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Title: Dakhni  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Urdu, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, South India, Bidar, Bellary, Qutb Shahi dynasty, Hyderabadi Urdu, Bande Nawaz, Marathi people, Religion in Karnataka
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Native to Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa
Region Deccan Plateau
Native speakers million  (2007)
Language family
Writing system Urdu alphabet (Nastaʿlīq script), other
Official status
Official language in India, U.A.E
Language codes
ISO 639-3 dcc
Linguist List

Dakhini (Urdu: دکنی‎) also spelled Dakkhani and Deccani, arose as a Muslim court language of the Deccan Plateau ca. 1300 AD in ways similar to Urdu. It is similar to Urdu by way of the influence of Persian with a Hindi base, but differs the strong influence of Arabic, Persian, Konkani and Marathi, and the Telugu and Kannada inhabitants of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. This dialect has a rich and extensive literary heritage. Despite it being the native language of most muslims of the erstwhile Princely States of Hyderabad State and the Kingdom of Mysore, it is also the spoken form of Hindi-Urdu for most Hindus and non-Hindus of the region to this day and is the most common "street-language" in several cities including Hyderabad and Bangalore.


Dakhini is spoken in the Deccan plateau region of India. Just as Urdu developed in Lucknow, Dakhini developed in Deccan plateau parallel to Urdu with Khari Boli. The term Dakhini is perhaps an umbrella for a group of dialects spoken by certain communities of Muslims in the Deccan region.

Dakhini was the lingua franca of the Muslims of Deccan, chiefly living in Hyderabad state, Mysore state and the HyderabadKarnataka Region, covering most of Deccan plateau except for Moplah Muslims of Kerala and the Maricar, Rawthar and Lebbai Muslims in Tamil Nadu in the south, to the Beary Bhashe language and Konkani speaking Muslims along the western coast of Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra. Though, a minor Segment of Kerala Muslims do speak the Dakhini dialect and identify themself as Dakhini Muslims who follows Hanafi Fiqh(Hanafi School of Islamic Jurisprudence).

Dakhni for all practical purposes today is an oral language which is flexible enough to be visually represented by different scripts like Devanagari or Urdu or even Persian. Dakhini was widely spoken across the Deccan plateau peninsula with subtle changes in the dialect as you go down south away from Hyderabad ending as a heavily Tamilized version around the middle of Tamil Nadu.

Dakhini mainly spoken by the Muslims living in these areas can also be divided into 2 dialects:

North Dakhini - Spoken in areas of Former Hyderabad State: Mainly Hyderabad City, Telangana Region, Marathwada, Hyderabad-Karnataka, Gulbarga, Bidar & Raichur in Present day Karnataka, minority native Goan Konkani Muslims in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka with some variation of Nawayath, and Goan Muslim dialect in Goa.

South Dakhini - Spoken along Central Karnataka, Bangalore, North Tamil Nadu, Southern Andhra Pradesh extending up-til Chennai and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh . These were the areas under the Mysore and Carnatic sultanates and a Minor Dakhini Muslim community of Kerala.

North Dakhini is spoken with an added influence of pure Urdu and while South Dakhini draws slightly more influences from Marathi, Kannada and Tamil, it has quite a number of original words not to be found in Urdu or Northern Dakhini, with even a slightly varied grammar and sentence structuring. This particularly points towards possible signs that Dakhini as a language in its own sense could have evolved from the Southern parts much more than the Northern variation.

This tongue is used extensively in the spoken form; when it comes to writing and literary work, standard Urdu is used.


The Urdu language from Delhi was introduced in the Deccan region during Alauddin Khilji invasion in between 1295 AD to 1316 AD. It became more popular in deccan during and after Muhammad bin Tughluq shifted the Sultanate capital from Delhi and made the kingdom capital to the city of Daulatabad in 1327 AD. Revolting against the Sultanate was formed Bahmani Sultanate in 1347 AD making Daulatabad as its sultanate capital which was later shifted to Gulbargah and in 1430 the capital atlast moved to Bidar, Bahmani Sultanate existed for around 150 years, and expanded almost into the entire Deccan Plateau (which was then named as Deccan). All these circumstances of shifting of power, moving of capitals and expansion of sultanate created a growing atmosphere for the Urdu language of Delhi, which was then came to be known as Deccani and received patronage from its rulers, though it was known with other names such as Hinduastani, Zaban Hinduastani, Dehalvi and Hindawi. The Sufis during those periods were the earliest to use Deccani in written form. The earliest available manuscript record is Kadam Rao Padam Rao a Masnavi of Fakhruddin Nizami, written during 1421–1434 AD.

When Mughals took over Deccan many notable personalities, secular and religious settled in the Deccan, have caused the language to spread through the borders that now form parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa. One such poet of Mughal region was Wali Deccani (1667–1707), the first established poet to have composed Ghazals and compiled a divan (a collection of ghazals where the entire alphabet is used at least once as the last letter to define the rhyme pattern).

Dakhini and Hindusthani

Dakhini, though built on a base of Khadi Boli, influenced the development of Urdu (also known as Hindustani, Hindavi, or Rekhta). This was achieved primarily through the continual interaction of Sufi poets, courtesans and public between the Deccan and the Mughal Courts and the Khadi Boli heartland. Hyderabad was the southernmost city of North India. Noteworthy are the contributions of Wali Dakhni (also known as Wali Aurangabadi and Wali Gujarati), a famous poet of Dakhni, who visited Delhi in 1700. He astonished the poets of Delhi with his ghazals. He drew wide applause from the Persian-speaking poets, some of who, after listening to Wali, also adopted the language of the people, ‘Urdu’, as the medium of their poetic expressions. Prominent poets—Shah Hatem, Shah Abro and Mir Taqi Mir—were among his admirers.

At that time in Delhi, the court poets were composing in Persian and Arabic. For others, Braj and Awadhi were the languages of literary and religious expressions. The spoken language of all was Khadi Boli. When the poets listened to Wali in Dakhni language (which is also a variant of Khari Boli) they were struck by the fact that the spoken language of the people was capable of such rich literary expression. These events were important for they hastened the adoption of Urdu over Khadi Boli, in the early 18th century, as the language for literary and religious expression (in which Dakhini played the role of a catalyst).[2]

Dakhini and Hindi

A twentieth-century Kerala Hindi scholar, Dr. Muhammad Kunj Mettar, established Dakhni as source for modern Hindi. Dr. Suniti Kumar Chattopadhyay also maintained that it was Deccan that established the use of Khari Boli replacing Braj in the North. In fact, even the name Hindi for the language originated in the South. A Tamilian, Kazi Mahamud Bahari in 17th century used the word Hindi for Dakhni in his Sufi poetry called Man Lagan. Renaming Dakhini as Hindi was probably a symbolic gesture by him to extend the geographical reach of this language.[3]


Dakhini is part of the Indo-Aryan grouping of the Indo-European languages. South Dakhini Urdu is widely spoken by the Muslim in all parts of Tamil Nadu except may be the southern part and also in parts of Pondicherry. A minor segment of Muslims in Kerala also speak Dakhini Urdu.

Geographic distribution

Most speakers of Dakhini live in the Indian region known as the Deccan. They inhabit the regions comprising the erstwhile Muslim kingdoms in Deccan Plateau viz. portions of the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Goa


Dialects of Dakhini include Savji bhasha i.e. the language of the Savji community in the Hubli, Dharwad, Gadag, Bijapur, Belgaum region.

See also


External links

"Dakhni: The Language in which the Composite Culture of India was Born" -

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