Assignment # 1
Khowar, the Language of Chitral, Pakistan
By Saba Karamat
Khowar (کھوار), also known as Chitrali, is an Indo-Aryan language of the Dardic branch, spoken by 240,000 people in Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in the Ghizer district of Gilgit-Baltistan, and in parts of Upper Swat. Speakers of Khowar have also migrated heavily to Pakistan's major urban centres with Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, having sizeable populations. It is spoken as a second language in the rest of Gilgit and Hunza. There are believed to be small numbers of Khowar speakers in Afghanistan, China,Tajikistan and Istanbul.
Khowar has been influenced by Iranian languages to a greater degree than other Dardic languages, and less by Sanskrit than Shina or the Kohistani languages. John Biddulph (Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh) was among the first westerners to study Khowar and claimed that further research would prove Khowar to be equally derived from "Zend" (Avestan, Old Persian) and Sanskrit. The Norwegian Linguist George Morgenstierne wrote that Chitral is the area of the greatest linguistic diversity in the world. Although Khowar is the predominant language of Chitral, more than ten other languages are spoken here. These include Kalasha-mondr, Palula, Dameli,GawarBati, Nuristani, Yidgha, Burushaski, Gojri, Wakhi, Kyrgyz, Persian and Pashto. Since many of these languages have no written form, letters are usually written in Urdu, Pakistan's national language. Khowar is designated as one of 14 regional languages of Chitral, Pakistan.
Khowar is spoken in Chitral, which is in the far North West corner of Pakistan. Khowar is classed as an Indo-European language of the Dardic Group. However, "Dardic" is simply a geographical collection of Indo-European languages spoken in the Hindu Kush and Himalaya Mountains. Among them, only Kalashamun, the language of the Kalash tribe, is closely related to Khowar.
Khowar English Dictionary is being published in 1981. Khowar English Dictionary was purchased by about 300 university libraries, so it can be found it in many places.
Here are the reasons why one might become interested in Khowar: It is spoken as the primary language by 250,000 people in Chitral. There are also pockets of speakers in Gilgit. It is clear that the current Chitralis have lived in their mountain home for 3,000 to 4,000 years. Alexander the Great encountered them when he visited the area. The proof of this is that in the histories of Alexander the Great it is written that he encountered strange wooden boxes, which his troops chopped up to be used as firewood. These "boxes" were actually coffins for their dead following the custom which the Kalash Kafirs of Chitral still have of leaving their dead outside in wooden coffins. There is a well-known book, "Alexander of Macedon" by Peter Green (1991), which devotes a page to this.
Thus, it appears that the Chitralis are still speaking today one of the oldest Indo European languages in relatively undiluted form. This is not surprising in view of the remoteness of their area. They are so far up in the Hindu Kush mountains that it would be almost impossible for an invader to conquer them. By far the lowest pass into Chitral is Lowari Top, which is over 10,000 feet high, too high for an invading army easily to cross. The path up the Kunar river from Jalalabad becomes so narrow below Ashret that no invading army that I know of has ever tried it. There have been several attempts to invade Chitral within relatively modern historical times. One group came across Boroghol Pass, were defeated and went back. Another group came across Urtsun Pass (near where my wife Honzagool lives). The British in 1895 simultaneously came across Shandur Pass and Lowari Top in a mission to rescue a group British hostages which had been taken. They conquered the area, which is the reason why Chitral is now part of Pakistan.
Khowar has a variety of dialects which may vary phonemically. Khowar also have nasalized vowels and a series of long vowels /aː/, /eː/, /iː/, /oː/, and/uː/. Sources are inconsistent on whether length is phonemic, with one author stating "vowel-length is observed mainly as a substitute one. The vowel-length of phonological value is noted far more rarely." Unlike the neighboring and related Kalasha language, Khowar does not have retroflex vowels.
Khowar has been written in the Nasta'liq script since the early twentieth century. Prior to that, the administrative and literary language of the region was Persian and works such as poetry and songs in Khowar were passed down in oral tradition. Today Urdu and English are the official languages and the only major literary usage of Khowar is in both poetry and prose composition. Khowar has also been written in the Roman script since the 1960s.
