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Sociolinguistic Study of Wakhi Language of Northern Pakistan



Wakhi is a non-written Pamiri language spoken by 65,000 speakers in the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan, Gorono-Badkshan region of Tajikistan, Taskurghan Tajik area in western China, Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan. The book deals with various socio-linguistic aspects of the Wakhi language, spoken in Pakistan, especially Ishkomani, Yasini, Yarkuni and Gojali dialects, with a backdrop of geography, climate, history, economic conditions and religious traditions of different communities living in that area. It also includes an appraisal of the language, tracing its family roots, script, phonology, alphabets, vocabulary and regional variations. There is a selection of Wakhi literature, especially samples of modern Wakhi poetry and traditional genres like bulbulik, quatrains, lullabies, proverbs, sayings, riddles, idiomatic phrases, and stories. Two primers have been added as appendices for further study.

Pakistan is a land of antiquity and cultural diversity. It is manifest from the ancient monuments, cultural traditions and languages spoken in various parts of the country. According to Ethnologue, there are 72 living languages in Pakistan, of which 38 fall in the “vigorous” category. One of these languages is Wakhi which is preserved by a small community living on the roof-top of the world (Pamir), Wakhan Corridor and remote valleys bordering four countries—Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The book, covering Wakhi language and literature, give a rare insight into the life of people living amid snow-capped mountains, virtually isolated from the modern civilization. The author deserves appreciation for highlighting a fascinatiing cultural dimension of Pakistan and introducing the region to common readers who may not have an opportunity to visit this fabulous place.

About the Author

Dr Nadeem Shafiq Malik is a civil servant by profession and a researcher by passion. He earned his MSc, MPhil and PhD in History from the Quaid-i-Azam University; MSc in Women Studies, MPhil Pakistani Languages and Literature, and MPhil and PhD in Iqbal Studies from the Allama Iqbal Open University; MA Punjabi from the Punjab University, besides Postgraduate Diploma in the National Security from the National Defence University, lamabad. 

Dr Nadeem has contributed more than seventy research articles on history, sociology, foreign relations & politics of Pakistan, besides different aspects of life and works of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, which have been published in reputed research journals. His earlier books include: Iqbal and the English Press of Pakistan (Lahore: Iqbal Academy, 1996); The Politics of Opposition in Pakistan  (Lahore: Plus Communication, 1996); Research Papers on Pakistan (Islamabad: National Book Foundation, 1997); The Political Sagacity of Iqbal (Islamabad: National Book Foundation, 1997); The All India Muslim League, 1906-1947 (Islamabad: National Book Foundation, 1997); Allama Iqbal Ka-Khutba-i-Allahabad, 1930 [Urdu] (Lahore: Ferozesons, 1998);  The Formative Years of All India Muslim League, 1906-1919 (Lahore: Azharsons, 2007); The All India Muslim League and Allama Iqbal’s Allahabad Address, 1930 (Lahore: Iqbal Academy, 2013); and Allama Iqbal Ka Khutba-i-Allahabad, 1930, Muqadma, Hawashi, Toaleeqat wa Distawizat [Urdu] (Lahore: Iqbal Academy, 2013).