September 9, 2020

Politics of linguistic divide in JK

Knowing that even the withdrawal of statehood and special status did not shake the regional and religious bonding in Jammu & Kashmir, the incumbent Central Government has shockingly announced it’s decision of introducing regional languages in the long list of the proposed official languages of Jammu & Kashmir. Introducing a few regional languages and dropping others is bound to trigger a language war in Jammu & Kashmir The move of the central government to introduce a bill in the upcoming monsoon session of the parliament for the adoption of Hindi, Kashmiri, Dogri, Urdu and English as official languages has brought the incumbent central government under sharp criticism from the people of all shades opinions both within and outside Jammu & Kashmir as the decision will end the 131-year-old status of Urdu as the sole official language in Jammu & Kashmir. Proposing Devanagari script for writing the Kashmiri language for appeasing a particular minority community  is obviously part of the vote bank politics of the political party in power at the centre as otherwise a calligraphic script is used to write Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages. Interestingly Nastaliq is the only official script for Kashmiri language as on today. Leaving no key decision for the new legislative assembly of Jammu & Kashmir even as a union territory, the incumbent central government is enforcing new laws without consultation with mainstream political parties , civil society groups, and lawyers bodies of  either Kashmir valley or Jammu province. Though irrefutable fact is that as per Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019 the Jammu & Kashmir assembly has to take any decision on adoption of official languages in Jammu & Kashmir but surprisingly the incumbent central government in violation of J&K Reorganisation Act passed by it only last year has decides to table a bill on adoption of official languages in Jammu & Kashmir in the forthcoming monsoon session of parliament.

As the central government’s announcement of tabling a bill for adoption of some regional languages as official languages of Jammu & Kashmir has already triggered demands for the inclusion of more regional languages in the proposed legislation of the central government , better it would for the central government to revoke it’s decision for the purposes of reversing the trends and tendencies of a language war in a hostile political atmosphere Jammu & Kashmir.

The Centre’s decision likely  to end the 131-year-old status of Urdu as the sole official language in Jammu & Kashmir would by all probabilities be a severe blow to the unique linguistic identity of the people of Jammu & Kashmir where more than 75% of the population irrespective of religious and regional affiliations is fully acquainted with the Urdu language . As the central government’s announcement of tabling a bill for adoption of some regional languages as official languages of Jammu & Kashmir has already triggered demands for the inclusion of more regional languages in the proposed legislation of the central government , better it would for the central government to revoke it’s decision for the purposes of reversing the trends and tendencies of a language war in a hostile political atmosphere Jammu & Kashmir.

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