Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Brahui, Dravidian Origin?

The Brahui people or Brohi people are an ethnic group of about 2.2million people with the majority found in Kalat,Pakistan, but also found insmaller numbers in neighboring Afghanistanand Iran.They are closely linked to the Baloch with whom they have substantiallyintermingled and whose cultural traits they have absorbed. Linguistically, theyspeak the Brahui language, which is a North Dravidian language, but due to itsisolation from the other Dravidian tongues it has considerable Balochivocabulary and even counting begins with Balochi numbers. There is no distinctindigenous script for Brahui; like Balochi it is written in Perso-Arabicalphabet.

Brahui is spoken in the following areas: Merv area of Turkmenistan, Sindh, Zahedan and Zabol inIranian Balochistan, southern parts of Afghanistan, Pakistani Balochistanand with the bulk in the Jhalawan region.

Origins, geography, and demographics

There are two main theories regarding the Brahui that have been proposed byacademics. One theory is that they are an ancient hold-over of some sort ofindeterminate Elamo-Dravidian origin that descended from the people of the Indus Valleycivilization. Another theory is that they are migrants from northern India whoarrived in the region either before the Aryan invasion, but probably before theBaloch. Over the centuries, due to their location, the Brahui have mixed withIranian peoples as well as the Sindhis and other groups and physically andculturally more closely resemble their neighbors rather than the Dravidianpeoples of India.In addition, they are almost entirely Muslim, usually of the Sunni sect.
Generally dominated by various invaders during their history, including theBaloch, the Khans of Kalat, who were of Brahui origin, became rulers in theirown right and dominated Balochistan for decades, while holding off the Persiansuntil the coming of the British in the 19th century.

Brahui language:

The Brahui language is mainly spoken in the Kalat areas of Balochistan,Pakistan, although there isa considerable amount of speakers in Southern Afghanistanand Iranian Balochistan. It includes three dialects including Sarawani (spokenin the north), Jhalawani (spoken in the southeast), and Chaghi (spoken in thenorthwest and west). According to a survey it has about 2,000,000 speakers in Pakistan (1998), 200,000 speakers in Afghanistan and 10,000 speakers in Iran, whichwould amount to 2,210,000 in the world.

Due to its isolation, Brahui'svocabulary is only 15% Dravidian, while the remainder is dominated by Perso-Arabic,Balochi, and Indo-Aryan, while the grammar and overall morphology stillresemble other Dravidian tongues. Brahui is generally written in thePerso-Arabic script and there is even a Roman alphabet that has been developedfor use with Brahui. In Pakistanwhen doing a BA (bachelor of Arts) program, the Brahui Language can be taken asa compulsory subject.

Baloch society is divided in tens of tribes, some tribes speak Brahui and somespeak Balochi, and there are many that speak both. For instance, the Langovtribe ,inhabiting central Balochistan in the Mangochar area, speak Balochi astheir first language and Brahui as second. The Bezenjo tribe that inhabitKhuzdar, Nal and regions of Makran, along with the Muhammadsanis, one of thelargest Baloch tribes, speak both languages. Another example is the Bangulzaitribe which is a Brahui-speaking tribe but the sub-tribe of the Bangulzai, theGaranis, speak Balochi and are known as Balochi speaking Bangulzais. PresentlyBrahui is spoken in Balochistan (Iran),Pakistan, Afghanistan, northern Iran, Turkmanistan, Sindh and GulfArab states.

Another interesting fact is that most of the kings/Khans of Balochistan wereBrahui speakers but their court languages was Balochi.

More detail information about Brahuis from other sources

BRAHUI, a people of Baluchistan, inhabiting the Brahui mountains, which extendcontinuously from near the Bolan Pass to CapeMonze on the Arabian Sea. The khan of Kalat, the native ruler of Baluchistan,is himself a Brahui, and a lineal descendant of Kumbar, former chief of theKumbarini, a Brahui tribe. The origin of the Brahuis is an ethnologicalmystery. Bishop Robert Caldwell and other authorities declare them Dravidians,and regard them as the western borderers of Dravidian India. Others believethem to be Scythians, 1 and others again connect them with Tatar 1 CompareMountstuart Elphinstone's (History of India, 9th ed., 1905, p. 249) descriptionof Scythians with physique of Brahuis.

