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History and Literature of Khasha/Khah Language: An Overview

 


History and Literature of Khasha/Khah Language: An Overview

Dr. M. M. Sohil

Government High School Bohardar,

Ramsu, Ramban,

Jammu and Kashmir, India

Abstract

The subject and context of the study is to explore the length and breadth of the Khah or Khasha language with its history and literature. The language is spoken mainly in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and is used as mother tongue in ten to twelve districts of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Khasha or modern Khah language is an ancient language spoken since the settlement of Khasha and Kirates in Indian Subcontinents but it is lesser-known and is yet to explore by the linguistics and scholars. The language is spoken in various parts of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The literary work on this language starts in the twentieth century; linguists, scholars and poets have contributed. The history and literature written on Khasha language is yet to explore. The history of the Khasha tribe is an ancient history of Indian civilization which is stored in the great historical books like Mahabharata, Nilmata Purana, Rajtarangini, etc. The roots of Khasha or Khah language are being found in Sanskrit and Persian languages. The geographical expansion of the tribe is scattered over the different parts of the Indian Continent as well but the languages have been used differently. Historians and Linguists have worked on its historical content and are working on its grammar and other form of literature. There are some great scholars like Nilmata, Kalhana, Bamzia, Bailey, George Grison, Verma, Koul, S.P Vaid, Mehga Sharma, Bright Bill, Turner, Iqbal Naik, Nazir, Dhar, M.M Sohil, and Shakeel Sohil who have contributed towards the literature of this language. The available literature regarding this language is written in English, Urdu and in Khah language. Linguists, scholars, local writers and poets have contributed to this language in different forms. This language has not its own orthographic system but it has adopted the Arabic, Urdu, and Kashmiri orthographic system. Historically this language was spoken along with ancient languages like Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Persian. The present status of this language is that scholars are working on its grammar, dictionary, and glossary. The study will focus on its historical examination and the availability of literature on Khasha or Khah language. It can be expected that this research paper would provide some new insights regarding its history and literature which will be helpful to the readers.

Keywords: History, Literature, Khah, Khasha, Language, Historian and Linguists.

Introduction

Khah language is an Indo Aryan language spoken by Khasha tribe. It is an ancient language spoken in most of the districts of Jammu province and in three to four districts of Kashmir. (Sohil, M M, English and Khah Language: Philological Study across Chenab Valley Jammu and Kashmir, 2020, P 121)

According to the Rajataragini” “The Khasa tribe occupied the areas to the south and west of the Pir Pantsal range between the middle course of the Vitasta in the west and Kastavata in the east”. It is understood that the early inhabitants of the Pir Panchyal region were Khasha and their language was Khah/Khasha. The area occupied by the Khasha tribe in ancient times was from Kashmir to Nepal and particularly the area of Pir Panchayal which include the some districts of Jammu province like Rajapori (Rajouri) Purnutsa (Punch), Laharekota, Budhal (Pangabar) Dengbhatal (Gool) Kashtawata (Kishtawar) Vanshalla (Banihal)

According to Bamzia “The rulers of Rajauri are also mentioned as lord of Khasas in Rajatatrangini”. Bamzia has mentioned in a book titled Culture and History of Kashmir, Volume I, 1994 on 42 that Khasha/Khah tribe is an ancient and were early inhabitants of Kashmir Valley.  The country of Khasas is said to have also comprised the Valleys lying to the west of Pir Panchal Range between the middle course of Vitasta (Jehlum), in the west and Kast – Vata in the East.  (Shakeel Sohil, History of Khah…P, 472). Shakeel Sohil has described that Khasha/Khah people has expanded population and geographical boundaries.

Objectives of the Study

v  To highlight the history of the tribe (Khasha/Khah) since the Aryan migration to India and give the historical background of the tribe and explore the realities about the real heroes of this region.

v  To examine short purview of Khasha Kingdoms across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

v  To analysis the history of language spoken in the area where Khasha tribe resides.

v  To give an overview of Khasha/Khah language literature.

Historical Perspectives on Khasha/Khah Tribe

Historically it is proved that Khasha tribe is one of the ancient tribe in the Indian civilization. According to historians and scholars the people before 3rd millennium BC in India were known as Khasas/Khasha/Khas/Khah and were also known as Aryans. It is proved by analyzing the historical records that Khasha people were known as Aryans who had migrated from central Asia to India before 3300 BC. After migration they started to settle down from Nepal to Kashmir. Along with the civilization and population of tribes these people got scattered on different parts in Himalayan belt. Sohil M M in his research paper stated that the “History is the store house of facts about people, their language culture, traditional custom, and values. The history of Khasas tribe is mentioned in Mahabharata in the English version by Roy on page number 22 and 253 as warriors and had fought Kurukshetra war with Cauranas defeated Koles.”

