A language of India

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

593,000 (2001 census).


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

Language Maps
Language Status

3 (Wider communication).


Adkuri, Bastari, Bhunjia, Chandari, Gachikolo, Govari of Balaghat, Kawari, Kunbi, Mahari (Mahara, Mehari), Muri (Muria), Sundi. Bhunjia [bhu] and Kawari dialect considered more divergent dialects. Reportedly a creole language. Grierson and Konow (1901–1929) called it a dialect of Marathi [mar] for convenience, but noted similarities to Bhatri [bgw], a dialect of Oriya [ory].


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

200,000 L2 speakers (2001 C. Thomas). Educated men also use Hindi [hin], for trading and common topics. Some use Bhatri [bgw].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 74% for Chhattisgarh plains (2001 census). Government literacy program uses Hindi primers. Bible portions: 1989–1998.
Devanagari script.
Other Comments

A Scheduled Tribe. Traditional religion, Hindu.