A relationship between the Jats and theBrahuis has been suggested, and it is generally held that the former were ofScythic stock. The Mengals, Bizanjos and Zehris, the three largest Brahuitribes, are called Jadgal or Jagdal, i.e. Jats, by some of their neighbours.The Zaghar Mengal, a superior division of the Mengal tribe, believe theythemselves came from a district called Zughd, somewhere near Samarkandin central Asia. Gal appears to be acollective mountaineers who early settled in southern parts of Asia. The origin of the word itself is in doubt. It isvariously derived as a corruption of the Persian Ba Rohi (literally "ofthe hills"); as an eponym from Braho, otherwise Brahin or Ibrahim, alegendary hero of alleged Arab descent who led his people "out of thewest," while Dr Gustav Oppert believes that the name is in some wayrelated to, if not identical with, that of the Baluchis.

He recognizes in thename of the Paratas and Paradas, who dwelt in north-eastern Baluchistan,the origin of the modern Brahui. He gives reasons for regarding the Bra as acontraction of Bara and obtains "thus in Barahui a name whose resemblanceto that of the ancient Barrhai (the modern Bhars), as well as to that of theParatas and Paravar and their kindred the Maratha Paravari and DravidianParheyas of Palaman, is striking." The Brahuis declare themselves to bethe aborigines of the country they now occupy, their ancestors coming from Aleppo. For this thereseems little foundation, and their language, which has no affinities withPersian, Pushtu or Baluchi, must be, according to the most eminent scholars,classed among the Dravidian tongues of southern India. Probably the Brahuis are ofDravidian stock, a branch long isolated from their kindred and much Arabized,and thus exhibiting a marked hybridism.

Whatever their origin, the Brahuis are found in a position of considerable power in Baluchistan from earliest times.Their authentic history begins with Mir Ahmad, who was their chief in the 17thcentury. The title of "khan" was assumed by Nasir the Great in themiddle of the 18th century. The Brahuis are a confederacy of tribes possessingcommon lands and uniting from time to time for purposes of offence or defence.At their head is the khan, who formerly seems to have been regarded assemi-divine, it being customary for the tribesmen on visiting Kalat to makeofferings at the Ahmadzai gate before entering. The Brahuis are a nomadic race,who dwell in tents made of goats' hair, black or striped, and live chiefly onthe products of their herds. They are Sunnite Mahommedans, but are notfanatical. In physique they are very easily distinguished from theirneighbours, the Baluchis and Pathans, being a smaller, sturdier people withrounder faces characterized by the flat, blunt and coarse features of theDravidian races.

They are of a dark brown colour, their hair and beards beingoften brown not black. They are an active, hardy race, and though as avariciousas the Pathans, are more trustworthy and less turbulent. Their ordinary dressis a tunic or shirt, trousers gathered in at the ankles and a cloak usually ofbrown felt. A few wear turbans, but generally their headgear is a roundskullcap with tassel or button. Their women are not strictly veiled. Sandals ofdeer or goat skin are worn by all classes. Their weapons are rifles, swords andshields. They do not use the Afghan knife or any spears. Some few Brahuis areenlisted in the Bombay Native Infantry.

Thanks: Baask


  1. informatiom about on Brahui language/ race/culture@ history is very low @ no realistic base. Brahuis are ancient @ race @ language of Indo-pak Subcontinent. they are full linguistically/historically/culturally/geographically seprate from Baloches.some writers/political parties in struggle that those do make the Brahuis are Baloches. this is big conspiracy in history @ reaserch.. above article is full wrong @ conspiracy vs Brahuia.

  2. I had visited Tamil Department of Kandy University during 2015 in search of Knowledge about Brahui & Tamil linkage but unfortunatly no senior teacher was available and a newly appointed lecturer was found there,who did not possess relevant knowledge.
    I think Brahui is a protodravadian language which was spoken in the oldest civilization of River Indus/Moen Jo Daro.The scripts found from the ruins of the Moen Jo Daro Sind(Pakistan)clearly speaks the presence of Brahui/Dravadian language.
    Arra Bara Kankurra Kara Kari Mandhra are pure words of Brahui/Brohi language.

