Kashmiri Pandits in Cyberspace:
Kashmiri Language Script and its
In an earlier article published in the Vitasta
Annual, 2000 (pg. 155-56) we detailed various activities of our Kashmiri
Overseas Association (KOA) related to Internet and related Information
technology. In this article I am presenting some further developments in this
connection and other related information that may be of interest to Kashmiri
Pandit community globally.
The KOA a non-profit cultural organization of the Kashmiri Pandits settled in
the USA, has been actively involved in the Internet and World Wide Web for
creating a repository and disseminating information related to our culture,
history, religion and tourism. This web site carries Kashmiri music in
"Real Audio" format, bhajans, pujas for several KP festivals. It also
contains articles on our language, festivals in addition to the thousands of
articles from several Kashmiri periodicals/journals. This web site also carries
paintings by artists, video documentaries, chats, announcements, appeals,
tributes and information about KOA gatherings in the USA. KOA also offers free
on-line matrimonial services since August 1998. So far over 150 matrimonials
were carried on this web site and about 10% have established relationship. Our
expectation is that this will be the resource used by our community worldwide.
I have been managing and developing this web for the past 5 years with the
help of a few dedicated KPs. It is a pleasure to mention that Vitasta Annual is
also now accessible on this web site on the URL address : www.iKashmir.org/Vitasta
or www.vitasta.org and we are making all further efforts to keep the
subsequent Vitasta publications also available in future.
Kashmiri Language and its Script :
The recent addition to the KOA web site has been Prof B. B. Kachru's book,
"An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri". This addition has consumed 230
Megabytes of disc space. It took about five months to complete the project that
was finished on Jan. 1, 2001. Some volunteers contributed their valuable time
towards its development. This can be made available on CD which could be sold to
all those interested for a reasonable fee; the proceeds thus raised could be
donated to some charity. This is a step closer to preserving our language,
Koshur, for generations to come. Actual conversations in Kashmiri have been
recorded in "Real Audio" format, just as Kashmiri Music on the KOA web
sites. The original book has two images. The URL addresses of this site are : www.iKashmir.org/SpokenKashmiri
or www.koshur.org or www.kachru.com
Kashmiri Language and its Script :
It is gratifying to inform that a great development has been perfected about
the Standardization of Devnagri-Kashmiri script and its incorporation in 1-LEAP
software of CDAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing) Pune, in which I
was also involved. We should be proud of such youngsters within our community as
Shri Sandeep Bhat, Kuldip Misri and Shri R. K. Kaul for taking an initiative and
making sure that a font for writing Koshur was created, based on the inputs
provided by the concerned experts as mentioned herein, practically implemented
and integrated with one of the products (ISM) for further integration with LEAP
range. This product (ISM) can be used with nearly 15-16 applications (window
based) e.g., MS-Word, MS-Excel, Page Maker, Corel Draw, Venture, Dream wearer,
Oracle, D2K, Quark Express, besides Note pad, Word pad etc. Shri R. K. Kaul, who
was the Co-ordinator of this project approached, after developing the modified
font as required, Dr. Hari Krishen Koul, Shri Shambu Nath Bhatt "Haleem"
and Dr. Shashi Shekhar Toshkhani on behalf of we four, involved in evolving a
separate software for easy typing of Kashmiri language on computer and also
using it on internet, to verify the correctness of the changes identified for
this purpose. Accordingly a meeting of the experts was held at Pamposh Public
School, New Delhi, on 19th May, 2000. The following minutes of this meeting as
published in July 2000 issue of Koshur Samachar, are self-explanatory. The
experts who participated in this meeting were as follows
1. Dr. Roop Krishan Bhat, Principal, Northern Regional Language Centre
(Ministry of HRD, Govt. Of India), Punjabi University Campus, Patiala 147002
2. Mr. Shambu Nath Bhatt 'Haleem', Editor, Kashmiri Section, Koshur Samachar,
3. Dr. Rattan Lal 'Shant', Educationist and Editor, Kheer-Bhawani Times,
4. Dr. Hari Krishan Kaul, Eminent Kashmiri author.
5. Mr. R.K. Kaul, Internet enthusiast and Kashmiri web-developer (as
coordinator of the project)
The following transpired at the meeting :
1. The demonstration of the I-LEAP software was given with emphasis on the
usage of its phonetic-English keyboard. This was appreciated by all as this
could enable amateur computer users to type in Indian Languages. It was observed
that for obvious reasons, this keyboard doesn't incorporate the few vowels and
consonants that are typical of Kashmiri speech. In this regard Mr. R. K. Kaul
explained that C-DAC is willing to incorporate these sounds, in case an
authoritative and genuine list of modification was given to them.