Dr Ved Kumari has described in Nilmat Puran Vol. 1. that “The country of Khasas is said to have also comprised the Valleys lying to the west of Pir Panchal Range between the middle course of Vitasta (Jehlum), in the west and Kast – Vata in the East. The Puranic references obviously show that they were more than one settlement of Khashas”. The present scenario of Khasha tribe is that they have occupied vast geographical areas in Jammu and Kashmir but are ignored and unexplored.

Historical Kingdoms of Khasha/Khah in Pir Panchyal area of Jammu and Kashmir

The Khasa tribe occupied the areas to the south and west of the Pir Pantsal range between the middle course of the Vitasta in the west and Kastavata in the east. (Ved Ghai, The Nilamata purana, vol.1, P 74)

Nilmata Purana is the first historical book written in Sanskrit language by Nilmata Pandit. Nilmata had mentioned the Khahsas as the Nation along with the other nations of the Himalayan belt. This is the first text that had written on the early tribal people and inhabitants. It is believed that this text was written between sixth to eighth centuries. Sanskrit language came into use during 1500 to 1400 BC as per the historian this language was used in the territory since the ages. So the very first and second historical books written on Jammu and Kashmir were in Sanskrit language. These books have been translated into Persian language and then Urdu, Hindi, and English languages. According to Rajataragini there were various Kingdoms in different areas of Jammu and Kashmir. Rajataragini has mentioned names of different lords and their kingdoms, lord Bhagik, lord Dengpal, lord Tikka, lord Rajpal, lord Budhupal, etc. of Rajapori (Rajouri) Purnutsa (Punch), Laharekota, Budhal (Pangabar) Dengbhatal (Gool) Kashtawata (Kishtawar) Vanshalla (Banihalla). Historians and scholars are of the opinion that this historical book written on the political system of Jammu and Kashmir from 14th to 15th century is one of the big source of history and culture of the people of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Pir Panchyal area is mentioned as one of the biggest area that had occupied by Khasha lords in Jammu and Kashmir.

History of Khasha/Khah Language

Khasha or Khah language is an Indo Aryan Language which is related to Sanskrit, Prakrit and Persian and is very similar to Kashmiri and Urdu. It was spoken by the Kashtariya and Yoddhas (Warriors) or Kush or Khasha who were also ruled as Kings and their language was Khasha “modern Khah”. (Sohil M M, Case Study on Khah Language, P 322)

Language is a source of communication by which a person can convey messages and transmit ideas. Man is man by the use of language only. To understand the history and literature of a language of a community or a social group we have to study the history of that community or that social group in the context. History of the language is the history of the people who use language for the purpose of communication. Khah language was ignored and unexplored in the context that the not any printed matters have been found in this language. Historically and Geographically the Khasha tribe has an important place in various books written in the ancient times. Geographically the tribe has occupied the most important mountainous areas of the Pir Panchayal located in the Himalayan belt. In the historical and geographical context Khasha modern Khah language is has an important place because the area is civilized by these people living in such areas in the Pir Panchyal. History is witnessed for their existence in the Jammu and Kashmir particularly in the Pir Panchyal area. It is obvious that the Khashas were the early inhabitants of this region and they had even ruled over Kashmir nearly 214 years as lords of the Valley Kashmir. It can be understood that the language of the tribe is as ancient as their presence in the areas. Khasha or modern Khah language is an ancient language of the Khasha people and it is used by the early inhabitants along with the Sanskrit, Prakrit, Persian and other language of that times. According to Brightbill and Turner Khasha language is the language of an ancient tribe lived in Pir Panchyal area. They both have proved that there are common features of Khasha/Khah language in all Pahari dialects spoken across the Jammu region.

Naik Iqbal a local writer and linguist wrote a book titled “Pogali Zubaan Ka Sutyati Nizaam” (Phonetic System of Language) published in 2005. He has described that the Khah language is an ancient language spoken by the Khasha tribe across the territory of Jammu and Kashmir. According to Mega Sharma the Khasas are mentioned alongside the Kulutas, the Tanganas and the Kashmiras in Brhat Samhita. It can be safely concluded that this tribe is a hilly tribe and was in close proximity to the region of Kashmir which could be make out from the constant references given in Rajatarangini.

