Kashmiri Language Gasps For Breath

22 June 2008

Srinagar: Once again, the government’s claim that it was committed to promotion of Kashmiri, a local language, has fallen flat. The recent job advertisement for the post of lecturers notified not even a single post for the Kashmiri language. Out of more than 600 posts advertised by the public service commission last month, Kashmiri hasn’t found a single post. Interestingly, the language has been included in the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution as well as in the state constitution. Furious over the government decision, Students and scholars are questioning governemnt’s “efforts” for promotion of the language. Said head of the Kashmiri department of Kashmir University, Shafi Shouq, there is no doubt that Kashmiri, one of the richest and oldest languages of South Asia, has found little favor from the state government over the years. “The promotion of the language has been simply ignored and the recent job advertisement is a clear index about it,” Shouq said. He said the “ignorance” about the important of the Kashmiri language at the bureaucratic level was also responsible for its downfall. The authorities need to fulfill their commitments towards the language, Shouq said. Kashmiri was introduced at the University level in 1972, till date more than 7000 students have qualified their post graduation degrees in Kashmiri. Hundreds of them have completed their doctorate degrees and many of them have qualified various level tests including NET and SLET. Every year more than 50 students come up with PG degrees in Kashmiri and equal number do post graduate in private. “In fact KU produces five to seven Phd scholars every years,” said Shouq. Students and the language have a “bleak future” given the official apathy of the authorities towards the language, lamented another professor of the department. He said if government was really concerned about the future of Kashmiri, let them make it a compulsory language and regular appoint qualified teachers and lecturers. “Mere paper work can’t help to save this language for future generations,” he said Students are also concerned about their future prospects. “Sometimes I feel that I took a wrong decision by opting for Kashmir as my subject. Government is deliberately ignoring the language, which is our identity,” said a scholar, Izhar Ahmad. He added that the government was only promoting it at the level of NGO agents by sanctioning huge funds for their so- called promotional activities. In 2006 government advertised lecturer posts at plus two levels for various subjects. The PSC conducted interviews for various language subjects and accordingly the appointments were made. But the interviews were withheld for Kashmiri. Scholars said even the Bed has not Kashmiri as an optional subject.