The Language called 'Siraiki'
to the partition of India, the ‘Siraiki’
language was mainly spoken in undivided Punjab.
After the partition, many’ Siraiki’ speaking
people migrated to India, but in Pakistan this
Siraiki language was developed to a great
In India, too, programmes are arranged under the
auspices of Siraiki Sahitya Sangam’ of Delhi,
for the development of Siraiki. In this
connection a gathering of poets of Siraiki was
being arranged on 12th of March 2006 at Delhi.
I had an opportunity to talk to Dr.
Jagdishchandra Batra, the president of Siraiki
Sahitya Sammelan’, and to know his views about
the history of Siraiki language.
Dr. Batra explained me that Siraiki is like
Sanskrit and other Indian languages, having an
ancient history and tradition. This language was
spoken principally at Multan, hence it is also
called as ‘Multani’. At present where there are
centres of Siraiki’ there are centres of Indus
Valley culture also.
The great formulator of ‘ Yogic Sciences
Patanjali and the famous grammarian ‘Panini’
were experts of the Siraiki language. Today the
prominent centres where Siraiki language is
spoken in Pakistan are ‘ Muzaffergarh, Dera Gazi
Khan, Dera Ismail Khan, Zang, Miyanwali, Kohat,
Bahawalpur, Rahimyar Khan, Jacobabad, Sarvar and
The number of people who have settled India
after partition and those who speak Siraiki is
20 million or even more.
Even as on today, the Siraiki speaking people
during their various festivals, Sing Multani
songs, folklores, and special music in the
forms called ‘Dohade, Tappe, Mahiye & Dhalle;
this way they have retained the Siraiki culture.
The Christian missionaries, who arrived in
India, translated the Holy Bible, first in
Siraiki language only.
In the 19th century, Mr. Oberine, the then
British commissioner of Multan, was highly
impressed by the Siraiki Language as spoken in
Multan and he published a book elaborating the
richness of that language. Mr. Pearson, a
British scholar has mentioned that the Siraiki
language was spoken on both the banks of river
Sindhu in the North side.
This language is also known as ‘Sindhavi’ and
Lehenda’. Originally, the Siraiki language had
its own script. It was also known as ‘Lehenda
Script. In Pakistan, the ‘Siraiki’ ‘Language is
written in Persian script only, in India,
however, many senior citizens can read and write
the ‘Lehenda’ script.
The famous linguist. Dr. Vazir Aga, opines that
the language, the gypsies of Europe speak is
originated from Siraiki. Perhaps, these Gypsies
have migrated to Europe in the 11th century from
the province, where Siraiki was spoken and this
could be the result of it. The chasht-e-Punjabi
as spoken these days is a dialect of Siraiki
An expert and an authority on the ‘Siraiki’
language, Dr. Shaukat Mughal of Pakistan is of
the opinion that the language, referred to; by
Abul Fazal in ‘ Ain-e-Akabari’ and which was
spoken in the valley of River Sindhu in Multan
is none other than Siraiki. According to Dr.
Batra, the Siraiki spoken around Lahore has a
great influence of Sanskrit and the Punjabi,
spoken there has influence of Persian. The rules
of grammar of Siraiki are similar to that of
Sanskrit. But now that in Pakistan, Siraiki is
only spoken, but not written, the school
textbooks are not in Siraiki.
In India, about 20 million people speak Siraiki.
The no of Siraiki speaking people is even more
beyond the borders.
All these Siraiki speaking people have forged an
United Front and have put forward a demand for
independent ‘ Siraikistan’. They have also
proposed that the National language of Pakistan
must be ‘Siraiki’. In India, tlie programmes in
Siraiki are regularly broadcast from Jalandhar
and Suratgarh centres of all India Radio.
Some Baloch from Baluchistan speak Siraiki.
Similarly in the North West of Sindh also,
Siraiki. is widely-spoken. Dr. Jagdishchandra
Batra hails originally from Muzaffergarh in
Pakistan. He mentions mat ‘Basant Panchami’ was
the festival of Siraiki speaking people. Today
‘Basant Panchami’ has become the National
Festival of Pakistan. Some of the prominent
Sirnames of Siraiki speaking people are ‘
Bhatiya, Aroda, Narang, Batra, Chawla, Nagpal
Siraiki language has a rich tradition of
literature, says Dr. Batra. He further mentions
that Damodar authored an epic ‘Heer Ranza’ in
Siraiki in the 12th century. Siraiki boasts of a
long tradition of talented and gifted
literateurs Baba Farid and Shah Hussein have
given some beautiful compositions in Siraiki.
Following is an excellent specimen of the
poetry of Shah Hussein.
Even as on today also, in,
Pakistan, a lot is being written in ‘ Siryaki’
many new compositions and poems are being
creatively generated for example, please look at
the ode of Uinmid Multani. Like in India, there
are also patrons of’ Siraiki’ language and
culture in Pakistan. Numerous journals,
periodicals are published in ‘Siraiki’ language
and interactions between literary circles are
being promoted. The Sindhi Academy is also doing
constructive work for the promotion of’ Siraiki’
language. Mr. Batra is confident, when he
asserts that the Siraiki language will be a
major contributory factor as far as the mutual
intimacy and a close rapport between India and
Pakistan, in near future, is desirably woven.
(The author is a noted archaeologist,
based in Pune).