Khadi Boli Shabdkosh: Words from the Rich Dialect of Western Uttar Pradesh

Khadi Boli Shabdkosh: A "Lagan" Ceremony in Yahiyapur, Khatuali, Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh

Khadi Boli, also known as Khari Boli and Kauravi, is the local dialect spoken in Western Uttar Pradesh, some parts of Uttarakhand and also some parts of Haryana.

Khadi Boli (खड़ी बोली)

The dialect, Khadi Boli, uses strong sounds that may hammer some ears. A few examples:

  • We use “ण” and not “न” in most of the words. For instance, while referring to water, I’ll say “पाणी” and not “पानी.”
  • While asking who’s there in a room, I’ll say, ‘अरै, कौण है इस कमरे मैं?’ or ‘अरै, कूण है इस कमरे मैं?’, and not  ‘अरे, कौन है इस कमरे में?’
  • We address uncles as “चाच्चा,” and not “चाचा” as we do in common Hindi.

Khadi means standing, literally. And so “Khadi Boli” means “standing dialect” or “standing language” because one needs to put in a little extra effort to utter the words, which produces rustic, harsher sounds.

Khari Boli (खारी बोली)

The term “Khari Boli” is also commonplace because it sounds a bit “salty” (which it’s supposed to). And since “Khar” means salt, we can say Khari Boli makes one’s mouth taste kind of salty.

This “saltiness” makes it stand out from other dialects such as Brij Bhasha and Awadhi (the languages of the holy cities of Mathura and Ayodhya), also known as “पड़ी बोली,” (lying dialect or lying language)—because these dialects sound “sweeter” compared to Khari Boli.

Kauravi (कौरवी)

Kauravas, the sons of King Dhritarashtra and Queen Gandhari, spoke this language in Mahabharat times, hence the name “Kauravi.”

Most of the places related to Mahabharat are situated in or close to Western Uttar Pradesh—Hastinapur, ParikshitGarh, ShukraTal, Barnava, and Indraprastha (Delhi).

By the way, did you know there was a native Khadi Boli speaker in B.R. Chopra’s epic, Mahabharat?—Gajendra Chauhan—the actor who played “Yudhishthir.”

As we know, the Kauravas conspired to burn Pandavas alive, in a structure made of “Lakh,” known as “Lakshagrih,” when they were weathering their exile. The structure used is in Baraut, Baghpat (which happened to me by Nanihal).  The area Lakshagrih is situated is known as “Barnava,” and now it houses a Sanskrit Vidyapeeth/Mahavidyalaya.

Khadi Boli is NOT Haryanvi

Many people mistake Khadi Boli for Haryanvi—they assume that Khadi Boli and Haryanvi are two different names for one language.

No, they are not.

It’s true that people in some parts of Haryana also speak Khadi Boli, but that’s because those regions overlap, or are just a stone’s throw away from Western Uttar Pradesh. Bahalgarh, a locality in Sonipat, Haryana, for instance, shares its border with Baghpat district of Western UP, and hence, you’ll find people speaking “fusion” of both languages in this region.

No doubt, certain words are common in Khadi Boli and Haryanvi, but they are two distinct languages.

Be clear about this.

Khadi Boli is Spoken Across These Areas

In Western Uttar Pradesh or “Western UP,” as we lovingly call our state, Khadi Boli is spoken in many regions:

  • Lakshminagar (some people call it Muzaffarnagar)
  • Bijnore
  • Shamli
  • Saharanpur
  • Baghpat
  • Meerut
  • Ghaziabad
  • Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida)
  • Hapur
  • Bulandshahar, and surrounding areas.

I was born in a Parmar Rajput family in Yahiyapur, Lakshminagar (Muzaffarnagar), Western UP, and Khadi Bolli is my native language. Nope, that’s not a typo, the authentic pronunciation is Khadi Bolli (खड़ी बोल्ली) but to keep things simple, I shall address it as Khadi Boli only.

And now, here’s a fact every Hindi speaking person ought to know:

Khadi Boli is the mother of modern Hindi

Yes, today’s modern or standard Hindi is the child of the rich dialect we’re talking about.

