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Kashmiri second fastest growing language in India; Urdu dwindling

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, July 1: Over the years, alarm bells have been rung in the valley over the decline of Kashmiri, as the younger generation is less enthused by it. However, recently released data on mother tongues in the 2011 census presents a glimmer of hope for the beleaguered language. It shows Kashmiri is the second fastest growing language in the country.

This research is corroborated by valley based experts who believe the new generation is making “conscious efforts to learn the mother-tongue” as the realization of it being a “symbol of identity” has set in. This is set to counter the decline faced by the language over the years.

Linguistic experts, attribute the decline of their mother tongue-Kashmiri-over the years to deliberate policies followed through the centuries by foreign invaders to decimate the mother tongue in favor of other languages, such as Sanskrit, Persian, Urdu, and English. The lackadaisical approach by successive governments did not help either. However recent efforts by government including making language compulsory at school, and offering it at college level has led to a revival of sorts.

 

The data from the census bears this out. “Kashmiri (22.97%), Gujarat (20.4%), Manipuri (20.07%), and Bengali (16.63%) are the second, third and fourth fastest growing languages, respectively,” says the new census data.

Noted Kashmir poet and cultural activist, Zareef Ahmad Zareef said, “I believe the declining trend has been reversed by making language as a mandatory part in school and college curriculum. This is the first step where children are getting properly familiar with their mother tongue.”

He said, “Any community is identified by their language and this belief is slowly dawning upon our younger generation. Be it writings, poetry or music, youth is making conscious efforts to revive the native language through these mediums.”

The poet stressed that literature of Kashmiri language is older than some of the international languages, including English. “The quality of Kashmiri literature is rich taking into consideration the thousands of years of rich culture and history of the valley. Hence, collective efforts should be made to preserve the language.”

Zareef suggested, “Apart from including it in the academia, we as individuals should try to interact with our dear ones using our mother tongue. Socializing in person and trying to eat in family gatherings are the best opportunities to give the language a new lease of life.”

Salim Saliq, Editor Urdu at J & K Cultural Academy opines, “From a literary point of view, post-modern world has seen the revival of things that went unnoticed. Among them were the regional languages.”

He said, “The budding writers are now taking to Kashmiri. They are showing their interest in reading the Kashmiri literature in depth.”

Saliq believes, “Earlier speaking in Kashmiri was considered as something embarrassing but now the things are changing. The younger generation is coming forward to learn the language as they are realizing that it carries their identity, spirituality and value system.”

Dr. Aziz Hajni, Secretary, J&K Cultural Academy said, “The language shows a revival because we realized long back that including it in the academics is not the only way out. We actively involved civil society in our efforts to preserve the language. These included members from every walk of life.”

Hajni asserts, “When posterity will consider the language as a symbol of dignity and status, you will see the it flourish.”

 

 

 


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Custodial killing of school teacher: Traders, politicians protest for justice

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Mar 21: The outrage over the custodial killing of a school Principal, Rizwan Assad Pandith is spilling across the valley.

People from all walks of life Thursday came on streets and social media to condemn the killing and urged the authorities to bring those responsible to book and avoid such horrific incidents from happening henceforth.

Many have replaced their profile pictures on Facebook with Rizwan’s photographs and profile pictures with captions like “Punish killers” and “Justice for Rizwan”.

 

Shazia Khan, home maker and young mother, said she did not have to think twice before joining the protest held outside her home here in downtown Srinagar.

“I rushed outdoors and joined the protest staged outside my house. A young teacher was being whisked away from a school to a torture centre. He was neither pelting stones nor was he preaching violence. He did a job of grooming young minds through his teaching. Is that a reason to kill someone?” she said.

The downtown trader’s body held a protest on Thursday of which Shazia was also a part. They held placards with “Condemn custodial killing of Rizwan” written on them.

“This protest is being held to condemn the custodial killing of Rizwan who was handed over by NIA to SOG which eventually led to his death,” one of the traders said.

“All the members of traders’ body association have assembled here to protest against the custodial killing. Without any prior criminal record or any questioning, the youth are being dragged by the police and killed in the custody. We cannot tolerate this inhuman behavior,” he said.

Another protestor said, “We will not budge till justice is delivered. Detaining the innocent youth and later on torturing to death is not acceptable at all.”

