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Areas in India and Pakistan where Dogri and related dialects are spoken

Dogri (डोगरी or ڈوگرى) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by about two million people in Indiamarker and Pakistanmarker, chiefly in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmirmarker, but also in northern Punjab, Himachal Pradeshmarker, other parts of Kashmirmarker, and elsewhere. Dogri speakers are called Dogras, and the Dogri-speaking region is called Duggar. Dogri is a member of the Western Pahari Group of languages. The language is referred to as Pahari (पहाड़ी or پھاڑی) in Pakistan and Pakistani-administered parts of Kashmirmarker. Unusually for an Indo-European language, Dogri is tonal, a trait it shares with other Western Pahari languages and Punjabi.


Dogri was originally written using the Takri script, which is closely related to the Sharada script employed by Kashmiri and the Gurmukhī script used to write Punjabi. It is now more commonly written in Devanāgarī in India, and the Nasta'liq form of Perso-Arabic in Pakistan and Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

Some common words

Dogri word Dogri word English translation Comparative
آہ / ऑह Ah Yes Haan (Hindi,Urdu,Punjabi), Aa (Kashmiri), Ho (Pashto)
کنے / कन्ने Kanne With Saath (Hindi/Urdu), Sityə (Kashmiri), Naal (Punjabi)
نکے / नुक्के Nukke Shoes Jootey (Hindi,Urdu), Chhittar/Juttiaan (Punjabi)
پت / पित्त Pit Door Darwaza (Hindi/Urdu/Punjabi/Kashmiri), Buha (Punjabi), Bar (Kashmiri)
کے / के Ke What Kya (Hindi/Urdu/Kashmiri), Kee (Punjabi)
کى / की Why Kyon (Hindi/Urdu/Punjabi), Kyazi (Kashmiri), Kate/Kanu (Punjabi alternates)
ادوانہ / अद्वाना Adwana Watermelon Tarbooz (Hindi/Urdu), Hadwana (Punjabi/Persian), Mateera (Punjabi), Indwanna (Pashto)
دنيہ / दुनिया Duniyā World Duniya (Urdu/Punjabi/Kashmiri/Persian/Arabic)


Western Pahari languages, Punjabi and Punjabi dialects are frequently tonal, which is very unusual for Indo-European languages (although Swedish and Norwegian are tonal also). This tonality makes it difficult for speakers of other Indo-Aryan languages to gain facility in Dogri, though native Punjabi speakers (especially speakers of Northern dialects such as Hindko and Mirpuri) may find it easier to make the transition. Some common examples are shown below.

Sentence Tone English translation
Kora ha. Equal It was a whip.
Kora ha. Falling-Rising It was a horse.
Kora ha. Rising It was bitter.
Das kīyān? Falling Why is it ten?
Das kīyān. Rising Tell me how (it happened).

Historical references

The Greek astrologer Pulomi, accompanying Alexander in his 323 B.C. campaign into the Indian sub-continent, referred to some inhabitants of Duggar as "a brave Dogra family living in the mountain ranges of Shivalik." In the year 1317, Amir Khusro, the famous poet of Hindi and Persian, referred to Duger (Dogri) while describing the languages and dialects of India as follows: "Sindhi O’ Lahori O’ Kashmiri O’ Duger."

Theories on name origin

Intellectuals in the court of Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, described 'Duggar' as a distorted form of the word 'Dwigart,' which means "two troughs," a possible reference to the Mansar and Sruinsar Lakes.

The linguist George Grierson connected the term 'Duggar' with the Rajasthani word 'Doonger,' which means 'hill,' and 'Dogra' with 'Dongar.' This opinion has lacked support because of the inconsistency of the ostensible changes from Rajasthani to Dogri (essentially the question of how Doonger became Duggar while Donger became Dogra), and been contradicted by some scholars.

Yet another proposal stems from the presence of the word 'Durger' in the Bhuri Singh Museum (in Chamba, Himachal Pradesh). The word Durger means 'invincible' in several Northern Indian languages, and could be an allusion to the ruggedness of the Duggar terrain and the historically militarized and autonomous Dogra societies.

