Dogri language

Dogri (डोगरी or ڈوگری ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by about five million people[3] in India and Pakistan, chiefly in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, but also in northern Punjab, other parts of Jammu and Kashmir, and elsewhere.[4] Dogri speakers are called Dogras, and the Dogri-speaking region is called Duggar.[5] Although formerly treated as a Punjabi dialect,[6] Dogri is now considered to be a member of the Western Pahari group of languages.[7] Unusually for an Indo-European language, Dogri is tonal,[8] a trait it shares with other Western Pahari languages and Punjabi.

डोगरी ڈوگرى ḍogrī
Native toIndia, Pakistan
RegionJammu region
Native speakers
2.6 million (2011 census)[1]
(not counting those who reported their language as 'Pahari')
Devanagari, Perso-Arabic script
Formerly Dogri, Takri, Gurmukhi
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-2doi
ISO 639-3doi – inclusive code
Individual codes:
dgo  Dogri proper
xnr  Kangri

Dogri has several varieties, all with greater than 80% lexical similarity (within Jammu and Kashmir).[9]


Dogri was originally written using the Dogri script.[10] It is now more commonly written in Devanagari in India, and in the Nastaʿliq form of Perso-Arabic in Pakistan and Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

Some common words

Devanagari Perso-Arabic Transliteration (ISO-15919) English translation Comparative
आहो آہ āh Yes haan (Hindustani), aa (Kashmiri), haan/aho (Punjabi), ho (Pashto)
कन्ने کنے kanne With Saath (Hindi/Urdu), سٟتھؠ [sɨːtʰʲ] (Kashmiri), Naal (Punjabi)
नुक्कां نکے nukkāṃ Shoes Jootey (Hindi, Urdu), Nukke/Juttiaan (Punjabi), کھۄر بانہٕ [kʰʷaɾ baːnɨ] (Kashmiri)
भित्त پت bhitta Door Darwaza (Persian/Hindi/Urdu/Punjabi/Kashmiri), Phaatak/Dvaar/Kiwaad (Hindi), Buha/Dar/Duar (Punjabi), بَر [baɾ] (Kashmiri)
केह् کے keh What Kya (Hindustani), کیہہ [kʲah] (Kashmiri), Ki (Punjabi)
की کى Why Kyun (Hindi/Urdu), کیازِ [kʲaːzi] (Kashmiri), Kyon/Kahte/Kahnu (Punjabi)
दोआना دوانہ doāna Watermelon Tarbooz (Hindi/Urdu), Hindwana (Urdu/Persian), Hadwana/Mateera (Punjabi), ہؠندٕوؠندٕ [hʲãd̪ɨʋʲãd̪ɨ] (Kashmiri), Indwanna (Pashto)
दुनिया دنيہ duniyā World Duniya (Hindi/Urdu/Punjabi/Persian/Arabic), دُنیا [d̪unʲjaː] (Kashmiri), Jag (Sanskrit/Hindi/Punjabi), Sansaar (Sanskrit/Hindi/Punjabi)


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).[11] This tonality makes it difficult for speakers of other Indo-Aryan languages to gain facility in Dogri,[8] 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).


Given below is a table of national share of Dogri speakers in 2011.

StateNational Share %
Jammu & Kashmir97.2
Himachal Pradesh0.8
Madhya Pradesh0.3

Historical references

The Greek astrologer Pulomi, accompanying Alexander in his 323 B.C. campaign into the Indian subcontinent, referred to some inhabitants of Duggar as "a brave Dogra family living in the mountain ranges of Shivalik."[12] In the year 1317, Amir Khusro, the famous Urdu and Persian poet, referred to Duger (Dogri) while describing the languages and dialects of India as follows: "Sindhi-o-Lahori-o-Kashmiri-o-Duger."[13][14]

Theories on name origin

Intellectuals in the court of Maharaja Ranbir Singh s/o Gulab 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.[15]

The linguist George Grierson connected the term 'Duggar' with the Rajasthani word 'Doonger,' which means 'hill,' and 'Dogra' with 'Dongar.'[15] 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.[16]

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 Himachal, Dogri is majorly spoken in Hamirpur, Barsar, Una, Chintpurni, Kangra, and Bilaspur regions.

