A three day national seminar “Linguistic and Language Development in Jammu and Kashmir with special Reference to Tribal Languages of the State” started at Gandhi Bhawan, Kashmir University (KU) on Monday.
The seminar is being organized by Department of Linguistics KU, Central Institute of Indian Languages Mysore and Urdu Teaching and Research Centre, Lucknow.
In his presidential address, Registrar KU Prof Sayed Fayaz congratulated the department for organizing the seminar on such an important theme. “Languages are a great gift of God and they not only add variety and richness to life but also help in taking forward human understanding and share intellect,” he said.
“There is a great challenge from the negative impact of globalization due to which regional languages are under attack,” he said.
“We need to preserve our mother tongue and other languages,” he added.
The Registrar KU expressed appreciation for the department’s efforts to build linkages with sister departments throughout the country and advised the department to actively involve scholars from other languages to build linkages and play their role for the development of tribal languages of the state.
While welcoming the guests, Head department of Linguistics, Prof Nazir Ahmad Dhar talked about the fact that in the past couple of decades, tribal languages, a hitherto forgotten and less focused on discipline had started becoming the focus of intensive study.
Prof. Dhar said that in the backdrop of linguistic ethnic and cultural diversity of J&K state and in need and relevance of linguistic studies in the context of modern and scientific and technological revolution, the need has been felt to organise a three day seminar to focus on vital themes revolving round the issue.
Former Director CIIL Mysore and chief guest on the occasion, Prof. Rajesh Sachdeva gave statistical references to the plight of tribal societies in the North-East of India and how the number of the tribal people speaking their own languages was dwindling. “We should take cue from the negative trends in the Gonds and Bhil tribes such as the dwindling number of these tribals speaking their native language and seek ways to safeguard native languages of the state of Jammu and Kashmir”.
Prof. Sachdeva cautioned that if linguistic studies of the tribal languages were not undertaken seriously and oral traditions were not safeguarded, such languages would die a slow but sure death. “Any one”, said Prof. Sachdeva “who wants to engage in development of language must see that people are involved at large and the process is democratic”.
He opined that the linguist could not be communicatively capable unless they learned more than one language.
In his key note address, Prof. R C Sharma, head department of Linguistics, University of Delhi stressed on the need to take scientific measures to preserve native languages. “To preserve the language and preserve the language in a certain codified manner, we need to develop the department of linguistics and befriend natives of the language. Safeguarding old traditions is pivotal to survival and development of human of civilization and linguistics is a tool to safeguard these traditions which will ultimately help in language and linguistic development” he added.