसला मगधी नागपुरिया अंगिका थारु दांगौरा थारु राना बज्जिका
हम हमनी हम हम हम हम ? ? ? ? हम ? ? ?
तू तू तो तू तू ? ? ? ? ? तो ? ? ?
तुम तू तो तू तू ? ? ? ? ? तो ? ? ?
मैं हम ? हम हम्मे ? ? ? ? ? हम ? ? ?
आप रउआ आप आंहा अपने ? ? ? ? ? अपने ? ? ?
मेरा हमार मोर हम्मर हमर ? ? ? ? ? हम्मर ? ? ?
तुम्हारा तोहार तोर तोहर तोहर ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
तेरा ? ? तोहर तोहरा ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
हमारा ? ? अप्पन हमरा ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
मुझे ? ? हमरा हमरा ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
उसे ? ? ओकरा ओकरा ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
उसका ? ? ओक्कर ओकरा ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
इसका ? ? एक्कर एकरा ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
ये ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
वो ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
क्यूँ काहे काहे Kiyea काहे ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Common words


English Bhojpuri भोजपुरी
Sunday Eitwaar एतवार
Monday Somaar सोमार
Tuesday Mangal मंगर
Wednesday Budhh बुध
Thursday Barashpat बिफे
Friday Sookar सूक / जुमा
Saturday Sunicher सनिचर


In Bhojpuri, ½ or half is called "aadha" ( आधा ) and when ½ or half is used with numbers higher than 2 then "saadhe" ( साढ़े ) is added before the whole number.
For example: 7.30 would be "saadhe saat"( साढ़े सात ).

Similarly, ¼ or quarter is called "sawaa"( सवा ) and when a number is ¼ or quarter less than a whole number then "pauney" ( पौने ) is added before the ceiling whole number.
For example: 7.15 would be "sawaa saat" ( सवा सात ) and 7.45 would be called "pauney aath" ( पौने आठ ).

There are other special names for 1.5 , 2.5 , 6 , and 12. They are called – "Dedh"( डेढ़ ), "Adhaai"( अढ़ाई ), "Aadha Darzan"( आधा दर्ज़न ) and "Darzan"( दर्ज़न ) respectively.

For currencies Bhojpuri uses the terms "Takiaa" ( टका ) , "Aanaa" ( आना ), "Kaudi" ( कौडी ), or "Paiisa" ( पईसा ) or "Ropeya / Rupaiya"( रोपेया / रुपईया ). It must be remembered that pronunciation of these words vary greatly while using in various circumstances.

English Bhojpuri भोजपुरी
Zero, One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten Soonna, Ek, Du, Teen, Chaar, Paanch, Chau, Saat, Aath, Nau, Dus सुन्ना, एक, दु, तीन, चार, पाँच, छौ, सात, आठ, नौ, दस
One/Two/Five/Ten/20/50/100 Rupee Notes Ek/Du/Paanch/Dus/Bees/Pachaas/Sai takia (only for currency paper) एक/दु/पाँच/दस/बीस/पचास/सय टकिया
500/ 1000 or higher denomination Notes Lamri or Numri लमरी चाहे नमरी
One Rupee Ek ropeya (for quoting price)
Coin Sikka
25 Paisa( a quarter) Chau anni
50 Paisa( a half) Atth anni (Atth = Aath)
75 Paisa(quarter to one) Baarey anaa (Baarey = Baarah )
100 Paisa Sorey anaa ( Sorey = Sorah)

Fruits and Vegetables

English Bhojpuri भोजपुरी English Bhojpuri भोजपुरी
Mango Aam आम Apple Seo सेव
Orange Samtola/Limu सम्तोला/लीमु Lemon Nimo/Nebua निमो
Grapefruit; pomelo Mausmi/ मौसमी Papaya Papita/Armewa पपीता/अरमेवा
Guava Roonie/Amdur रुनी/अमदुर Melon Jaamun जामुन
Sweet Potato Shataalu शतालु Pomegranate Anaar अनार
Grape Angoor अंगूर Custard apple Shareefa शरीफा
Banana Keraa केरा Lytchee Litchi लीची
Tomato Tamaatar टमाटर Jackfruit Katahar कटहर
Jack Fruit Bhuikatahar भुईकटहर


English Bhojpuri भोजपुरी
Red Laal लाल
Green Hariyur हरियर
Blue Aasmaani आसमानी
Yellow Piyar पियर
Pink Gulaabi गुलाबी
Black Kariya करीया
White Ujjar उज्जर
Brown Khairahu खैरःहुँ
Gray Raakh राख
Indigo Neel नील
Rainbow Saabhaa साभा / इन्दरधनुष


English Bhojpuri भोजपुरी
Hand Haath हाथ
Mile mile mile

Family Relations

English Bhojpuri भोजपुरी
Papa / Dad Baabu / Abba babuji
Mummy / Mom Maai / Maay / Ammi mai
Sister Bahin / Didi / Baaji bahin / jiji
Brother Bhaai / Bhaiya
Grand Dad Baba / Daada / Babba/ Aja
Grand Mom Daai / Aaji / Eeya / Daadi / Amma

Some Idioms (khisa pacheesa)

न नौ मःन तेल होइ न राधा नाचे
चिरई के जान जाए लैका के खेलौना
न रही बाँस न बाजी बँसुरी

सौ सोनार के एक लोहार के
नापल जोखल थाहे लैका डुब गेल काहे
चानी सोना में लाग जाई काई दमड़ी के गोदना संगे जाई
रहली में दु जनी पादली में कए जनी

नाँच न जाने अँगनवे टेढ़

मन चंगा त कठौती में गंगा
खाएके सतुआ पादेके मीठाई
बाप के नाम साग पात पूत के नाम परोरा

एगो अनार सय गोड़े बेमार
जे खाए सुगर के गोस्त उ कैसे मिया के दोस्त ?

