Dogri Proverbs from the World of Animals, Birds and Insects

amitabh-vikramAmitabh Vikram Dwivedi is assistant professor of linguistics at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, India. His research interests include language documentation, writing descriptive grammars, and the preservation of rare and endangered languages in South Asia. His most recent books are A Grammar of Hadoti (Lincom: Munich, 2012), A Grammar of Bhadarwahi (Lincom: Munich, 2013), and a poetry collection titled Chinaar kaa Sukhaa Pattaa (2015) in Hindi. As a poet, he has published more than 100 poems in different anthologies, journals and magazines worldwide.

Below is the 6th and final in a series of installments of Poetry in Translation from lesser known Indo-Aryan languages—namely, Hadoti, Bhadarwahi, and Dogri for Visitant.

Dogri is an Indo-Aryan, Western Pahari language chiefly spoken in the State of Jammu & Kashmir, India. In an oral tradition, the Dogri speakers employ norms from lived experience and depicted lifestyles in prevailing narratives. A primary feature of proverbs is the lack of a standard text and author. Proverbs combine the human and non-human world of animals, birds, natural landscape, spiritual forces and climatic influences with the same vividness employed to depict human life and interactions. In this article, I present a sample of the Dogri proverbs using animals as their agents to employ human meaningfulness.

The following proverbs are in three term labels: tier one is for the Dogri proverb in the Devanagari script and in the Roman alphabet. The middle tier provides linear translation, and the final tier gives the meaning of the proverb.


  1.   ऊंट       दे       गल     टल्ल    बन्नना    (unT de gal tal banna)
    camel    of    neck   cloth   to tie
    Incompatible match.


  1.   पिस्सू           पेई          जाने        (pissU   pei    jaane)
    bedbugs   found    to go
    To have doubts in mind.


  1.   तितर          होई      जाना           (titar   hoi   jaanaa)
    pheasant  to be  to go
    To run very swiftly.


  1.   चिड़ियाँ       मिन्दनियां             (chiDiyan    mindniyaN)
    sparrows  crush
    To oppress powerless people.


  1.   घोड़ा      बनाना             (ghoDaa    banaanaa)
    horse   to make
    To be submissive.


  1.   खच्चर    बेचियै    सौना      (khacchar    bechiyai    souna)
    mule      sell       to sleep
    To become carefree.


  1.   कुत्ते   दी    नाड़      होना        (kutte   di   naaR    honaa)
    dog   of   veins   to have
    To be insolent like a dog.

2 thoughts on “Dogri Proverbs from the World of Animals, Birds and Insects

  1. Grat initiative…Dr. Dwivedi expand your research and find English parallels of all of them…..thankyou for this article


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