September 22, 2020

Official languages Bill to target Urdu: Masoodi

New Delhi: Hasnain Masoodi in a statement cautioned that real objective of the Official Languages Bill 2020 is to introduce Hindi as the official language and marginalize Urdu that has been official language of Jammu and Kashmir since 1889 when it replaced Persian enjoying status of official language for four centuries. The Urdu language has over the years developed not only into an efficient means of transacting official business in administration of justice, police , revenue and other departments but also evolved as household language and above all a fluently spoken link language between different regions and communities in Jammu and Kashmir. The language because of the status acquired and its popularity amongst masses was made official language in the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.
The elements, that out of bias towards the language and inimical to cultural pluralism linked Urdu language to a community and out to loose no opportunity to harm it, are keen to see the language marginalized in the only region where it enjoyed status of official language. The language being an important component of identity, to those whose brainchild the Bill marginalizing language has been, attack on language would be most effective and lethal assault on identity. To help Hindi sneak in, four more languages have been included to distract attention, create euphoria amongst some segments of population and shift the debate to inclusion of other languages. The authors of the Bill know it well that decision to have 5 official languages would be impractical and in real terms benefit one language and marginalize the existing official language while of no benefit to two regional languages.
The two regional languages are already part of the eighth schedule without much benefit. The scholars, thinkers and civil society groups without taking notice of real design get dragged into irrelevant discussion. If the proposals in the pipeline are any indicator the next target is to be Kashmiri.
The reported decision of Kashmir University to drop the Diploma Course in Kashmiri, failure of the administration to make provision for teaching Kashmiri at Higher Secondary (10 plus 2) level an important missing link in the academic ladder, and latest the reported change in the script of Kashmiri from Nastaliq ( Persian) in use for last eight centuries, to Devanagari( Hindi) are of grave concern must initiate a debate and call for response of all concerned. These measures and scores that may be contemplated would again be an assault on the culture and identity of Jammu and Kashmir

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