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Regional Languages of Pakistan

Regional Languages of Pakistan

Introduction

Pakistan is a multi-lingual country. No less than twenty-four languages and dialects are spoken by the people of Pakistan, But mainly include five regional languages Punjabi, Sindhi, Baluchi, Brahvi and Kashmiri. These languages are rich in literature, poetry, folksongs, spiritual sayings of their respective saints and contribute greatly to the culture of Pakistan.

The regional languages though distinct from one another in their forms, dialects and expressions of thoughts, have several common factors in them. They cultivate in them love, respect and a firm adherence to the Pakistan Ideology. The regional languages of Pakistan are:

Punjabi

Punjabi is the language of the province ‘Punjab’. It has its links with the Aryan language Prakrit. However as time rolled on the vocabulary of Punjabi language became a mixture of Persian, Arabic and Turkish words. It has different dialects in different parts of Punjabi like ‘Saraiki’ and ‘Potohari’ but the basic language remains the same.

Punjabi is rich in mystical and romantic poetry. The highly imaginative and artistic exquisite literature, mostly in verse has two forms one is “Lyric Poetry” which includes Bait, Kafi, Si-harfi, Bara Mah and Satwara the other one is “Narrative Poetry”  which is composed of various rhythms and meters. Examples are Qissa Noor Namah, Gulzar, Jang Nama and Vaar.

Famous Punjabi Poets

Some of the famous poets of Punjabi language are:

·        Baba Farid Shakar Ganj Baksh

·        Shaikh Ibrahim Farid Shani

·        Madholal Hussein

·        Sultan Bahu

·        Bullay Shah

·        Ali Haider

·        Waris Shah

Sindhi

Sindhi is one of the important regional languages of Pakistan. It appears that Sindhi was spoken in the Indus Delta from time immemorial. It is said that the language of the people of Moen-jo-Daro contained elements of the present Sindhi language.

The origin of this language is not exactly known. However, travelers like Al Beruni have told us about the original script of the language. ‘Chach Nama’ being an authentic document proves that the dialect of the Sindhi language was the same in the 12th century, as it is today. With the advent and influence of Arabs in the Sub Continent Sindhi changed its form and adopted maximum words of Arabic and also of Persian and Turkish.

Famous Sindhi Poets

Some of famous Sindhi Poets are:

·        Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai

·        Sachal Sarmast

·        Makhdoom Noor

·        Shah Inayat

·        Bedil

·        Sabit Ali Shah

·        Kazi Kazah

Steps Taken to Develop Sindhi

Various steps have been taken to develop Urdu. Organizations like ‘Sindhi Literary Board’ and ‘Bazm-e-Talib-ul-Maula’ etc were set up. Several newspaper being published in Sindhi, such as IbratNaw-i-Sind  and “Khadim-I-Watan  besides a number of Weeklies.

Baluchi

Baluchi is the regional language of Baluchistan. It is the least developed of all the regional languages. It was spread by Baluchi tribal migrated from Iran.

The history of Baluchi literature may be divided into four periods:

1.      Early Medieval Period – 1430 to 1600

2.      Later Medieval Period -  1600 to 1850

3.      Modern Period – 1850 to 1930

4.      Contemporary Period – 1930 up to date

Literature produced by earlier poets has no record as it is preserved traditionally in the memories of the people. No newspapers or books were published in Baluchi up till 1940. After partition, however Baluchi literature received a little boost due to the efforts made by many associations and by the establishment of T.V stations. At present, Baluchi literature is on the road to development.

Types of Baluchi

There are two types of Baluchi namely:

1.      Sulemani

2.      Makrani

Famous Poets of Baluchi

Some of the most literary figures are:

·        Azad Jamaldini

·        Ulfat Naseem

·        Abdul Qadir Shahwani

·        Malik Mohammed Ramzan

·        Mir Aaqil Maingal

Well known poets of Baluchi language are:

·        Jam Darag

·        Shah Murid

·        Shahdad

Pushto

Pushto is the regional language of the N.W.F.P and tribal areas. It belongs to the East Iranian group of languages and contains many Persian, Arabic, Greek and Pehlevi words.

Steps Taken to Develop Pushto

Although Pushto is an old language but its literature is comparatively new one. After independence education spread rapidly and Pushto literature received a great boost. The Pushto Academy Peshawar and other literary societies and educational institutions such as Islamia College (Peshawar) helped the growth of Pushto literature.

Famous Pushto Poets

Some of the well know poets of Pushto language are:

·        Amir Karoro

·        Khushal Khan Khatak

·        Rehman Baba

·        Sher Shah Soori

·        Saif ullah

·        Kazim Kazim

Brahvi

Brahvi is the next spoken language of Baluchistan. In fact it is said to be spoken by a greater number of people than Baluchi. The Brahvi language is said to be a member of Dravidian family of languages. It has borrowed heavily from Sindhi, Persian, Arabic and English but remains in an unexplained isolation among the Indo-Iran dialects.

Brahvi literature has a vast treasure of folklores. It’s script has borrowed much from Pushto script. Malik Dad was a great poet and learned person of Brahvi language.

Kashmiri

Kashmiri is the language of the people of inhabitting the occupied Kashmire and Azad Kashmir. This language has been derived from Sanskrit. Kashmiri is generally spoken in Muslim families of the valley. It contains many Turkish, Arabic and Persian words, and is written in the Persian Script.

Kashmiri like all the regional languages of Pakistan, had its early literature flowered in the form of poetry, which began with the composition of folk songs and ballads.

Kashmiri Literary Figures

Famous authors of Kashmiri language are:

·        Sh. Nooruddin

·        Khatoon Lillah Anifa

·        Baba Nasiruddin

·        Ghani

Conclusion

The regional languages of Pakistan- Punjabi, Pushto, Sindhi, Brahvi and Baluchi are the most modern Pakistani languages. They have several common features and their literature bears the same eternal message for mankind. Government has been doing its best to develop the regional languages.

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