About Khandeshi Language
By Smitakshi Guha
Belonging to the group of Indo-Aryan languages, Khandeshi is mainly spoken in the Indian state of Maharashtra, specifically in the Khandesh region, primarily between the territories of Bhili and Marathi in the state.
Fundamentally, Khandeshi is a rural language and hence, due to lack of big amount of native speakers, there isn’t much literature works available in Khandeshi language. By and large, it has three major dialects, which are Khandeshi proper, Ahirani, and then the Dangri. Out of these, it is Ahirani that is the majorly popular dialect of Khandeshi, and it was originally spoken by the people of Ahir caste, known simply by the name “Ahirs.”
In Khandesh region, Ahirani is spoken in places like Dhule, Chalisgaon, as well as Malegaon. Outside Khandesh region, it is spoken in parts of Aurangabad city as well as Nashik.
If the census of 2011 is to be considered, then combining all the Maharashtra districts, an estimated figure of around 10 million people were found to be speaking Ahirani as their mother tongue.
In lexical terms, Ahirani shares many close similarities with Gujarati and Rajasthani, and has also a list of words borrowed and amended from Marathi as well as Hindi.