Several student groups have launched an online campaign to register their protest against the custodial killing.
“If a teacher who shapes the futures of students is killed in cold blood and with such impunity, what future can the students imagine for themselves?” said Wasim, a college student.

National Conference too held a protest against the killing on Thursday by taking to streets.

Ali Mohammad Sagar, the party General Secretary said: “This protest is quite necessary. Such kind of incident has happened after a long time.”
“This protest was held against the atrocities done on the people of Kashmir. There is a blame game being played between NIA and police over his killing. FIR should be lodged and proper probe should be initiated. As per law of land, the culprits should be punished at the earliest,” Sagar said.

Senior National Conference leader Nasir Aslam Wani said, “A youth who was a teacher was killed in custody. It is not acceptable in today’s age and time. This was normal thing in 90s but we are now way ahead of those turbulent times.”

“A probe should be initiated and the investigation should be done thoroughly. The killing of this young teacher has come as a setback to all of us. The perpetrators if not taken to task will have dangerous consequences,” he said.

Rizwan, who was picked up the police and lodged in CARGO, an SOG camp in Srinagar, according to the initial probe, died because of “extravasation of blood” — the leakage of blood from a vessel into the surrounding tissues — caused by multiple injuries.

According to the latest report published on Thursday by a national daily quoting an official said, “The blood loss in soft tissues due to multiple injuries was extensive internally, and this must have led to irreversible shock. There was no blunt injury or damage to the internal organs.”

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At 140th place, India slips in UN Happiest Nations 2019 list

Finland tops, Pak at 67, China 93, B’desh 125

Agencies

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New Delhi, Mar 21: In the UN World Happiness Report 2019 released by the United Nations, India has slipped down by 7 places vis-a-vis last year among the happiest nations in the world.
In what should be a matter of concern, India falls in the bottom half, ranking at the 140th spot of the 156 countries in the list. The country is way behind Pakistan (67th), China (93rd), and also trails to Bangladesh (125th).
The report was released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations on March 20 which has was declared as World Happiness Day by the UN General Assembly in 2012. Check Where India and Other Countries Stood in 2018 Happiness Index Report.
The report ranks countries on six key variables that support well-being: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity. Finland, a mixed welfare society, tops the chart.
According to the report, the overall world happiness has fallen over the past few years, which has mostly been fuelled by a sustained drop in India, which came in 140th place this year compared with 133rd place in 2018.
The UN’s seventh annual World Happiness Report, which ranks the world”s 156 countries on “how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be”, also noted that there has been an increase in negative emotions, including worry, sadness and anger.
Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world for the second year in succession. The Nordic nation is followed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland and The Netherlands.
Pakistan is ranked 67th, Bangladesh 125th and China is place at 93rd, according to the report.
People in war-torn South Sudan are the most unhappy with their lives, followed by Central African Republic (155), Afghanistan (154), Tanzania (153) and Rwanda (152).
The happiness study ranks the countries of the world on the basis of questions from the Gallup World Poll. The results are then correlated with other factors, including GDP and social security.
The United States ranks at 19th place for happiness, despite being one of the richest countries in the world.

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Unlicensed private security agencies under scanner

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Mar 21: Several private security agencies have come under the scanner for operating “illegally” in Jammu and Kashmir.

Home Department has appointed the controlling authority for the issuance of licenses under the Jammu and Kashmir Private Security Agencies (Regulations), Act 2015 and has issued licenses to different persons and firms operating the security agencies.

However, as per an order of the Home Department, it has come to the notice of the controlling authority that some private security agencies are operating in the state “without permission/license” from controlling authority which runs contrary to the provisions of the Act.

 

“They need to be closed immediately without notice for which the process has been set in motion. All the government/semi government state/central public sector undertakings and the private security agencies are impressed upon not to hire the services of those private security agencies who are not having permission/license from the controlling authority,” the order reads.

An official in Home Department said that order has been issued in view of security concerns in the state. “Recently, government also directed district development commissioners not to issue any fresh gun licenses,” the official said.

The Home Department recently directed the district development commissioners not to issue any fresh arms licenses and submit gun licenses details since 2012.

These directives as per a government order have been issued to ensure “maintenance of law and order” in the state before the polls.

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