Friday January 19, 2018

In the realm of ignorance: Koshur the neglected language?

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photo source : www.koshur.org
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By Shriya Katoch

  • Koshur is the language of Kashmir, which is at least 750 years old.
  • Though, recognized as one among the 22 scheduled languages of India, the language is slowly disappearing.

HISTORY

The Kashmiri language known as “koshur” has many influences associated with it. It is one of the oldest languages in the world, with Indo-Aryan roots and has a very rich history.
The language itself has elements of different languages, borrowing from Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan, Russian, Persian, Punjabi, and even English.

Though its origin emerges from an ancient linguistic group of Dardi in the 8th and 9th century. According to European linguist G.T Venn, this time worn language has half of its words from Sanskrit, 33% from Tibetan, 10% Persian, 5% Hindi, and 2% from Dogri.

The Kashmiri language is the only Dardi language that has a literature of its own. In fact, Kashmiri literature dates back to about 750 years , this is equivalent to the age of modern English.

STRUCTURE

The Kashmiri language did not have its own script until the late 20th century. Three orthographical structures are set in place to write the Kashmiri language: the Sharada script, the Devangiri script, and the Peso Arabic script. After the 8th century AD the Kashmiri language was written in Sharada script, but this has been discontinued and has only been revisited by the Kashmiri Pandits during religious ceremonies.

In  modern times it is written in Peso -Arabic and Devangiri script. Through the times Kashmiri Peso Arabic script has been affiliated with the Muslim community, whereas the Devangiri script is associated with the Kashmiri Hindu community.

The reason why Koshur is different from other old Indo Aryan languages like Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, etc. is because it has retained its Aryan roots. Infact, some vocabulary features that Kashmiri preserves clearly date from the Vedic Sanskrit era and had already been lost even in Classical Sanskrit.

PRESENT SCENARIO

Even after surviving the test of time after 750 years,  Koshur is dying. The Koshur language is among the dying heritages of the world.

In a multilingual state like Kashmir, it is hard to make a language so time worn to survive. Though attempts have been made by the government.

Koshur has been declared as the official language of Jammu and Kashmir. It has also been included as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India.

A group of writers in the Kashmir attempted to popularize the age old language to empty results. Finally, in 1980 government included Koshur in their academic syllabus and opened a Kashmiri department in Kashmir university, but all these attempts could not restore the tarnished language. Only the older population in Kashmir uses this language,with most youngsters using  more common languages like Urdu, Hindi or English.

As of November 2008 Kashmiri language has been made a compulsory subject in all schools in the valley up to the secondary level.

Despite all these attempts made by the government to restore the glory of this age old language, the attempts have been made way too late. The government needs to create a way in which  this centennial old language can be a common tongue in households.

Shriya Katoch multitasks as an Engineering student, an avid reader, a guitar player and a death note fan. Twitter: @katochshriya538

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A look into the mind of a brainwashed Kashmiri suicide bomber

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Peeping into the teenage Kashmiri suicide bomber's mind reveals the harsh realities the youth of Kashmir is facing. Pixabay
Peeping into the teenage Kashmiri suicide bomber's mind reveals the harsh realities the youth of Kashmir is facing. Pixabay
  • Jaish-e-Mohammad, a teenage suicide bomber who was killed this Sunday threatens attacks across India in a video.
  • The video shows how teenagers are brainwashed while sitting between terrorists and rifles.
  • The video has brought out the various reasons why the Kashmiri youth is turning towards terrorism.

A teenage Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber killed on Sunday in Kashmir had threatened terror attacks across India in an undated video which announces the “roaring” resurgence of his outfit headed by the Pakistan-based militant Masood Azhar.

The video, which gives a peek into how Kashmiri teenagers are being brainwashed into believing that they are targeting enemies of Islam, was apparently recorded in a house in the Kashmir Valley.

The Pakistan-based militant outfit on Monday released the eight-minute video online in which Fardeen Khanday, son of a Jammu and Kashmir policeman, urges Kashmiri youth and Muslims across the country to join the “fight against India”.
Kashmiri youth turns towards terrorism as they face severities. Wikipedia Commons
Kashmiri youth turns towards terrorism as they face severities. Wikipedia Commons

Seated between three AK assault rifles, a huge cache of ammunition, grenades and communication devices, Khanday appears calm even as he says that “by the time the video is released I will already be a new guest in heaven”.

Khanday, 16, was killed after he and two other Jaish suicide bombers attacked a paramilitary camp in Pulwama in south Kashmir on Sunday. Five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in the attack. The other two attackers were also killed.

He said it was being made out as if unemployment was driving Kashmiri youths to take to militancy. “But the fact is that it is nothing (but) propaganda.

“The importance of jihad increases when infidels occupy our land and threaten the modesty of our women.

“My friends and I have listened to the call of Quran and plunged into the battlefield of jihad. This will continue till the last occupying soldier is present in Kashmir,” he says in Urdu with a thick Kashmiri accent.

According to police, Khanday, a resident of Tral in south Kashmir, which was the slain Burhan Wani’s hometown, joined militants only three months ago after his family reported him missing on September 15.

In the video, he also talks about the demolition of Babri Masjid as well as attacks on security forces blamed on the Jaish.

“Even after repeated claims by Indian security forces and agencies, Jaish-e-Mohammad has not been wiped out from the Valley. Jaish is not so weak. It is impossible to stop Jaish-e-Mohammad… We are roaring,” Khanday says in the recorded video. IANS

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