Rehmat Aziz Chitrali a literary figure in Khowar language
Rahmat Aziz commonly known as R.A.Chitrali is the eminent Urdu and Khowar linguist, researcher, writer, critic and scholar of Chitral KPK Pakistan. He is widely regarded in Upper Chitral as the supreme living authority on life and work of Allama Iqbal- the greatest ever Urdu poet. He has the credit of penning more than 100 scholarly articles, 50 book reviews, and 1400 editorials, columns to the Chitrali, Shimali and Pakistani newspapers. According to him his life, since the beginning has been full of hardships, oppositions and obstructions but he was not deterred and continued his efforts towards enlightenment.
Rehmat Aziz Chitrali is a role model for his fellow Pakistani poets and journalists. R.A.Chitrali lives in the beautiful and remote area of Chitral Pakistan. In spite of the region’s struggles with transportation and security issues, he effectively promotes language and education. When describing his literary experience to residents of his region, R.A.Chitrali emphasizes that volunteer work for languages is a “noble job.” For his humorous poetry he is known as Akbar Ala Abadi of Chitral Pakistan. He has published books namely Guldan-e-Rahmat, Guldasta-e-Rahmat, Gul Afshaniat-e-Iqbal, Khowar Humorous Letters, and Pakistan and Dr.A.Q.Khan in the Urdu and Khowar languages. Ministry of Education Govt of Pakistan has awarded Certificate of commendation to Rehmat Aziz in recognition of his academic contribution producing outstanding and creative works entitled “MaaR MaaRa Mayoon” under the project promotion of children literature. Rahmat Aziz Chitrali has translated the books of Dr.Allama Iqbal i.e. Bang-e-Dara, Bal-e-Jibreel, Zarb-e-Kaleem, Zaboor-e-Ajam and Armughan-e-Hijaz into Chitrali language. He is the author of many books and research articles on Khowar and Urdu languages. His Khowar poetry have been translated into English and Urdu. Aziz Chitrali has done much to promote the Khowar and other 13 languages spoken in Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan Pakistan. Firstly he began to write in Urdu. Sometimes he wrote in his mother tongue Khowar [Chitrali]. He wrote many poems in Khowar but later he decided to write prose. He was awarded Shandoor Award, CHDWO Award, My Languages Award and Commendation Award. He wrote several articles on legendary Khowar poets and also several articles about Khowar language and linguistics. He is a critic of Khowar literature and wrote several articles on this topic. R.A.Chitrali is the reigning father of the Khowar language. A former president of Anjuman-e-Tarraqui-e-Khowar Karachi, the ex-editor of the colourful urdu and khowar news paper Chitral Vision, scholar, author of several of books, Mr.Chitrali is most revered and respected for his literary contributions to Urdu and Khowar language. Rahmat Aziz has served as President of Anjuman-e-Tarraqu-e-Khowar Karachi, Khowar Academy Karachi a Pakistani nonprofit literary association. In April 2010, Mr. Chitrali has developed and created a Khowar Wikipedia and translated more AD: Rehmat Aziz Chitrali Urdu and Khowar language humourous poet of than 1000 articles into Khowar language. Every year “mylanguages.org”, which supports language researchers as they build on their exchange experiences, confers the linguistic certificates and awards on an outstanding researchers. Rehmat Aziz , 41, is an a well-known Khowar and Urdu language poet of Pakistan. His verses are included the syllabus of Allam Iqbal Open University, Islamabad. He has served as the first host of Khyber Television Khowar programme “Chetraro Hawaz” (Voice of Chitral). He has also served as Editor of Chitral Vision and Monthly Shandoor. R.A.Chitrali who is the translator of Allama Iqbal’s poetry, has published translations of Iqbal’s poetry in Khowar language. Ministry of Culture, Govt of Pakistan with the collaboration of Iqbal Academy and Khowar Academy published his book in the year 1999. Rehmat Aziz has created Unicode for additional characters of khowar language for Unicode consortium Inc and the Unicode Consortium approved his suggested Unicodes.