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Braj Bhasha

Braj Bhasa
ब्रज भाषा • ਬ੍ਰਜ ਭਾਸ਼ਾ
Native to India
Region Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Delhi
Native speakers
Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value).  (2001 census)[1]
Census results conflate some speakers with Hindi.[2]

Devanagari script

Gurmukhi script
Language codes
ISO 639-2 bra
ISO 639-3 bra
Glottolog braj1242[3]

Braj Bhasha (Devanagari: ब्रज भाषा) (Gurmukhi: ਬ੍ਰਜ ਭਾਸ਼ਾ), also called Brij Bhasha (बृज भाषा, ਬ੍ਰਿਜ ਭਾਸ਼ਾ), Braj Bhakha (ब्रज भाखा, ਬ੍ਰਜ ਭਾਖਾ), or Dehaati Zabaan (देहाती ज़बान, ਦੇਹਾਤੀ ਜ਼ਬਾਨ, 'country tongue'), is a Western Hindi language closely related to Hindustani. In fact, it is usually considered to be a dialect of Western Hindi, and along with Awadhi (a variety of Eastern Hindi) was one of the two predominant literary languages of North-Central India before the switch to Hindustani (Khariboli) in the 19th century.

Braj Bhasha is spoken by people in the nebulously defined region of Vraja Bhoomi, which was a political state in the era of the Mahabharata wars. According to ancient Hindu texts such as the Bhagavata Purana, the kingdom of King Kamsa is described as spreading through the Braj (also known as Vrija or Vraja), where the incarnation of Krishna was born and spent his childhood days. This region lies in the Agra-Mathura area, and stretches as far as the environs of Delhi. In modern India, this area lies mostly in northwestern Uttar Pradesh, the eastern extremities of Rajasthan i.e. Bharatpur & Dholpur and the southern extremities of Haryana. Northern regions of Madhya Pradesh like Morena are also included.[4] Today Braj Bhoomi can be seen as a cultural-geographical entity rather than a proper state. It is the vernacular of the region and boasts a rich culture and literature by famous poets like Surdas, Bhai Gurdas and Amir Khusro. Braj Bhasha is very close to Avadhi, spoken in neighbouring Avadh region.

Much of the Hindi literature was developed in Braj in the medieval period. However, today Khariboli dialect has taken its place as the predominant standard dialect of Hindi.

In modern India, Braj Bhasha exists as an unofficial dialect spoken colloquially by natives of the region of Braj Bhoomi, with great cultural and religious significance. Much of Hindi poetry, especially that of 'Bhakti' or devotional poetry is in this language. Some devotional poems for Krishna are also composed in Braj Bhasha. The pioneering Hindi poet Aamir Khusro, also spoke and composed poetry in this language. Famous Braj Bhasha folk songs or poems include Chhaap Tilak Sab Chheeni by Amir Khusro, and the popular devotional song, Main Naahin Maakhan Khaayo by Surdas. Braj Bhasha is also the main language of Hindustani classical music compositions. Braj Bhasha is not to be confused with Brajabuli, an artificial literary language developed by Bengali medieval poets under the influence of Maithili love poems of Radha and Krishna by the poet Vidyapati. Rabindranath Tagore wrote his first substantial poems titled Bhanusimha Thakurer Padabali in Brajabuli under the pseudonym Bhānusiṃha ("Sun Lion") at age sixteen. Similarly, Braj Bhasha is distinct from the Brajavali dialect of Assamese which is also related to Maithili.

Geographical distribution

Braj Bhasha is mainly a rural tongue currently, predominant in the nebulous Braj region centred on Mathura & Agra in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur & Dholpur in Rajasthan. It is the predominant language in the central stretch of the Ganges-Yamuna Doab in the following districts:

It stretches across the Ganges into the non-Doabi districts of Badaun and Bareilly and goes up to the foothills of Nainital at Udham Singh Nagar in Uttarakhand.

Besides Uttar Pradesh, it is spoken in the bordering areas of Rajasthan, mainly in the following districts:

as well as parts of Karauli, from where onwards it merges into Rajasthani languages.

It is also spoken in the areas of Utter Pradesh East of Utter Pradesh, mainly in Mathura district and eastern areas of Palwal and Noida districts. in Madhya Pradesh it is spoken in the districts of Bhind, Morena, Gwalior, and Shivpuri.[5] It is spoken in several villages of Mathura, specially in Vrindavan, Madhuvan, Kaman, Kosi Kalan, Baldeo, and all other villages belongs to Braj Area with Bajna, Surir, Bhidauni,


Most Braj Bhasha literature is of a mystical nature, related to the spiritual union of people with God, because almost all of the Braj Bhasha poets were considered God-realised saints and their words are thus considered as directly emanating from a divine source. Much of the traditional Northern Indian literature shares this trait. All traditional Punjabi literature is similarly written by saints and is of a metaphysical and philosophical nature.

Another peculiar feature of Northern Indian literature is that the literature is mostly written from a female point of view, even by male poets. This is because the saints were in a state of transcendental, spiritual love, where they were metaphorically women reuniting with their beloved. (In its inversion of the conventional genders of worshipper and worshippee, Maulana Da’ud's Chandayan departs from this tradition.)

Important works in Braj Bhasha are:

Sample sentences

Braj Bhasha Meaning
Kaha ja roye re? Where are you going?
kaha kar roye re? What are you doing?
tero kaha naam hai re? What is your name?
kaha kha khayo? What did you eat?
kaha hai roye? What's going on?
moye na pato. I don't know.
toy kaha dikat hai ? What is your problem?
kaha koye re ? What's the name of your place?
Ghar kon-kon hain? Who's at home?
tero ghar kaha hain? Where is your home?
Roti khali? Had your breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner?
kya hall-chal hai? How are you?
bataya toh tha I told you.
Ye meri chori hai. She's my daughter.
Ye humara chhora hai He's my son.
tu kab ayego ? When you will be coming?
Tera hi intzar kar rahe the. I was waiting for you.
Tera byaah ho raha h kya? Are you married?
Kunn si jagah ja rahe ho? Which place you are going to?
yaha aa/ullng ku aa ja. Come here.
hambe hanji Yes/no both with expression
kaha/kis jagah/kitku where.
chal chal te hai lets move
chup h ja silent
Namak diyo Give me salt
mere pass na hai I don't have
kaha ja roye re/kaha ja rahe ho? Where are you going?
ye bus kaha jayegi? Where will this bus go?
jyada mat bol don't speak too much

See also


Further reading

  • Rupert Snell, The Hindi Classical Tradition: A Braj Bhasa Reader 0728601753

External links