Bagheli language

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Native to India
Native speakers
8.2 million (2004)[1]
Census results conflate some speakers with Hindi.[2]
Devanagari script
Official status
Official language in
India (Madhya Pradesh)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
bfy – Bagheli
pwr – Powari
Glottolog bagh1251  Bagheli[3]
powa1246  Powari[4]
Linguasphere 59-AAF-rc

Bagheli (Devanagari: बघेली or बाघेली), or Baghelkhandi, is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in the Baghelkhand region of central India.


An independent language belonging to the Eastern Hindi subgroup, Bagheli is one of the languages designated as a 'dialect of Hindi' by the Indian Census Report of 2001. Bagheli is a regional language used for intra-group and inter-group communication.

George Abraham Grierson in his Linguistic Survey of India[5] classified Bagheli under Eastern Hindi. The extensive research conducted by local specialist Dr. Bhagawati Prasad Shukla is commensurate with Grierson’s classification. Ethnologue[6] cites Godwani, Kumhari and Rewa as dialects of Bagheli. According to Shukla, the Bagheli language has three varieties:

  1. Pure Bagheli
  2. West-Mixed Bagheli
  3. Southern-Broken Bagheli

Like many other Indo-Aryan languages, it has often been subject to erroneous, arbitrary, or politically-motivated designation as a dialect, instead of a language. Furthermore, as is the case with other Hindi languages, Bagheli speakers have been conflated with those of Standard Hindi in censuses.

Geographical distribution

Bagheli is primarily spoken in the Rewa, Satna, Sidhi, Singrauli, Shahdol, Umaria, Anuppur and Jabalpur districts of Madhya Pradesh; and Allahabad and Mirzapur districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bilaspur and Koriya districts of Chhattisgarh.

Popular culture

The Pao, a scheduled tribe also known as the Pabra, speak Bagheli as their first language. Their language was mistakenly reported to be Tibeto-Burman by Ethnologue, perhaps due to confusion with the Pao language of Burma.[7]

There are several radio and TV programmes in Bagheli. All India Radio is broadcasting Bagheli songs and agricultural programmes from Shahdol, Rewa and Bhopal. Furthermore, courses pertaining to Bagheli literature are available to be studied at Awadhesh Pratap Singh University.

Further reading

  • Pathak, R. S. The Phonetics of Bagheli: A Phonetic and Phonological Study of a Dialect of Hindi. New Delhi: National Pub. House, 1980.
  • Shukla, Hira Lal. Contrastive Distribution of Bagheli Phonemes. Raipur: M.P., Alok Prakashan, 1969.
  • Shukla, Bhagvati Prasad. 1972. Bagheli Bhasha aur sahithya (Hindi). Allahabad: Sahitya bhavan Pvt. Ltd
  • Koshy, Binoy; Tutum Padung and GB Amar. 2004. A Sociolinguistic study of Bagheli speakers in Madhya Pradesh. Unpublished research by NLCI


  1. ^ Bagheli at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Powari at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Bagheli". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Powari". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ ref=e18
  7. ^ ISO change request

External links

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