Decline in Koshur Nagri
Pushkar Nath Dhar
Enough water has flown through Vitasta (Ancient
historical name of river Jehlum). This has irrigated and created fertile
agriculture land in the valley. Saraswati had created here a unique sect among
human beings which was called Kashmiri Pandit (KP) which is the cream of
intellegentsia for thousands of years. The water of Vitasta had no utility to
the saffron (Kaiser) fields where only fertile special land, natural rain, cool
moon light, autmn nights including snow, made these as the best saffron
producers in the world. Similarly KPs were bestowed with fertile brains in the
fields of educational, cultural, scientific and aesthetic fields as torch
bearers in the valley. Among them were saints, poets, sufis, astrologers who had
rendered such services which made the valley a Paradise in the world.
There is no denying that KPs were the aborigines and have been reduced to
minority by the circumstances of history. KPs which included the ones converted
to Islam and thus forming majority population used Koshur language from the time
immemorial to keep the identity alive of the original inhabitants of the valley.
There had been time, it is said, when there remained only eleven (11) KP
families, rest having been converted or left the valley due to aggression, yet
the Kashmiri language remained contineously spoken throughout the valley.
History repeated for the last one decade and a year past, en-emasse exodus of
KPs at the point of guns rendered them refugees and their forced exile to other
parts of India was consequent result. During this period in the valley it is a
slow death of Hindu culture. Koshur language started getting defunct leading to
its further deterioration and decline of Koshur language, culture and heritage.
After independence Koshur language was accorded due recognition under VIIIth
schedule of Indian constitution but the accepted / approved script was Persio-Arabic-Urdu.
However history is witness that Koshur language was not given due encouragement
or consideration as it deserved being the common spoken language of the vast
population of the valley as the Urdu was mainly official language of the
Now so far as KPs are concerned, its historians, writers, authors, poets and
litterateurs have different conflicting views about Koshur language and culture.
Many leaders have openly declared that Koshur language was never a written
language but only spoken by people from mouth to mouth.
All the seminars, conferences, symposia or political meetings are always
carried out in English both in the valley as well as outside even though the
theme being 'Declining Koshur language and culture'. Unfortunately deliberations
and resolutions are also carried out in English language except some random
usages of few proverbs, similes or rendering of Koshur poetry.
Irony is that our publications, magazines and news papers advocate to
encourage and advise all KPs to keep Koshur alive. It is boldly stated and said
"Breathe Kashmiri Read Kashmiri speak Kashmiri." But all this is
written in English. This is no doubt considered as international language easily
interpretted by all elite, our leaders/writers/authors and poets. Koshur in
Persio-Arabic-Urdu script as well as in Dev Nagri script is not easily
decyphered by majority of gentlemen KPs either in the valley or outside though
former script was prevalant for more than half a century while later script (Nagri)
is being tried for two decades now only on experimental basis.
If a survey is carried out in present disintegrated KP society, I am sure
hardly one among thousands speaks or converses in Koshur at homes, places of
work or meetings. Koshur Samachar Delhi, Khir Bhawani Times of Jammu and Vitasta
of Kolkata tried their best to increase Koshur section in their columns with Dev
Nagri script but response is very little, discouraging and negligible as
compared to the English portion. For example if there are 100 pages in the
Magazine, 80 pages are coverd by English, 15 pages by Hindi and hardly 5 pages
by Dev Nagri Koshur. All appeals for enhancement and progress of Koshur, appear
in my opinion, as dishonest and insincere sin unless and until social and moral
formula is made applicable to all our biradari disintegrated members to enforce
strict continuation of Koshur conversation at homes, places of work, meetings,
seminars symposia etc.
Now it is not a day but eleven long years all KPs have been eliminated from
our valley. It is natural for all to have reconciled with the circumstances to
have almost half settled at different places outside, lessons from past history
can not be forgotten easily. Why then lament for our futile discouragement but
try to build bridges among our selves to at least make our next generation
realize that if our culture, language or heritage is kept alive, all we have to
ponder is how to continue Koshur Nagri script progressing in our homes where
ever we may be.
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