Sohil Shakeel in one of his article titled The History of Panchali (Poguli/Khah) Language and its Areas stated on page no 472 that “Khah, Katwal, Khokar etc. are some of the surnames of Khasha Tribe from these references it becomes clear, that Khasha/Khah was a tribe and it is the because of their living in these areas that the language was called Khah or Khashali”. Khasha/Khah. Khasha/Khah language is lesser known language of the ancient tribe and it is unexplored. Linguists and scholars of languages are working on it and are contributing to its literature.

An Overview on Khasha/Khah Literature

There are various forms of literature available in Khasha or Khah language like we have books on phonetics, books on history, poetry, prose, short stories, folksongs, folklores, and some work is also found on the grammar. (M M Sohil, Khah Language and its Documentation… PP, 200)

The word literature is derived from the Latin word “literature” which means written or spoken material. There are different forms of literature written or spoken we have literature of history, literature of language literature about tribe and its politics, literature of poetry, folk literature, folklore and songs. Khasha/Khah tribe has rich historical literature and other forms of literature including poetry, folk songs, folklore, verbal as well as written. Work on Khasha/Khah literature begun in the twentieth century some linguists have contributed to its grammar and other form of literature. Khasha/Khah Literature is available in different forms like language literature, prose writings, poetry, songs, folklore, and folk songs.

Documentation work on Khasha or Modern Khah language is not explore and is required to analyses in the light of literature, its grammar, poetry, and other forms of literature. Linguists, writers, scholars, poets and singers, prose writers, are contributing to its literature a parts from this there are folksongs, folklores, and translation works in Khasha/Khah language. These forms of literature are yet to explore. In Khah language Grammar has been published by Shakeel Rahi Sohilpori in 2020. Research work is going on its history, language, grammar and literature. Following are books written in English, Urdu, and in Khasha/Khah language 

Ø  The Languages of the Northern Himalayas: Being Studies in the Grammar of Twenty Six Himalayan dialects by Grahame Bailey 1908.

Ø  Survey of Indian Languages by G.A Grierson 1906.

Ø  The Linguistic Classification of Kashmiri.

Ø  The Dialects of Khasali Group by Varma Siddheshwar, 1938.

Ø  Pahari and Other Tribal Dialects of Jammu by Koul PK, 2006.

Ø  Linguistic Survey on Kashmiri Dialects Part 11, 2012.

Ø  Himalayan Languages and Linguistics: Studies in Phonology, Semantics, Morphology and Syntax.

Ø  A Note on Khah Morphological, by Nazir Ahmed Dhar, 2013.

Ø  Aspects of Kashmiri Linguistics by Omkarnath Koul.

Ø  A Sociolinguistic Survey of the Dogri Language, Jammu and Kashmir by Brightbill and Turner.

Ø  Mallo Nakwoon Tanqeed Te Tehqeek by Prof Shad.

Ø  Phulhaar by Naik Hussain, 2017.

Ø  Phonetic System of Language (Pogali Zubaan Ka Sutiyaati Nizaam) by Mohd Iqbal Naik 2005.

Ø  Phulwan Goosh by Masror Ghalum Abass, 2008.

Ø  Nov Bahaar by Shakeel Rahi Sohilpori

Ø  Khah Haraph Zaan by Shakeel Rahi Sohilpori

Ø  Grammar of Khah Language Volume 1, by Shakeel Rahi Sohilpori

Ø  Tareek Neel by Abdul Rehman Sohil

Research Articles by Mohd Muzamil Sohil (M M Sohil)

1.      Khah as a Rural Dialect Spoken in Chenab Valley, 2016.

2.      Usage of Verbs in Khah Dialect: A Comparative Study 2016.

3.      Original and Inherent Name of Kashmiri Dialect, 2017.

4.      Extraction and words Influential Study in Pogali Jubaan ka Sutiyatey Nizaam by Mohd Iqbal Naik, 2017.

5.      Case Study on Khah Language, 2020.

6.      English and Khah Language: Philological Study across Chenab Valley Jammu and Kashmir, 2020.

7.      Khah Language and its Documentation: An Ancient Language Spoken in Jammu and Kashmir. 2020.

Research Articles by Shakeel Rahi Sohilpori

1.      The History of Panchali (Poguli/Khah) Language and Its Areas, 2017.

2.      Influence of Persian on Panchali (Poguli/Khah) Language, 2017.

3.      Phonological Study of the Panchali (Poguli/Khah) Language, 2017.

4.      Sanskrit Elements in Panchali (Pguli/Khah) Language, 2017.

5.      Rasmul Khaat (The Alphabets of Khah Language) 2018.

Poets in Khasha/Khah Language

Hussain Naik published in 2017 in a book titled Phulhaar.

v   Khah Zubaan

v  Anul Haq

v  Moen Watan

Masrar Ghalum Abass, his poem have been published in Pholwan Gosh in 2008,

v   Jigar Jaan.

v  Bewafa.

v  Yadaak.

v  Bajwal.

