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Saraiki- The Language

 Saraiki is a language of great antiquity in Pakistan. It served as ‘Lingua Franca’ among the people living around i.e. the Baloch and Sindhi's, the Pashtoons and Punjabis etc. for centuries. It also remained the language of commerce and trade until recent times. Today over forty million people of Bahawalpur, D.G. Khan, Multan and Sargodha divisions of present Punjab and Dera Ismail Khan speak it as a first language. It is widely spoken and understood as a second language in Northern and Western Sindh down to the suburbs of Karachi and in Kachhi plain of Baluchistan. 

 It has been variably called by different names such as Saraiki, Baluchki, Partake, Jagdali, Riasti, Bahawalpuri, Derewali, Multani, Western Punjabi, Lanhda, Uchi, Thallochi, Shahpuri and Hindko in past by neighboring people but thanks to the recent cultural awareness the name “Saraiki” given by the Sindhi brothers, has been accepted and established universally beyond all doubts. In fact Saraiki language is spoken in substantially large area and the names given above are its different accents.

 In the course of history, Saraiki area has been attacked, occupied and populated from West and North by Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Parthian, Huns, Turks and Mongols. They had their own languages but the Saraiki language and culture was so rich and deep rooted that it absorbed all the languages and cultures of invaders and developed itself into a unique language and culture. Saraiki language has its own grammar. Even proper nouns are in different forms according to the nature of situation. Even a minor mistake in tenses, numbers and genders is not possible. 

 The language is rich in vocabulary and contains many words for different objects like different words for domestic animals according to their age and condition, which cannot be alternatively used. Saraiki is rich in idioms, idiomatic phrases, lullabies, folk stories, folk songs and folk literature. The folk literature for children is also abundant. The speech of a native specially a woman is much prosaic. They use idiomatic terms frequently in their everyday conversation. Most of the folk sayings are against woman but ironically victims themselves often use them.

 Saraiki people are different in their food habits, dress, folk dances, games, amusements, mindset and psyche. They love their homeland and are often reluctant to leave their birthplace contrary to Punjabis and Pashtoons. A Saraiki saying is “ away from the walls of house is as much distant as the city of Kandhar.” Saraikis are passively objective in showing their response or giving their opinion. They are very calculative but slow in their reactions. They assess a matter dialectically and make their firm opinion, which is last and final. “ Dekhon uth kehri kari bandhe” is a Saraiki saying.” Let’s see on side the camel sits.” represent this particular mindset. 

Saraiki motherland is the extension of Great Indian Desert and bears its salient features of fauna and flora. It is watered by the Mighty Indus River. 

Saraiki is spoken in the following areas: - 

a) Rohi and Cholistan, between the Sutlej and Indus river. 

b) Thal between the Indus and the Jhelum River from Salt Range to Kot Mithan 

c) Damaan, land between the Indus and Kohe Suleman. 

d) The alluvial plain around Multan and up to Chiniot in Jhang district.

Source- Seraiki.com

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