In 1976, the experts attending the Language Session of the 'All India Oriental Conference' held in Dharwar, Karnatakamarker could not reach consensus on the 'Dwigart' and 'Durger' hypotheses, but did manage agreement on a Doonger-Duggar connection. In a subsequent 'All India Oriental Conference' held at Jaipurmarker in 1982, the linguists agreed that the culture, language and history of Rajasthan and Duggar share some similarities. It was also suggested that the words 'Duggar' and 'Dogra' are common in some parts of Rajasthan. Specifically, it was asserted that areas with a large number of forts are called Duggar, and their inhabitants are accordingly known as Dogras. The land of Duggar also has a large number of forts, which may support the opinion above. An article by Dharam Chand Prashant in the literary magazine Shiraza Dogri suggested that "the opinion that the word 'Duggar' is a form of the word 'Duggarh' sounds appropriate."

Doger written in Turkish as Döğer is also the name of a Turkmen Oguz tribe originating from Central Asia, also found amongst the Kurds. In Turkey one of the towns named after them is written as Doker, Duger, Döker and Düğer.

Recent history

In modern times, a notable Dogri translation (in the Takri script) of the Sanskrit classic mathematical opus "Lilavati," by the noted mathematician Bhaskaracharya (b. 1114 A.D.), was published by the Vidya Vilas Press, Jammu in 1873. As Sanskrit literacy remained confined to a few, the late Kashmiri Maharaja Ranbir Singh had the Lilavati translated into Dogri by Jyotshi Bisheshwar, then principal of Jammu Pathshala.

Dogri has an established tradition of poetry, fiction and dramatic works. Recent poets range from the 18th century Dogri poet Kavi Dattu (1725-1780) in Raja Ranjit Dev’s court to Professor Ram Nath Shastri and Mrs. Padma Sachdev. Kavi Dattu is highly regarded for his Barah Massa (Twelve Months), Kamal Netra (Lotus Eyes), Bhup Bijog and Bir Bilas. Shiraza Dogri is a Dogri literary periodical issued by the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, which is a notable publisher of modern Dogri literary work, another being the Dogri Sanstha. Popular recent songs include Pala Shpaiya Dogarya, Manney di Mauj and Shhori Deya. The noted Pakistani singer Malika Pukhraj had roots in the Duggar region and her renditions of several Dogri songs continue to be popular in the region. Some devotional songs, or bhajans, composed by Karan Singh have gained increasing popularity over time, including Kaun Kareyaan Teri Aarti.

Dogri programming features regularly on Radio Kashmir (a division of All India Radio) and Doordarshan (Indian state television) broadcasts in Jammu and Kashmir. However, Dogri does not have a dedicated state television channel yet, unlike Kashmiri (which has the Doordarshan Koshur channel, available on cable and satellite television throughout India).

Official recognition of the language has been gradual, but progressive. On 2 August 1969, the General Council of the Sahitya Academy, Delhi recognized Dogri as an "independent modern literary language" of India, based on the unanimous recommendation of a panel of linguists. (Indian Express, New Delhi, 3 August, 1969). Dogri is one of the state languages of the Indianmarker state of Jammu and Kashmir. On 22 December 2003, in a major milestone for the official status of the language, Dogri was recognized as a national language of India in the Indian constitution. In Pakistan, the language (under the name "Pahari") continues to thrive, but is not known to have received official patronage to date. The Alami Pahari Adabi Sangat (Global Pahari Cultural Association) is a Pakistani organization dedicated to the advancement and progress of the language.

Language and dialects

Since Dogri, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi are spoken in a region that has witnessed significant ethnic and identity conflict, all have been exposed to the dialect versus language question. At various times, Western Pahari languages have been contended to be dialects of Punjabi, at others, some Western Pahari languages (such as Rambani) have been contended to be dialects of Kashmiri. To some extent, "a language is a dialect with an army and navy." In modern linguistics, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri and Dogri are each considered a distinct Indo-Iranian language. Each of these languages possesses a central standard on which its literature is based, and from which there are multiple dialectical variations.

See also


  • Gopal Haldar. 2000. Languages of India. National Book Trust, New Delhi.


External links

  • The Dogri Language, article by Ved Kumari Ghai
  • Duggar Times,, for more on Dogri Language, Literature and Writers
  • "One Hundredth Amendment," news report on the recognition of Dogri as a national language,
  • Modifications to Devanagri to represent Dogri tones,
  • Alami Pahari Adabi Sangat (Global Pahari Cultural Association),
  • The Takri script,
  • Paper on Tonality and Intonation in Punjabi,

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