Sadani / Sadri is a lingua franca used for inter-tribal group communication in eastern-central India. The term “Sadani” can be used in two senses. In the first, more general meaning, “Sadani” refers to the closely related linguistic varieties in Jharkhand, including forms such as Panch Parganiya, Khortha and Kurmali, which are generally considered independent languages. This term refers to the fact that these linguistic varieties are spoken by the “Sadan” (sadan), i.e., the non-tribal, Indo-Aryan speaking ethnic groups of Jharkhand. The second, more restricted meaning, the one used in this article, refers to the speech of central to western Jharkhand and refers to a group of more closely related dialects usually referred to locally as “Sadri” or “Nagpuri” / “Nagpuriya”. The term “Sadani / Sadri” will be used in this article to refer to this one linguistic variety, which will be referred to in the following as “Sadri” only. This variety is generally referred to as “Sadani” in western studies.
The origin of Sadani / Sadri and other related terms is somewhat obscure. Writers tentatively suggests deriving the term “Sadan” from Olianada-, referring to an ethnic group of Northeast India.
Sadri is known by many different names.
Lewis lists the following alternate names: Chota Nagpuri, Dikku Kaji, Ganwari, Gauuari, Gawari, Goari, Jharkhandhi, Nagpuri, Nagpuria, Sadan, Sadana, Sadani, Sadari, Sadati, Sadhan, Sadhari, Sadna, Sadrik, Santri, Siddri and Sradri.
Some names denote the region where it is spoken, e.g. Jharkhandi from Jharkhand with the adjectivizing marker -i, and (Chota) Nagpuri(ya), referring to Nagpur or Chota Nagpur, alternative names for Jharkhand.
Some derive from the names of the groups that speak this language (e.g. Sadani from Sadan),
while some refer to the fact that this language is usually spoken in the village or gãw, e.g. Gawari ‘village language’.
2 Geographical spread
Sadri is mainly spoken in western and central Jharkhand, but also in parts of Orissa, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Assam and Bangladesh. Lewis (2011) estimates the total number of speakers to be 1,970,000 for 1997. The Census of India 2001 provides the figure of 2,044,776 speakers.
In addition to this group of native speakers, Sadri is also used as a lingua franca by a large number of so-called “tribal” groups, among others the Kharia (South Munda), Mundari, Bhumij (North Munda) and Kurukh (North Dravidian), and a number of speakers of these “tribal” groups have adopted Sadri as their first language and no longer speak their traditional language.
3 Affiliation (position in genealogical classification)
Since at least Grierson (1903) there has been general consensus that Sadri belongs to the eastern group of the Indo-Aryan languages. Furthermore, Sadri is often considered a dialect of Bhojpuri in western studies (cf. Grierson (1903); Tiwari (1960); Jordan-Horstmann (1969)). However, this classification is not accepted by many speakers of Sadri, who tend to view Sadri either as a separate language or as a dialect of Hindi, but not of Bhojpuri. Also in the Census of India it is subsumed under Hindi.
4 Written sources
A large amount of literature has been and continues to be published in Sadri, including a number of works by Peter Shanti Nowrangi of different types, both prose and poetry, as well as translations of sections of the New Testament. Other works include Prasad (1992), a collection of folktales, Gau~jhu (2003), a historical drama, as well as a number of translations from other languages into Sadri.