Witty, wacky, lively and more

How Dakhni expressions of yore are fading from public memory and usage

Wit and sarcasm are the defining characteristics of expressions of the Dakhni lexicon. For, how else would one describe a reaction to the arrival of an unexpected, and perhaps an unwanted guest? Aayi so aayi, Mubarak ku laayi (she’s arrived, but with Mubarak in tow).

While there are many who celebrate Dakhni, they also acknowledge that these humorous expressions are quickly fading from public memory and use. It’s like they say that the expressions are ab ya jab pe hai (on the moribund).

History of Medieval Deccan, a book edited by noted historians H.K. Sherwani and P.M. Joshi, describes Dakhni as ‘proto-Urdu’ and pegs its place of evolution to Daulatabad in modern-day Maharashtra. And with the establishment of the Bahmani Kingdom, the book notes, the development of the idiom moved to Gulbarga (Kalaburagi), in today’s Karnataka.

Idiomatic movement

Researchers say that as time passed, Dakhni acquired different forms in Telangana, Marathwada and Karnataka. But now, it is a case of sirr mundateich oley parhe, (after getting head tonsured, it hailed) a humorous expression to describe a time of turmoil, for Dakhni.

Filmmaker Gautam Pemmaraju, the brain behind the documentary A Tongue Untied: The Story of Dakhni, says these unique expressions have fallen out of favour on account of an unofficial standardisation of the language.

“There is a strong influence of Hindi and Urdu in the city which has led to a standardisation of sorts of the Dakhni. The influx of people from north India and them bringing their language to the city too is a cause. This has led to a lesser use of expressions such as kaan Nizam Ali Khan, kaan pyaaz ki dalli. Nizam Ali Khan was one of the Asaf Jahi rulers. The expression was used to describe a man who had a high opinion of himself,” he says.

Alive somewhere

There is consensus, he opines, among experts that Dakhni and its expressions are still alive in older homes with women at the vanguard. Those in the know even point out that some men and women once used the sexual innuendo-laden waqat na saqat budda chhadra takhat to describe a whimsical person.

Begum Viqarunnisa is a nonagenarian. A resident of Hyderabad, she is a treasure trove of such expressions. She fondly recalls, “A lot of people had free time in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Hence the expression woh din gaye jab Khaleel saab faakhte udaate thhe. Meaning, people had so much free time that they used to give flight to doves. Times are different now. Everybody speaks in English.”

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 5:20:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/witty-wacky-lively-and-more/article24782242.ece

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