A language of India

Alternate Names
Bastari, Halabi, Halba, Halvas, Halvi, Holva, Mahari, Mehari

966,000, all users. L1 users: 766,000 (2011 census). L2 users: 200,000 (2001 C. Thomas).


Andhra Pradesh state; Chhattisgarh state: Bastar district plains; Madhya Pradesh state: Balaghat district; Maharashtra state: Gondia district; Odisha state: Koraput district.

Language Maps
Language Status

3 (Wider communication).


Adkuri, Bastari, Bhunjia, Chandari, Gachikolo, Govari of Balaghat, Kawari, Kunbi, Mahari (Mahara, Mehari), Muri (Muria), Sundi. Bhunjia and Kawari dialects considered more divergent dialects. Reportedly a creole language. Grierson and Konow called it a dialect of Marathi [mar] for convenience, but noted similarities to Bhatri [bgw], a dialect of Odia [ory] (Grierson and Konow 1903–1928).


SOV; postpositions; genitives, articles, adjectives, numerals before noun heads; 2 or 3 affixes per word; word order distinguishes given and new information; noun affixes indicate case; verb affixes mark person, number, gender of subject; passives; causatives; comparatives; CV, CVC, CVV; nontonal.

Language Use

Also use Bhatri [bgw]. Also use Hindi [hin], especially educated men, for trading and common topics. Used as L2 by Bhatri [bgw], Duruwa [pci], Eastern Muria [emu], Maria [mrr], Mirgan [zrg].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L2: 74% for Chhattisgarh plains (2001 census). Government literacy program uses Hindi [hin] primers. NT: 2017.


Devanagari script [Deva].

Other Comments

Traditional religion, Hindu.

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