2. The linguists (1-4) agreed unanimously that the present script used in
Kashur Samachar and Kheer Bhawani Times, though popular in Kashmiri community,
is not perfect and has to undergo certain modifications sooner or later. The
letter received from Dr. Shashi Shekhar Toshkhani was also discussed in this
regard. It was also pointed out that there is a great demand for standardization
of the script, letters having arrived from Dr. B. K. Moza of Calcutta, too.
3. After deliberations, it was finalized that these vowels and consonants
will stand changed as shown in the attached table.
4. Mr. R. K. Kaul will coordinate with Mr. Sandeep Bhatt of C-DAC and seek
his opinion about the adaptability of these additional symbols in I-LEAP.
5. Sh. Haleem and Dr. Shant will announce the changes in their respective
journals with necessary explanations, and subsequently start using the changed
script in their journals.
6. Dr. Roop Krishan Bhatt in his capacity as Principal, Northern Regional
Language Centre, which is associated with Central Institute of Indian Languages,
Mysore. These institutions are promoting Kashmiri langugage in Devnagari as well
as in Persian script. He will also ensure adoption of the script arrived in this
meeting, and also offered to coordinate with C-DAC in the capacity of a
This being a very important development, we are now looking forward to
confirmation about the satisfactory implementation of the modified and computer
friendly font for Devnagri script of our Kashmiri language by our community
journals having Kashmiri sections, like Koshur Samachar, Kshir Bhawani Times and
Vitasta on a routine basis.
For any further development or modification I offer full co-operation.
KOA, KIN and Kpnet Web sites :
In addition, KOA offers a KPnet, private e-mail based information exchange
for Kashmiri Pandits, as an open forum to share news and views on social,
religious, cultural and political issues with other KP subscribers. Each
subscriber is encouraged to provide personal views/comments about any relevant
issue. Comment on the public actions of our community leaders and participate in
discussions on any issue that touches our community. The purpose of the KPnet is
to provide a healthy and encouraging environment for timely exchange of
information, views and opinions. This is a free e-mail service to any KP
worldwide but one has to register with the KOA's KPnet Administrator for this
service. People have used this service to seek information, locate friends,
express opinions, share news and exchange greetings. This service is also
offered through the web under KPmail.
We plan to link all KP organizations together using the Internet to minimize
physical distances. We offer our free services to any KP organization to get on
the web and be connected through Internet. Our appeal to all the organizations
is to get an e-mail account and get connected through KPnet for news and views.
We want to create our own KPcyberspace where we may share information provide
support system and walk together holding hands.
On the political front, pro-Pakistani and fundamentalist Kashmiri Muslims
seeking separation from India have used the Internet and the web for
misinformation and disinformation on the Kashmir issue. To counter this campaign
launched against the minuscule KP community, a team of dedicated KP individuals,
grouped under Kashmir Information Network (KIN) in the USA has created another
web site. KIN web site carries information about the ongoing struggle of the KPs
as refugees in their own country, the conditions that prevailed in the Valley
before their exodus, their history of survival through centuries of persecution
at the hands of cruel Muslim rulers in the Valley, the detailed case analyses of
various KP individuals killed by the Pakistan sponsored militants and several
masscres of them which have taken place after their exodus. This web site is
also a repository describing the ethnic cleansing of the KPs from the Valley.
KIN is recognized internationally as the top web site representing Kashmiri
Pandit political viewpoints and is ranked at or near the top among all
Kashmir-related web sites by several web "search engines". A portion
of KIN, Kashmir Terrorism Index, has been referenced among the top
counter-terrorism sites in the world.
KIN website includes the following key sections Kashmir Terrorism Bulltein.
Between Kashmir and Islamic Fanaticism The Real Heroes, The Continuing Civilian
Toll of Terrorism in Kashmir, Online Videos and Ethnic Cleansing Glimpses. In
addition, KIN has launched a monthly electronic newsletter, Kashmir Chronicle,
which carries current news and reviews of terror and tragedy in Jammu and
Kashmir. The newsletter is e-mailed to over 750 e-mail addresses of US
Congressmen, US Senators, policy makers, thinktanks, US and Indian newspapers,
Canadian parliamentarians and well-wishers. We plan to add European and Indian
elected officials and other newspapers to this list. The past issues of this
e-newsletter are available from KIN's website.
For information or questions regarding KOA, please send the e-mail to :
email@example.com and for information or questions regarding KIN, please send
the e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
[The author has been a website incharge of KOA, USA. Kashmiri Community
is indebted to him for his creative contributions of putting, Kashmiri
literature, Language Manual and other information on Kashmiri Pandit culture and
heritage on internet during last five years.]
[Mailing Address : Sunil Fotedar, Allen, Texas, U.S.A. e-mail : email@example.com
URL : http://SunilFotedar.com]