Brahui people

Brahui people
Brahui people of Quetta.jpg
A photograph from 1910 with the caption reading "Brahui of Quetta".
Total population
2.2 million
Regions with significant populations
 Pakistan,[citation needed] 2,066,000
 Afghanistan,[citation needed] 260,000
 Iran,[citation needed] 16,000

Brahui and Balochi


Sunni Islam (Hanafi)

Related ethnic groups

Balochis and Sindhis as well as Indo-Aryans, and Dravidians

The Brahui or Brohi (Brahui: براہوی) (Sindhi: بروہي ) are ethnic group of about 2.2 million people with the majority found in Kalat, Baluchistan, Pakistan, but they are also found in smaller numbers in neighboring Afghanistan and Iran. The Brahuis are almost entirely Sunni Muslims.[1]



The ethnonym "Brahui" is a very old term and a purely Dravidian one.[2] The fact that other Dravidian languages only exist further south in India has led to several speculations about the orgins of the Brahui. There are three hypotheses regarding the Brahui that have been proposed by academics. One theory is that the Brahui as a relic population of Dravidians, surrounded by speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, remaining from a time when Dravidian was more widespread. Another theory is that they migrated to Baluchistan from inner India during the early Muslim period of the 13th or 14th centuries.[3] More established theory says the Brahui migrated to Balochistan from central India after 1000 CE. The absence of any older Iranian (Avestan) influence in Brahui supports this hypothesis. The main Iranian contributor to Brahui vocabulary is a western Iranian language like Kurdish.[4]

The History of the Brahui emerges from total darkness with the displacement of a shadowy Hindu dynasty in Kalat called called Sewa by the Mirwari Brahuis. There is a Mughal interlude and then Brahui ascendancy again.[5]

It is said that a Hindu dynasty, the Sewa by name, ruled over this part of the country prior to the seventh century, Kalat is still known as Kalat-i-Sewa.[6]

Over the centuries, due to their location, the Brahui have mixed with Iranian peoples as well as the Sindhis, among other Indo-Aryan peoples. They culturally resemble their Baloch and Sindhi neighbors, although they still continue to speak their Brahui language.


Brahui-speaking Baloch tribes include the Mirwani, Bangulzai, Banulzai, Bizenjo, Khurasani, Kheazai, Langov, Lehri, Sarparah, Mengal, Muhammed Hasni, Muhammad Shahi, Raisani, Shahwani, Zagar Mengal, Sumulani, Yusufzai (Dehwar) Zarakzai (Zehri).[7]

Sasooli, Sataksai, Musiani, Qambarani, Rodeni, Jattak, Badini.


Dravidian ethnic groups in South Asia.

The Brahui language is a language within the Dravidian subgroup of languages.[2] While it does contain many similar words as the Iranic Baloch language, it also has many loan words from Indo-Aryan languages as well as the Dravidian words of its own. It is mainly spoken in the Kalat areas of Balochistan, Pakistan, although there are a considerable number of speakers in Southern Afghanistan and Iranian Balochistan. It includes three dialects including Sarawani (spoken in the north), Jhalawani (spoken in the southeast), and Chaghi (spoken in the northwest and west). According to a survey it has about 2,000,000 speakers in Pakistan (1998), 200,000 speakers in Afghanistan[8] and 20,000 speakers in Iran, which would amount to 2,220,000 in the world. Due to its isolation, Brahui's vocabulary is only 15% Dravidian, while the remainder is dominated by Perso-Arabic, Balochi, and Indo-Aryan, while the grammar and overall morphology still resemble other Dravidian tongues. Brahui is generally written in the Perso-Arabic script and there is even a Roman alphabet that has been developed for use with Brahui.


Kalat, Jhalawan, and Sarawan, with Kalat as the standard dialect. Presently Brahui is spoken in Sistan va Baluchestan, Pakistani Balochistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Sindh and the Persian Gulf Arab states.


  1. ^ Dictionary of Languages: The Definitive Reference to More Than 400 Languages. Columbia University Press. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  2. ^ a b Brahui, a Dravidian language: a descriptive and comparative study. Foreign Language Study. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  3. ^ [Sergent, Genèse de l'Inde]
  4. ^ J. H. Elfenbein, A periplous of the ‘Brahui problem’, Studia Iranica vol. 16 (1987), pp. 215-233.
  5. ^ Language and linguistic area: essays By Murray Barnson Emeneau, Selected and introduced by Anwar S. Dil, Stanford University Press. Page 334
  6. ^ Population Census Organisation, Statistics Division, Govt. of Pakistan, 1999, 1998 district census report of Kalat Page 7.
  7. ^ Infrastructure Project Development Facility: Balochistan
  8. ^ Dupree 1989: Afghanistan, p. 62

External links

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