Some poems by Iqbal Naik (a linguist and a poet) in Khah language are:

v  Ihna Mazar.

v  Dard Mohabat.

v  Lokzan.

v  Saqi Nama.

Poems written in Khah language by Mohd Sharief Malik are:

v  Corona Virus,

v  Jordros Jord.

v  Duniya thi Tarani Doo Bye Ho.

Ghalum Mohammad Bali a poet has written several poems like:

v  Ramban Zela Seon Puraon Naam.

v  Ajaok Nawjawaan Zindigi.

v  Khari Seon Pore Naam.

v  Khah Zubaan thi Aseye Zindigi.

M M Sohil is historian, scholar, writer and poet of Khah language, he has written some poems and a beautiful satire in Khah language. His poems are:

v  Raey Gamat Mohabat

v  Dostan Tanaz

v  Gazele Mosalsal.

Hashmatullah is a young poet who has written some beautiful poems like:

v  Madhari Zubaan and Kerri Haq Ada.

Abdul Rehman Sohil, Naik, Farooq Nadim, Ghalum Mohad Bulbul, we have some folklores, prose works, and folksongs. We have poets and singers like Ameen Banihal - singer and poet, and Abdul Majeed - poet and singer, some young new generation poets are Nazir Bali Neel, Ameen Madnihally, Shajaan Neelvi, Sharief Sheria, Rahi Shakeel, Ghalam Nabi Bulbul from Khari, Rahi Yousf, Hamraz Shahbaz, Yousef Ahmed Yousef Khari, Ahmed Aijaz Naik, etc. Above mentioned poets and writers are writing in Khah language and in Urdu language. We have writers who write in English language and these are Mohd Iqbal Naik, M M Sohil and Shakeel Rahi Sohilpori.

Prose Writers and Translators

In the twenty-first century some writers have contributed towards the prose literature in Khah language. We have some prose works by local writers in the Khah language.

The below mentioned prose works have been published in a book titled Pholwaan Gosh by Masrar Ghalum Abass in 2008 Kohistan Bazme Adab.

v  Purdah,

v  Moen Watan,

v  Gulistan Neel, 40 Hadiths,

v  Teprari,

v  Kut Karam, Armaan,

v  Shaaman

We have translators and prose writers who can translate English into Urdu language, Urdu, into English, Arabic into Khasha/Khah, Urdu into Khasha/Khah, Arabic into Urdu, Khasha/Khah and Urdu into English. In Khasha or modern Khah language we have writers and translators likewise,

Ø  Madni Nazir Ahmed who has deliver lectures in Khah language which are available on YouTube Channel “The Khah World” created and run by Idrees Ahmed.

Ø  Hafiz Mohammad Yousef, M A Malik, and Qasmi Surtaj

It can be verified that there are other writers who translate English, Urdu, Arabic and Khah languages into English and English Urdu into Khah language and these translators are:

Ø  Naik Mohd Iqbal Urdu, who translates, Khah, and Urdu into English and English and Urdu into Khah,

Ø  Madni Nazir Ahmed an Islamic scholar who translates Arabic language into Khah and Urdu language,

Ø  M M Sohil a scholar, historian and a poet, who translates Urdu and Khah languages into English language, and

Ø  Sohil Skakeel a scholar, linguist, and a poet who translates Urdu, Persian, Khah into English, Urdu, and Khah languages.

Social Media and Literarily Movements in Khahsa/ Khah language

Khasha Bazm Adab was founded in 2000 for the promotion of mother tongue in district Ramban. In this association there were several members who contributed for the culture and language development in the said district. This Bazm Adab was headed by Masroor Ghalum Abass, Sadiq Ahmed, Farooq Nadim, Mohd Yousef and other members as well.

