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Posted at: Dec 13, 2016, 12:27 AM; last updated: Dec 13, 2016, 12:28 AM (IST)

Efforts afoot in city to save Kashmiri language

‘Let’s learn Kashmiri’ workshops receive tremendous response from Pandits
Efforts afoot in city to save Kashmiri language
A Pandit boy in traditional Kashmiri Hindu dress during a Valiv Kashur Hytchew workshop in Jammu. A Tribune photo

Sumit Hakhoo

Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 12

Though against considerable odds, 3.5 lakh displaced Kashmiri Pandits have been able to preserve their unique distinct Shaivite rituals in exile, but children born in exile face identity crisis due to disuse of Kashmiri language in the day-to-day conversation.

However, efforts of social activists and linguistics are helping to reverse this trend. In just a few months, the Valiv Kashur Hytchew (Let’s learn Kashmiri) workshops, organised at camps in Jammu, have received overwhelming response from the community.

Regular classes being held at Shanjeevni Sharda Kendra, Bohri, Buta Nagar and Jagti camp, housing Pandit families, have helped young children to acquaint themselves with rich cultural heritage, left behind in the Valley.

With prominent Kashmiri poets PN Shad, PN Koul Sayil, Santosh Shah Nadaan, Ramesh Hangloo and BL Koul Deep offering their services it has given new hope to Pandits to preserve their distinct cultural traditions.

“Children born in Jammu after 2000 speak languages other than Kashmiri as their primary medium of communication within family and outside. Our aim is to make them speak and understand the native language,” said Dr Ramesh Razdan, who is part of the effort.

Since the exodus 27 years ago, the loss of ancient Himalayan homeland was a shattering experience for the Pandits who left the Valley following selective killing campaign started by terror groups in 1989-90.

A generation born in squalid camps of Jammu, New Delhi and other parts of India has little exposure to the language and Hindi and Dogri has replaced their primary way to talk.

“During our interaction with children we found that they have more hold on Dogri or Hindi and even don’t understand Kashmiri. This is mainly because parents chose not to speak with them in the native language. The programme is part of the series of efforts to catalogue and promote literature in exile,” said Dr RL Bhat, who heads Sampriti, a literary organisation.

Of late there is realisation among the community that they are slowly forgetting their heritage, language and history of 5,000 years and are identified as mere migrants now, which is driving force to document and preserve their history. These programmes instil sense of pride among the children, who know little about legacy of King Lalitaditya, Pandit Kalhan and rich heritage of Vedic civilisation in the Valley.

Recently “Kashir Kalakar”, a talent hunt aimed at connecting the new generation with the roots of Kashmir, was organised.

Parents are also upbeat and support more such programmes allowing children understand their fading legacy.

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