Our politicians have a faulty memory, or so they pretend. Like most politicians they always forgets their promises. What is ironical is that their memory gets sharpened when they wants it so. Successive governments have made umpteenth of promises for the promotion of Kashmiri language. The promises were not lofty ones that would need an approval from the prime minister of India or Union home minister.
True, Urdu in real sense is the lingua franca of the state that binds all the three region of the state together. But amongst all the state languages Kashmiri is not only spoken by majority of the people in the state but is spoken in all the regions of the state. Apart from Kashmir valley, the language is spoken in various parts of Jammu division and some areas of Kargil. Many a literary giants of Kashmiri language were born in Kishtwar, Doda and Rajouri areas of Jammu. Despite being the largest spoken language of the state it has been denied its rightful position and status. It needs to be understood that the real Kashmiri cultural ethos is contained in the literature of this language. One may parrot poetry of Shakespeare. Milton or T.S. Eliot but they hardly touch Kashmiri sensibilities. Writings in alien languages and idioms never have the same impact as those in the mother tongue. No doubt understanding poetry of Mehmood Gami and Shams Faqir is not every body’s cup of tea but the poetry of these giants touch even the sensibilities of the most inert people because it is in their mother tongue. Studies have revealed that personality development of child needs imparting education in his mother tongue. No doubt providing education about modern sciences is needed but instilling an imported culture and ethos in them is dangerous.
Kashmiri language has had two kinds of enemies; those within and those without. Those from within include the poets and writers of this language who all along have failed to unite on this issue. What has been unfortunate with the majority of Kashmir writers they have always expected petty concessions from those in power. If the writers both with the leftist leanings and traditional outlooks had ever united, the Kashmir language would have by now emerged as most powerful language of the state. Those without include bureaucrats in the state administration. The demand for introduction of this language at school level was being looked by some bureaucrats and ministers in previous governments as reassertion of Kashmir identity. They are painting a simple demand for legitimate position of language as a step towards “Azadi”. The language needs to be given its genuine status much before it assumes a political dimension.
It is true the cultural academy and Kashmiri department has done a lot for the promotion of this language in the past but if we take a dispassionate view, the academy has failed to live up to its ideals.
Dr Suraya Jabeen
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