Friday April 19, 2019

In the realm of ignorance: Koshur the neglected language?

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photo source : www.koshur.org

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

Next Story

Social Media Giant Facebook Apologizes for Axing Kashmir From India

With social media becoming a hotbed of politics, the Election Commission is keeping a close watch on how these platforms are being used by political parties and their affiliates

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Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

After mentioning Kashmir separately along with India and a few other countries in a blog post, Facebook on Wednesday apologized for the “mistake”.

Reacting to an IANS story that said that Kashmir had been mentioned separately along with India in a violation of the country’s territorial integrity, Facebook deleted the reference to Kashmir from the blog post.

“We mistakenly included ‘Kashmir’ in our blog post when listing the countries and regions impacted by the Iranian network we disrupted for coordinated inauthentic behaviour,” Facebook told IANS in a statement.

“Kashmir was the subject of some of the content shared by this network, but it should not have been included in that list. We have corrected this in the blog post and we apologize for any confusion caused,” the statement added.

Facebook’s Head of Cybersecurity Policy Nathaniel Gleicher, who had written the original blog post, also tweeted.

“It was a mistake. Kashmir was a topic of some of the posts, but shouldn’t have been in the list of impacted countries and regions. We’ve corrected — apologies for the confusion.”

In his blog post on Tuesday, Gleicher mentioned Kashmir as a separate entity from India as Facebook announced that it removed thousands of fake Pages and accounts.

Jammu and Kashmir is an Indian state and New Delhi views delinking it from India as a violation of its territorial integrity.

Kashmiri pandits
Kashmir. Pixabay

“Today, we removed 513 Pages, Groups and accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour as part of multiple networks tied to Iran,” said Gleicher.

“They operated in Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Kashmir, Kazakhstan or broadly across the Middle East and North Africa,” he added.

Facebook reportedly has over 300 million users in India, the highest in the world.

Some of the axed Pages and accounts posted news stories on Indian politics as well as on the tension between India and Pakistan.

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“They posted news stories on current events and frequently repurposed and amplified content from Iranian state media about topics including sanctions against Iran; tensions between India and Pakistan; conflicts in Syria and Yemen; terrorism; tensions between Israel and Palestine; Islamic religious issues; Indian politics; and the recent crisis in Venezuela,” the blog post noted.

Facebook said it removed a total of 2,632 Pages, Groups and accounts that were engaged in coordinated inauthentic behaviour from Iran, Russia, Macedonia and Kosovo on its platform, as well as on Instagram.

With social media becoming a hotbed of politics, the Election Commission is keeping a close watch on how these platforms are being used by political parties and their affiliates.

The Election Commission earlier this month directed the social media giant to delete two posts shared by a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA with Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s image. (IANS)