January 2019 News

A Year Of 'disappointment' For Cultural Activists

1 January 2019
Rising Kashmir
Rabiya Bashir

Srinagar: From removing Kashmir language from 'Basha Sangam' portal to banning of traditional Pheran from government offices, the onslaught on the Kashmiri language continued to make headlines in the year 2018. Besides such attempts to make this language weaker, what shocked the cultural fraternity was the assassination of veteran journalist and Rising Kashmir founder, Shujaat Bukhari- whose immense contribution is well known in cultural circles. Bukhari was not the only renowned journalist but an avid language activist-who tried his best to save cultural identity of Kashmiris at several world forums. The attack on our native language bought together cross-sections of people including our literati to raise their voices and organize demonstrations to get their voices heard. Rising Kashmir gathered some of the events which surprised the Kashmiris and triggered anger among the masses. Removal of Kashmiri translations from Bhasha Sangam Ministry of Human Resource and Development first withdrew Kashmiri translations from its language-promoting portal - Bhasha Sangam - after Kashmiri Pandits objected to the version of the language it put out. The Valley-based Kashmiri literary circle ridiculed the MHRD move to remove Kashmiri translations from its language-promoting portal-Bhasha Sangam and called it a direct attack on 'Kashmiri identity'. The Valley-based experts of Kashmiri language condemned and expressed displeasure over the move. Banning Pheran A controversy erupted in Kashmir following an order banning the use of the pheran, a key part of traditional Kashmiri attire. The order was originally meant for the state secretariat in Jammu and Kashmir. In September, the General Administration Department of the Civil Secretariat in Srinagar asked government officials to 'be attired in proper formal dress while appearing before any court of law and while attending offices in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and strictly avoid casual or party attire'. The decision was a security directive. However, the zonal education officer (ZEO) in Langate, following the civil secretariat directive, issued an order last week banning the pheran in educational institutions. After facing widespread criticism, the school department, later, retracted the order. Removal of Kashmiri programmes from Kashir channel Scores of Srinagar based artists registered protests against what they call as 'extinction' of Kashmiri programmes from Doordarshan's Kashir channel. The protesting artists-including freelance producers, directors, singers, actors and professionals associated with production and among others affiliated with the profession. The artists, who are affiliated with Doordarshan from decades, lashed out at the government and said that there was an 'onslaught' on Kashmir language as well as on their livelihood as Prasar Bharti wasn't producing any Kashmiri programmes for which the channel was launched. The channel was launched in 2000 with an aim to cater to the Kashmiri population and also keeping in view the promotion of local talent. Unfortunately, the artists have not been given an opportunity to work from a decade now. The artists said the irony is that the channel has been turned into a 'money minting machine for Mumbai-based producers whose flop movies are run at a prime time while local artists suffer.' They asked the authorities to restore the Kashmiri content on the DD Kashir channel. Protest to save the dying 'mother tongue' Scores of the people associated with Kashmiri Language Union (KLU) including students of Kashmiri language department asked the government to save the dying 'mother tongue' of the place. 'The Kashmiri language is dying and we are losing our identity day by day,' shouted protestors at Press Enclave Srinagar. Besides raising slogans like 'Kashrin Henz Pehchan, Kashir Zaban Kashir Zaban (The identity of every Kashmiri is Kashmiri langue, Kashmiri language), the protestors asked governor administration to make this language compulsory at the higher secondary level in all educational institutions. They appealed the administration including Director of School Education Ghulam Nabi Itoo to implement the order Via 333 edu of 2017 which states that mother tongue of Jammu and Kashmir (Kashmiri, Dogri and Bhudhi) should be made compulsory till higher secondary level throughout the state including Chenab valley. Announcements in the Kashmiri language stopped at Srinagar Airport The Airport Authority of India (AAI) stopped making important announcements in the Kashmiri language at Srinagar airport. AAI had recently announced that the Kashmiri language would be used in their daily announcement at the airport, the move was also welcomed by locals. As per the frequent flyers, the announcements in the Kashmiri language have been stopped for unknown reasons. They complained that announcements are made in Urdu and English languages only and the Kashmiri language was not used. This move has fumed many flyers, who blamed AAI for the step-motherly approach towards the Kashmiri language. 'Many travelers don't understand Urdu and English language. Why authorities have stopped making announcements in the Kashmiri language,' said one of the passengers. A revival of Kashmiri Music The Kashmiri music was back on the track as it became popular among the youngsters. In 2018, the videos of youngsters singing traditional Kashmiri songs were making rounds on the social media. Young and professional singers reviewed traditional music by giving it a new feel. The new Sufi music, playing the traditional instruments like Rabab was trending. The new music trends in local Folk and Sufi music helped in the restoration of the pristine glory of Kashmir language. Besides, Kashmiri chaker, Rouf, Wanwon and Sufi lyrics also gained popularity among the masses.