Language & Culture

The Bakarwals speak Gojri which is an offshoot of the Indo-Aryan group of languages. It was a common language in the Northwest belt of India from the 7th to 15th centuries AD during the dawn of Sanskrit and Persian poetry and prose in the Indian subcontinent. Several noted poets and Sufi saints used Gojri to spread their message. Many researchers, both Eastern and Western, including C.P Masica, G.A Grierson, Hallberg & O Leary, W.E Losey, J.C Sharma, R.P Khatana, Rafiq Anjum, Javed Rahi, Sabir Afaqi have done research on Gojri and Gujjars. Gojri is an illustrious language with a rich history. (Rehman 2022: 3-4)

Grimes states: “Gojri, or Gujari, is the language of some 1.4 million or more Gujars (or Gujjars, in Indian transliteration) living in the mountainous areas of northern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, the disputed region of Kashmir, and northern India.” (Losey 2002:1).

The Gojri speakers, along with many more ethnic Gujars of the plains who no longer speak Gojri, are the descendants of the ancient Gurjaras whose origins are widely debated. Gojri-speaking Gujars include nomadic pastoralists who herd sheep and goats or dairy buffalo, settled agriculturalists, and semi-settled agriculturalists that practice seasonal transhumance. The overwhelming majority are Sunni Muslims.” (Losey 2002:1)