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About Mirpuri Language

Murpiri is a dialect of the Potowari (پوٹھواری (Shahmukhi), as spoken by people in the district of Mirpur in Azad Kashmir, which lies at the foothills of the Himalayas minor. Also known as Pothohari or Pothwari), it is spoken in the Pothohar Plateau districts around Rawalpindi,Gujar Khan, Jehlum,uptil Gujarat in the south and Chakwal in the West, Hazara in the north and Azad Kashmir in the east. Mirpuri and Phari is spoken in Azad Kashmir Pakistan to the Cease-fire Line (LoC) of Indian administered Kashmir de-facto border in Pakistan administered Kashmir and also by some Sikhs from Pothohar. It is closely related to Punjabi and is considered to be a transitional dialect between Lahnda and Pahari. Dialects include Dhundi-Kairali, Chibhali, Mirpuri, Jhelumi, Pindiwali and Punchhi (Poonchi).

Written Potowari

In modern times Potowari is not officially written and there is no single standardised orthography. Speakers literate in Urdu often write solely in Urdu and do not regard Potwari as a literary language. When in rare cases Potwari is written the Urdu orthography is utilised or it is written in Roman Potowari which is used for the writing of Urdu in Roman script. This is largely the case in the UK where a large percentage of Potowari speakers reside.

It is not the case the Potowari has never been written, during the Buddhist reign Potwari was written using the Laṇḍā script which evolved from the Sharada script. Sharada was invented in the Buddhist university of the same name located in the Neelam Valley in modern day Azad Kashmir. Shaivite pandits from Jammu Kashmir still use the Landa script to write in the Hindu form of Pahari.

With the Muslim invasion of Northern India, written Potwari suffered a decline in usage as it was replaced by Persian and in modern times it was further replaced by Urdu. The form of Pahari spoken in Himachal Pradesh is now written in the Gurmukhi script, which itself is a modern version of the Landa script.

Potowari Arts

Potowari has a rich tradition of poetry recital accompanied by Sitar, Tabla, Harmonium and Dholak, these poems are called Sher and are often highly lyrical and somewhat humorous and secular in nature, although there are plenty of religious sher.

In October 2009 the first album containing Potwari popular songs was released, the title of the album was "Khushian," and featured Potowari songs by Saira Habib.

 

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