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खड़ी बोली
Spoken in India
Region Northern India
Total speakers ca. 240 million in 1991 (180 million Standard Hindi and 60 million Urdu)
Language family Indo-European
Writing system Devanagari script, Nasta`liq script
Official status
Official language in  India
Regulated by Central Hindi Directorate (only in India)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-1 hi
ISO 639-2 hin
ISO 639-3 hin
Indic script
This page contains Indic text. Without rendering support you may see irregular vowel positioning and a lack of conjuncts. More...

Khariboli (also Khadiboli, Khadi-Boli, or Khari dialect, also known as Kauravi [2] (Devanagari: कौरवी); identified as Hindi by SIL Ethnologue), ([kʰəɽiː boːliː]; Hindi: खड़ी बोली, Urdu: کھڑی بولی, khaṛī bolī; lit. 'standing dialect'), native to western Uttar Pradesh and the Delhi region in India, is the prestige dialect of the Hindi-speaking states of India, and the basis of the officially approved versions of Hindi (Standard Hindi) and Urdu, which are grammatically identical to Khariboli.

Khariboli has four standardized registers: Standard Hindi, Urdu, Dakhini and Rekhta. Standard Hindi (also High Hindi, Nagari Hindi) is used as the lingua franca of Northern India (the Hindi belt), Urdu is the lingua franca of Pakistan, Dakhini is the historical literary dialect of the Deccan region, and Rekhta is a highly Persianized register of Urdu used in poetry.

These standard registers together with Sansiboli form the Hindustani dialect group. This group together with Haryanvi, Braj Bhasha, Kanauji and Bundeli forms the Western Hindi dialect group.


Geographical Distribution

Khariboli in its vernacular or rural form, also called as Kauravi by the linguist Rahul Sankrityayan is spoken in the north-western region of Uttar Pradesh. In the upper stretch of the Ganga-Yamuna Doab it is spoken in the following districts:

In the Doab it is also spoken in Haridwar, which currently lies under Uttarakhand.

Across the Ganga it is spoken in the following districts of Rohilkhand:

Early influences

The area around Delhi has long been the center of power in northern India, and naturally, the Khari-boli dialect came to be regarded as urbane and of a higher standard than the other dialects of Hindi. This view gradually gained ground over the 19th century; before that period, other dialects such as Avadhi, Brij Bhasha and Sadhukaddi were the dialects preferred by littérateurs.


The earliest examples of Khariboli can be seen in some of Kabir and Amir Khusro's lines. More developed forms of Khariboli can be seen in some mediocre literature produced in early 18th century. Examples are Chand Chhand Varnan Ki Mahima by Gangabhatt, Yogavashishtha by Ramprasad Niranjani, Gora-Badal ki katha by Jatmal, Mandovar ka varnan by Anonymous, a translation of Ravishenacharya's Jain Padmapuran by Daulatram (dated 1824).

In 1800, the British East India Company established a college of higher education at Calcutta named the Fort William College. John Borthwick Gilchrist, a president of that college, encouraged his professors to write in their native tongue; some of the works thus produced were in the Khari Boli dialect of Hindi. These books included Premsagar (Prem Sagur) by Lallu Lal[3]; Naasiketopaakhyan by Sadal Mishra; Sukhsagar by Sadasukhlal of Delhi and Rani Ketaki ki kahani by Munshi Inshallah Khan. Munshi Premchand, whose literature was created in the early 20th century, was one of the greatest of those who contributed to Hindi literature.

Earlier, the Khari-boli was regarded as a mixed brogue unworthy of being used in literature. However, under government patronage, it has flourished, even as older and previously more literary tongues such as Brij Bhasha, Maithili and Avadhi have declined to virtual non-existence as literary vehicles.


After India became independent in 1947, the Khari-boli dialect was officially recognized as the approved version of the Hindi language, which was declared as one of the official languages of the central government functioning.



Under the Indian government's encouragement, the officially sponsored version of the Khari-boli dialect has undergone a sea-change after it was declared the language of central government functioning in 1950. A major change has been the Sanskritisation of Hindi (introduction of Sanskrit vocabulary in Khariboli). Three factors motivated this conscious bid to sanskritize Hindi, being:

  • The independence movement inculcated a nationalistic pride in India's ancient culture, including its ancient classical language Sanskrit;
  • Independence was accompanied by partition along religious lines, with Muslim-majority areas seceding to form Pakistan, and a partial rejection of Persian and Arabic influence in the Hindu-majority areas; Saadat Hasan Manto, the Pakistani Urdu writer opposed to Hindi-Urdu divide, stated that the increased Sanskritisation of Hindi was probably a move towards establishing a distinct identity of the Hindi language.[4]
  • The people of south and east India were averse to the dominance of the language and culture of north India in the affairs of the country. The Hindu populations of these regions did not identify with Hindi itself or with the Mughal (Persian, Turkish) cultural influences that had shaped Hindi, but they were more receptive to Sanskrit. Sanskritization was thus viewed as a means to make Hindi more palatable as a national language. However, in the state of Tamil Nadu, there was strong anti-Brahmin sentiment and the Sanskrit language was associated with the Brahmins; therefore, the opposition to Hindi only became stronger, resulting in anti-Hindi agitations.

In its non-Sanskritized form, Khariboli is the normal and principal dialect used in the Hindi cinema. It is almost exclusively used in contemporary Hindi television serials, songs, education, and of course, in normal daily speech in almost all the urban regions of north India, wherever Hindi is also the state language. The rural dialect varies from region to region.


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