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Mountain out of a molehill

Mountain out of a molehill
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Kashmiri language was taken off from the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) promoted language-promoting portal — Bhasha Sangam this week. The move was taken by the ministry after objections from various Kashmiri pandit groups who opposed the words used while translating commonly used words in Kashmiri.

The controversy was raised after some pandit journalists and scholars accused the Ministry of Human Resource Development of using the script that is widely used by Kashmiri Muslims and ed that the MHRD has ignored Kashmiri Hindus who according to them speak the language differently.

Though the MHRD has followed a strict mechanism to approve the translations and in case of Kashmiri language the job was assigned to NCERT in association with language experts from Dept of Education, J&K and University of Kashmir.

However, following the controversy the ministry had withdrawn the language on its portal and sensing the sensitivity involved, the ministry has decided to withdraw the Kashmiri translation of the words and sentences.

Bhasha Sangam, an effort by the MHRD is an attempt to familiarise every child in the country with simple dialogues in all the 22 languages, including Kashmiri, under Schedule 8 of the Constitution.

What has come as a surprise is that the words which the pandits objected include the most commonly spoken ones. The portal translated Hello in Kashmiri as ‘Asalam Alaikum.’ The Pandits said that they use Namaskar as greetings and the word used is a Muslim way of greeting.  Even the translation of ‘How are you’ in Kashmiri as ‘tui chhu haz theek’ was also objected. They term ‘Haz’ word as being exclusively Muslim one, as Pandits use word ‘Mahra’.

Objections and counter objections notwithstanding, the move by the MHRD to totally remove the entire language from its portal can be termed irrational and harsh. The MHRD should have followed a routine path to resolve the issue rather than taking a severe view of pleasing one community and ignoring the other.

Kashmiri language is as old as the Kashmiri nation. During its evolution various rulers and religions changed however, the language kept on absorbing words from official languages of those times like Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Urdu and now even English. Besides, the language had imbibed influence from various languages over thousands of years and binding it with religion only seems unfair on the part of MHRD.

The best course the MHRD should have followed is that a committee should have been framed with language experts from both religions who could have arrived at some sort of an understanding and a middle way to resolve the issue.

Pleading one community’s case and accepting their demand in toto reflects an unbalanced view which should have been avoided.

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