झोरी मे झाट/फुट्हा न सराय मे डेरा

दुध के रखवारी करे बिलाई

नाया नौ दिन पुराना सौ दिन
दिन भर हर-पर रात मे चहर-पहर पकड़े के गोड़ त पकड़ले बाड़े सोर

पानी में मछरी, नौ-नौ कुटिया बखरा

कौआ चले बगुला के चाल

बाप के नाम साग-पात बेटा के नाम परौर

दु अक्षर पढ़ लिया गुरुजी के दुख दिया बिन जोल ईद

हड्बडी के काम कनपट्टी मे सेनुर मेहरी के खीस डिहरी पर

सौती के खीस कठौती पर

बानर के हाथ मे नारियल
बाड़ी पूजा पर मन बाटे भूजा पर मांगे के भीख पादे के बीख

लोग कहे आम त इ कहे इमःली
राम राम जपना पराया माल अपना
सकल चुड़इल के, मजमून परी के

Bhojpuri Samples

Some samples of Bhojpuri Language include:
  • . प्रणाम/ परणाम — all-purpose Hindu greeting,the former(PraÑām) is a Sanskrit word and in Bhojpuri it is generally pronounced as Parnām, often translated as "I salute you" and in common usage simply means "hello" and even "goodbye."

  • Pae Lagoo / Paalagi / Paa lagat tani - customary touching of feet to take the blessings of elders.

  • राम राम / जय राम जी की - Bye Bye or simply Hi!!.

  • हमर / हमार / मोरा नाम भरत ह — My name is Bharat.

  • कइसन बा ? — How are you/ What's up?
The following are more commonly used:

  • kā ha? का ह? (informal)- What's the matter?, sab samāchār thīk ba? सब समाचार ठीक बा? are you all fine?

  • खाएक हो गइल ? — Is the food ready?

  • बीरगञ्ज बहुते बड़का शहर होत जा रहल बा. Birgunj is becoming a big city.

  • देशवाली लोगन के भोजपुरी, मैथिली, अवधी, हिन्दी आ उर्दू से माया करेके चाहीं — People of Terai shoul love Bhojpuri, Maithili, Awadhi, Hindi, and Urdu.

  • जुग जुग जिय/ खुश रह – long live/stay happy

  • बेर डुब गईल? – has the sun set?

  • कौनी बेर?– at what time?


  • Where is Mr. John? – मिस्टर जॉन कहाँ बाड़न? / मिस्टर जॉन कहाँ बानी?

  • Where is Ramesh? - रमेशवा केने बा? / रमेशवा केने बाटे?

  • Who has Sita called? - सीता केकरा बोलौले बीया?

Bhojpuri in Nepal

Bhojpuri is spoken by at least 2.5 million people in Nepal (9% of the total population of Nepal), the districts categorised as Bhojpuria districts lying between the Mithilanchal and Awadh regions of Nepal are: Rautahat, Bara, Parsa, Chitwan, Nawalparasi and Rupandehi. As people from hills have migrated in large numbers to these districts the native Bhojpuri language is suffering from adulteration and as Nepali has been imposed on people of these regions, most of the adulteration is due to Nepali language. However, the Nepali speakers in this region have somehow become modest speakers of Bhojpuri and can understand Bhojpuri quite well. And due to similarity, Maithili and Awadhi speakerscan also understand Bhojpuri quite well. Total Number of People who can understand the language in Nepal exceeds 12 million however who speak it as first or second tongue are around 4 million.

Some of the very popular local Radio stations in this region have been broadcasting news and entertainment materials in Bhojpuri, although due to Nepali speakers speaking bhojpuri in these radio stations, Bhojpuri sometimes appears awkward. Some of the popular radio stations for Bhojpuri are : Gadhimai FM, Indreni FM, Bijay FM, Rupandehi FM, Samyak FM, Radio Birgunj, Narayani FM and others are in the pipeline such as : Masti FM, Nobel FM, Kadambari FM, Rautahat FM, Gaur FM, Radio Namaste and Madhyabindu FM.

In Kathmandu, Music FM broadcasts Bhojpuri songs and some daily programmes in the language.

Radio Nepal, the state controlled radio broadcasts daily news in Bhojpuri at 6:05 PM local time daily. Above that, the state controlled Nepal Television 2 shows weekly Bhojpuri cultural programmes.

There are at least 5 Bhojpuri Newspapers being circulated on regular basis in this region.

See also

Notes and references

  1. "Census of India 2001"

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