Khah Writers Association it is founded by the scholars and writers of Khasha/Khah language speakers in 2020. Writers and poets of Khah language are working under this banner for the cause, development and its culture. There are different groups on social media like: WhatsApp group, FaceBook group, and YouTube Channel named The Khah World created and runn by Idress Naik. WhatsApp and FaceBook groups have created and run by Shakeel Rahi for the promotion of culture and language of Khasha tribe across the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Papers Presentation of Khah Language in National and International Conferences

1.      National Research Conference, (Literature & Rural Life) 19th – 20th 2016. Jointly Organized by Shabd-Braham Association & School of Comparative Languages and Culture Devi Ahilya University, Indore, “Khah as a rural Dialect Spoken in Chenab Valley. (J&K), presented by M M Sohil.

2.      4th “ICOLLITE” International Conference on Language, Literature, Culture, and Education, Multiliteracies, Multiculture and Lingua Franca: Contemporary Perspectives in Language and Literature Studies organized by Faculty of Language and Literature Education, Univeritas Pendidikan Indonesia, Bandung, on 31 August 2020. Case Study on Khah Language, presented by M M Sohil.

3.      4th “ICOLLITE” International Conference on Language, Literature, Culture, and Education, Multiliteracies, Multiculture and Lingua Franca: Contemporary Perspectives in Language and Literature Studies organized by Faculty of Language and Literature Education, Univeritas Pendidikan Indonesia, Bandung, on 31 August 2020. English and Khah Language: Philological Study across Chenab Valley Jammu and Kashmir, presented by M M Sohil.

4.      International Conference on Literature, Society & the Global Media ICLSGM–2020 Date 26 & 27 Sept 2020 Jointly organized by Research Culture Society, Agra College, Uttar Pradesh India & Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka. Presentation Session-4 on 27 2020, Khah Language and its Documentation: An Ancient Language Spoken in Jammu and Kashmir, presented by M M Sohil.

5.      International Conference on Languages and One Day International Workshop organized by Tezpur Central University, Centre for Endangered Languages. 19 February, 2021 Pre-conference Workshop on Developing an Orthography: Issues and Challenges Under Northeast Endangered Languages Documentation Project Funded by North Eastern Council (NEC) Paper presented by Shakeel Sohil topic Comparative Study of Chinab Valley Dialects with Khah Language, Chaired by Dr. Babita Sarangthem, Session 1A, Date and Timing  20.02.2021 11:00-11:20

6.      International Conference on Languages and One Day International Workshop organized by Tezpur Central University, Centre for Endangered Languages. 19 February, 2021 Pre-conference Workshop on Developing an Orthography: Issues and Challenges Under Northeast Endangered Languages Documentation Project Funded by North Eastern Council (NEC) Paper presented by M M Sohil topic Ecolinguistic perspectives on Khah or Khasha language spoken in Jammu and Kashmir, Chaired by Prof. Kavita Rastogi Session 1B, Date and Timing  20.02.2021 11:00-11:20.

7.      International Conference on Languages and One Day International Workshop organized by Tezpur Central University, Centre for Endangered Languages. 19 February, 2021 Pre-conference Workshop on Developing an Orthography: Issues and Challenges Under Northeast Endangered Languages Documentation Project Funded by North Eastern Council (NEC) Paper presented by M M Sohil topic History and literature of Khah or Khasha language: An overview, Chaired by Dr. Amalesh Gope Session 1A, Date and Timing  20.02.2021 03:30-03:50.

Research Methodology

In this research paper descriptive and analytical type of methods have been implemented to explore and analyze the data about Khasha/ Khah history, language, and literature. The primary and secondary data have been analyzed in order to examine and verify the history of language, tribe, and literature. The research is based on descriptive facts and its analysis on history, literature and language of Khasha modern Khah people across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Conclusion

In the concluding part we can verify that the history of Khasha or modern Khah language is an ancient history of the tribe mentioned in various historical books. The tribe is one of the dominant tribe in the Pir Panchyal area of the territory and has occupied the most mountainous area of the Jammu province. The people reside here used Khasha language as their mother tongue, it is also understood that these people are also utilizing Urdu, Punjabi language as their mother tongue across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The history of the language is the history of people who share and convey social, cultural aspects within or with each other. It is proved by analyzing the primary and secondary data available in this language that it was spoken with the ancient languages of the Indian subcontinent. Culturally and socially Khasha or modern Khah people are very rich and unique their intelligibility is more than any tribe in the territory. The language and its literature are rich in its different forms. But the problem is that this language is lesser known and less explored. The Khasha/ Khah language is as rich and old as the tribe is in the Pir Panchyal region of Jammu and Kashmir. The subject of the context is to explore its history and literature in the light of Nilamata Purana, Rajataragini and other historical books written on and about this tribe and their language.

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