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Preserving language and culture

We are the people who have not only neglected the history, but language too

Indeed we may have different ideologies, and belong to different communities, faiths, beliefs, and classes but we should never forget that we all represent one culture and one language and are known to entire globe as Kashmiris. This is our basic identity, of which we should be proud of . In fact there may be certain weak points in our culture as well, but that does not mean we detest our culture and try to adopt some foreign cultures

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It is a matter of fact that the century’s old culture and language of this land is being encroached upon and instead of stopping this encroachment we have been welcoming. The result is that the external cultural invasions have already damaged the traditional identity of this land and its people.

May it be the western English, Hindi or Urdu or Punjabi culture of the subcontinent, all these cultures have overpowered Kashmiri culture and occupied major spaces. The most worrying fact is that it has also taken over the intellectual assets of this culture. We have lost several cultural assets to this modernisation and the glimpses of traditional art of living are rarely nowadays seen even in those far-flung villages which are yet to see the modern light and the assault of external influences.

Ironically the people who have been following and preserving their Kashmiri culture, and language, have got no basic formal education in their language and culture. They have got no written scripts of their language. What they know of it is what they learned in the lap of their mothers. In fact they cultivate it not by its written tradition but by oral traditions. It is in the remote areas where our cultural traditions are still being preserved while it has suffered heavily in our towns and cities.

As already observed that language and culture are not such subject which can imparted to people by merely introducing it into schools and colleges. It is our national identity which needs to be safeguarded from any assault. We need to protect our traditions in our home and discourage those foreign trends which have entered our homes.

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In schools and colleges we need to promote the formal education especially the scientific knowledge and temperament, and leave the promotion of the Kashmri culture and language to the society. It is the responsibility of the society to take care of our language and culture. It can be easily done if we keep a little bit distance from alien cultures.

Those nations are listed as civilised nations, which care for their history and language. Arabs, Iranians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Japanese and few other advanced countries have always taken due care of their respective identities.

Greeks and Romans, which once controlled most of the ancient world, carried their home script and language to far-flung areas. The ancient cultural material revealed form Grecian controlled areas carried Grecian linguistic and scriptural evidences. Almost all coins and epigraphs of that period found in sub-continent areas are inscribed in Greek script. The language is said to have been the language of the ruling class, where the language of the subjects was Prakrit, which was written in Khroshti. This language was also placed side by side with the official language to regard the sentiments of their subjects.

The tradition continued during Persian and Arab periods, wherever they reached they also carried their culture and language, the remnants of their culture and language are still found everywhere. Their respective histories and languages are well documented even in our historical annals. But we are the people that have not only neglected our glorious history but our language too. While neglecting our rich traditions we opted for foreign cultural traditions.

Of course it is not bad to welcome new traditions but that should not be done at the cost of our own culture. It has been observed that many people dislike their own culture and language and have been following new cultural trends

Our society has been setting a new tradition, to communicate in our local dialect looks nowadays odd. Nowadays we prefer to communicate in foreign languages. We either speak in Urdu, Hindi or English and have created a non Kashmirian environment, not only in our institutions but in our home spaces as well.

In the race of imitating advanced cultures, we are losing the sweet and loving local terminology. This new terminology first got introduced in urban areas in the upper middle class families and gradually reached to other families. The rural population is also whole heartedly welcoming it.

If we are really sincere to our culture and language, we need to speak in our own language. We should revive the classical terminology and those various titles and pet terms which were very familiar in our social life.

Kashmiri prayers if re-introduced at morning assemblies in schools and colleges would help to a large extent in promoting the language. The introduction of Kashmiri as a medium of instruction in schools, besides promotion of cultural activities shall be an effective instrument to entertain the tiny tots and would in turn make them aware of their mother tongue.

The various Kashmiri forums and organisations struggling for the revival and promotion of Kashmiri language in schools and colleges should also encourage

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their respective wards to opt for this language in their upper studies and also to promote this spoken dialect in their respective households.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK

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