    (Arra Barra Kunkarra,Karrakari Mandharra): recoverd version

    Arra (Array/ oh man) Barra (Barrak/Come), Kunkarra (Kunkay/towards me), KarraKarri (KarraKarra / Slowly) Mundharra (Mundarri/ used in Brahui folk poetry as beloved person or who is smart and beautiful girl/lady/female).
    There is no consensus as to whether Brahui is a relatively recent language introduced into Balochistan or remnant of an older widespread Dravidian language family. Some scholars see it as a recent migrant language to its present region. They postulate, that Brahui could only have migrated to Balochistan from central India after 1000 CE. The absence of any older Iranian (Avestan) loanwords in Brahui supports this hypothesis. The main Iranian contributor to Brahui vocabulary, Balochi, is a Northwestern Iranian language, and moved to the area from the west only around 1000 CE. One scholar places the migration аs late as the 13th or 14th century. However, a few scholars have hypothesized that Brahui is a remnant of a formerly widespread Dravidian language family that is believed to have been reduced or replaced during the influx of Iranian/Indo-Aryan languages upon their arrival in South Asia.
    Noor Ahmed Pirkani Quetta Pakistan.
    E Mail.

  3. Dr. Abdul Razaq Sabir Who is Vice Chancellor of Balochistan University Turbat in Province of Balochistan, in his book Daravistan has minutely discussed the relation of Brahui with south indian Dravidian languages after his tour of South Indian Dravidian populated cities. Dr Abdul Razzaq Sabir says when we check the structure and roots of Brahui Words ,it is clearly a Dravadian Language.According to researchs and facts of linguists Brahui has been proved as Dravadian Language.If someone does not agree with said theory then he has to present logics,proofs,evidences otherwise he has to accept the theory that Brahui is a Dravadian Language.

    He further says that about 160 million people speak Dravidian language in the world and 10% of Dravidian speaking population are multi lingual i.e speak more than one language. Dravidian languages were declared as one language family in 1816 for the first time.Brahui language is being spoken not only in Balochistan but also in upper Sindh, provinces of hilmand and namroz in Afghanistan and Irani Balochistan. Four larger Dravidian family languages are being spoken in the province of tamil nado (india) and sri lanka as well. Linguists have concluded that there are 26 Dravidian languages and only brahui is away for not less than 800 miles from its sister Dravidian languages.

    He further says that according to information available in the different quarters of Dravidian north indian areas that Brahui is the oldest Dravidian language, the other Dravidian languages are godaba or ollari, gondi, kannada, kodagu, kalami, konda, kota, koya, kui, kurur, kuwim malyalum, malto, monad, naiki, parji, pengu, tamil, toda, tulau.

    That many similarities were discussed between Dr. Abdul Razaq sabir and Professor Panikera as under:
    Aino (brahui) Ano(Tamil) means today
    Parri (Brahui) Porri(Tamil) means stock
    Ne(Brahui) Ne (Tamil) means You
    Kunnay(Brahui) Hunnay(Tamil) means My

    Professor Javed Akhthar states in his book “Brahvi Zuban Ke Haqeeqath” that the Civilization of Moen Jo Darro which was comprising not only areas of Sind but also whole of Sub Continent,some areas of Balochistan were located on west bank of River Indus.When Aryans appeared in this area the Dravadians were living in this region and their language was also Dravadian.Attempts have been made to read and understand the writings /Inscriptions on Coins recovered from Harrapa,Moen Jo Darro,Chaoon Jo Darro and other places but results are unsatisfactory.Dr Askopar Polla,Samyo Parpolla and their assistantants belonging to Denmark have tried their best to read these inscriptions although they have not succeeded but reached at a conclusion that this language is mother of all the Dravadian Languages called PROTO DRAVADIAN and Brahvi is also like a language derived from Proto Dravadian Language.
    Noor Ahmed Pirkani Quetta Pakistan.

  4. Brrahui is not Proto-Dravidian,but mother language of modern Dravidian lnguage.

  5. All Dravidian speakers migrate from Indus Civilisation to India.Oraons Folk tales also big proof of this theory.

  6. Brrahui is not Proto-Dravidian,but mother language of modern Dravidian lnguage.

  7. Proto Dravadian means mother of all the dravadian languagues.The poetry found on the inscroptions of Moen jo darro i.e Ara Bara Kunkara Karakari mandhara proves the claims of brahuis that Moen Jo darro inhabitants used to spoke a language similiar to Brahui.

  8. The inhabitants of Moen jo darro used to speak brahui which was dravadian orihin