Braj Bhasha

Braj Bhasha
Brij Bhasa
ब्रज भाषा
Spoken in India
Region Uttar Pradesh
Native speakers 11,085,230  (date missing)
Language family
Writing system Devanagari script
Language codes
ISO 639-2 bra
ISO 639-3 bra

Braj Bhasha (Devanagari: ब्रज भाषा), also called Brij Bhasha (बॄज भाषा), Braj Bhakha (ब्रज भाखा), or Dehaati Zabaan (देहाती ज़बान, 'country tongue'), is a Central Indian language closely related to Hindi. In fact it is usually considered to be a dialect of Hindi, and along with Awadhi was one of the two predominant literary languages of North-Central India before the switch to 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 and the southern extremities of Haryana. 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. Brij Bhasha is very close to Avadhi, spoken in neighbouring Avadh region.

Much of the Hindi literature was developed in Brij 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 Aamir Khusro, and the popular devotional song ,"Main naahin maakhan khaayo" by Surdas. Braj Bhasha is also the main language of Hindustani classical music compositions.


Geographical distribution

Braj Bhasha is mainly a rural tongue currently, predominant in the nebulous Braj region centred around Mathura & Agra in Uttar Pradesh and Dholpur & Bharatpur 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 Haryana south of Delhi, mainly in Faridabad district and eastern areas of Gurgaon and Mewat districts.


Studying Braj Bhasha literature, it can be noticed that most of the literature is of a mystical nature, related to the spiritual union of man with God. This is not at all surprising since virtually all of the poets were God-realised saints and their words are thus considered to be directly emanated from a divine source. Much of 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 Brij bhasha are:

See also


External links


Further reading

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

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Braj — (also known as Brij or Brajbhoomi) is a region in Uttar Pradesh of India. Braj, though never a clearly defined political region in India but is very well demarcated culturally, is considered to be the land of Krishna and is derived from the… …   Wikipedia

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  • Surdas — (1479 1586) [ [ surd.htm Postage stamp on Surdas issued by Govt. of India] ] was a Hindu devotional poet, singer, and a saint (sant), who followed the Shuddhadvaita school of Brahmavada. He was a desciple of… …   Wikipedia

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