In 1976, the experts attending the Language Session of the 'All India Oriental Conference' held in Dharwad, Karnataka, 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 Jaipur 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 many forts are called Duggar, and their inhabitants are accordingly known as Dogras. The land of Duggar also has many 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."[17]

The Turkish Döğer is also the name of a Turkmen Oğuz tribe originating in Central Asia and also found amongst the Kurds. In Turkey one of the towns named after them can be 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 AD), was published by the Vidya Vilas Press, Jammu in 1873.[18] As Sanskrit literacy remained confined to a few, the late Maharaja Ranbir Singh had the Lilavati translated into Dogri by Jyotshi Bisheshwar, then principal of Jammu Pathshala.[19]

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.[20] 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,[21] 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.[22] (Indian Express, New Delhi, 3 August 1969). Dogri is one of the state languages of the Indian 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.[23][24] 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.[25]

In 2005, a collection of over 100 works of prose and poetry in Dogri published over the last 50 years was made accessible online at the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore. This included works of eminent writer Dhinu Bhai Panth, Professor Madan Mohan Sharma, B.P. Sathai and Ram Nath Shastri.[26]

See also


  1. Census India, Statement 1: Abstract of Speakers' Strength of Languages and Mother Tongues 2011
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kangri-Dogri". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Sharma, Sita Ram (1992). Encyclopaedia of Teaching Languages in India, v. 20. Anmol Publications. p. 6.
  4. Billawaria, Anita K. (1978). History and Culture of Himalayan States, v.4. Light & Life Publishers.
  5. Narain, Lakshmi (1965). An Introduction to Dogri Folk Literature and Pahari Art. Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages.
  6. Barua, Jayanti (2001). Social Mobilisation And Modern Society. ISBN 9788170998075.
  7. Masica, Colin P. (1993). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Cambridge University Press. p. 427. ISBN 978-0-521-29944-2.
  8. Ghai, Ved Kumari (1991). Studies in Phonetics and Phonology: With Special Reference to Dogri. Ariana Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-85347-20-2. non-Dogri speakers, also trained phoneticians, tend to hear the difference as one of length only, perceiving the second syllable as stressed
  9. Brightbill, Jeremy D.; Turner, Scott B. (2007). "A Sociolinguistic Survey of the Dogri Language, Jammu and Kashmir" (PDF). SIL International. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  10. Pandey, Anshuman (4 November 2015). "L2/15-234R: Proposal to encode the Dogra script in Unicode" (PDF).
  11. Gussenhoven, Carlos (2004). The Phonology of Tone and Intonation. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-01200-3.
  12. Shastri, Balkrishan (1981). Dogri in the family of world languages (Translated). Dogri Research Centre, Jammu University.
  13. Shastri, Ram Nath (1981). Dogri Prose Writing before Independence (Translated). Dogri Research Centre, Jammu University.
  14. Datta, Amaresh (1987). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature. Sahitya Akademi.
  15. Pathik, Jyoteeshwar (1980). Cultural Heritage of the Dogras. Light & Life Publishers.
  16. Bahri, Ujjal Singh (2001). Dogri: Phonology and Grammatical Sketch. Bahri Publications.
  17. Prashant, Dharam Chand (April–May 1991). "Duggar Shabad di Vayakha". Shiraza Dogri.
  18. Bhāskarācārya (1873). Līlāvatī (Dogri translation). Jammu: Vidya Vilas.
  19. Sharma, B. P. Century Old Printed Dogri Literature. Jammu & Kashmir State Research Biannual.
  20. Jerath, Ashok (1988). Dogra Legends of Art & Culture. Indus Publishing. p. 236. ISBN 978-81-7387-082-8.
  21. Joseph, Suad; Najmabadi, Afsaneh (2003). Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures. Leiden: Brill. p. 75. ISBN 978-90-04-12821-7.
  22. Rao, S. (2004). Five Decades; the National Academy of Letters, India: a Short History of Sahitya Akademi. Sahitya Akademi.
  23. "Lok Sabha passes bill recognising Dogri, 3 other languages". Daily Excelsior. Jammu and Kashmir. 23 December 2003. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 31 October 2008. Dogri among other three languages has been included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution when Lok Sabha unanimously approved an amendment in the Constitution
  24. Tsui, Amy (2007). Language Policy, Culture, and Identity in Asian Contexts. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-8058-5694-1.
  25. "Alami Pahari Adabi Sangat (Global Pahari Cultural Association)". Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 31 October 2008.
  26. "Finally, a boost: Dogri literature now a click away". Indian Express. 19 May 2005. Retrieved 26 February 2013.


  • Gopal Haldar (2000). Languages of India. New Delhi: National Book Trust
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