Why I Started This Online Khadi Boli Resource

I’d given PD (Personality Development) classes at Subharti University, Meerut in March 2010, and noticed many students being uncomfortable with their own language—Khadi Boli.

Reason?

Some “high-society” folks consider Khadi Boli uncivilised and rude and arrogant, that’s why.

Well, the fact is, you can progress in your personal and professional life only if you are comfortable with your mother tongue. And what does it matter if you sound arrogant to some “over-sensitive” ears? Your life can never blossom unless you accept and own your language before you embrace any foreign language. Let me remind you how Shri Bhartendu Harishchandra had stated this universal truth:

निज भाषा उन्नति अहै, सब भाषा को मूल
बिन निज भाषा ज्ञान के मिटे न हिय को शूल

(The progress of one’s language is the key to all development. Without the proper knowledge of one’s mother tongue, one cannot feel expressed.)

Respect Your Language

If you can’t respect your own language—which you’ve inherited from your forefathers, then what’s the use of learning any other language. You see, it’s not about appearing civilised and “padha-likha” (educated), it actually is a question of honouring the very blood running through your veins.

Now, don’t even think of learning or expanding your knowledge of Khadi Boli by watching movies, especially “Omkara”—the film by Vishal Bhardwaj, who claimed he used Khadi Boli in the movie, unless you want to end up learning some idiotic, imaginary, and fake language.

I watched that movie, and it’s a freaking insult to the people and culture of Western Uttar Pradesh. But that’s just a movie, what harm could it possibly bring upon the language, right?

A lot.

You see, movies shape perceptions and narratives of the common masses. When general public watch such movies (and believe the claims made were true), they’re bound to assume the imaginary language used in the movie was the authentic one. And that’s unacceptable.

So, basically, I was sick and tired of the bullshit being spread by a bunch of ignorant people. And guess what, when I tried finding authentic Khadi Boli documentation online, there was none.

Isn’t that unfortunate?

I mean, the dialect that gave birth to today’s modern Hindi is so goddamn “unknown” that people can’t differentiate it from some made-up language?

Blunt, I may sound, but it’s the fault of native speakers of Khadi Boli and not others. The way many of us hide the fact that our mother tongue is one of the richest and colourful languages in the world is utterly shameful and disgusting.

Presenting “Khadi Boli Shabdkosh” (खड़ी बोली शब्दकोश)

When nobody dared to write a story you wanted to read, you write it yourself, right?

That’s what I did.

There was no Khadi Boli Shabdkosh or dictionary available on the internet, not that I knew of.

So, I started an article on my personal development blog—avdheshtondak.com—a collection of day to day Khadi Boli words, on 15th September 2011. Here’s how it looked:

Years went by, and what had started as a collection of a few words grew so large it needed its own separate space. And so…

On 5th November 2019, I founded “KhadiBoliShabdkosh.com.”

Khadi Boli Shabdkosh is the first and the only collection of authentic Khadi Boli words. I’ve kept this reference source in the public domain to benefit the masses. I’ll keep on adding more words and examples to this collection.

And I am glad to tell you that my hard work has started bearing fruits.

Khadi Boli Shabdkosh Is Making An Impact

Just the other day, a user posted a comment on my ‘Khadi Boli: How to Pronounce ‘Chhori‘ video on Youtube.

“Thank you so much …Aap bhot accha kaam kar rahe ho hamari sanskriti ko badhane k liye. Though I belong to Hapur. But I was raised in different parts of mp and chattisgarh because of my father’s job and my parents did not teach me khadi boli because they thought it’s uncivilised (I am very proud of my culture and mother tongue and would like to teach my kids). And I did not speak my mother tongue( and it hurt me alot that I don’t speak my mother tongue ) until I start to learn online. Your blog and channel helped me a lot. Thanks alot please upload some other videos too.and keep the good work on.”

Well, thank you for your kind words, dear.

How to Use this Shabdkosh

Click on the links to go directly to the corresponding pages. I’ve included the meaning of Khadi Boli words in Hindi and English wherever possible.

And I’ve also uploaded some audio examples to help you understand what does Khadi Boli sound like. It’s a fun language to learn. So enjoy the journey, and whenever you need a reference, come back again.

Khadi Boli Shabdkosh Links

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