Language and identity

Published at July 05, 2018 12:19 AM 0Comment(s)2550views

Language and identity

To promote the regional languages in the state, the government made Kashmiri, Bodhi and Dogri languages compulsory in the areas where they are spoken as mother tongue. The move was lauded by people in general and those who have been vocal about preserving different languages and dialects in the state in particular. J&K government has come up with a number of initiatives to save the dying languages and dialects, but most of them have not delivered the results that were anticipated. Most of the efforts from the government side have been on preserving and promoting the two most spoken languages, Kashmiri and Urdu, with the latter being the official language of the state. Even some help was offered by the national council in the past with the purpose of promoting the Urdu language with desktop publications in the same language. The council was alleged as promoting IT services more than the Urdu language. The government could have provided extra help to sustain smaller publications in Kashmiri language which are fast disappearing from the scene. Independent efforts of culture academies and linguists offer some hope, but the future still seems bleak for many regional languages that are victims of official negligence. In schools and colleges, meager efforts cannot suffice the drive to preserve the languages. Like the government, education institutions also lack direction and purpose to make campaigns successful. Sadly, English language has replaced the regional ones in common and commercial usage. From signboards to communiqués, the communication has shifted in favour of English language. It has further been aggravated by the popular usage of new media platforms where communication occurs entirely in English language. There are no digital scripts or supported regional language formats that could serve as anodyne. Nonetheless, the major contributors of the neglect are the people of the state who consider the regional languages as inferior to the alien or non-native languages. As has been mentioned before also, by losing the regional dialects and languages we are also losing the unique expressions that are embedded in cultural and linguistic domains. The thoughts and the thought process of the people are also witnessing changes. While the evolution or progression is unavoidable, but it poses a serious threat to the regional identity, which if lost will be impossible to regain.            


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