Scripted battle

Scripted battle

Reports say the Narendra Modi-led Government of India will be seeking a cabinet green signal for a proposal recommending formation of a National Council for preservation and promotion of Kashmiri language and using Devanagiri and the near-extinct Sharada scripts. Until the proposal is concretised, one can speculate about the move only on the basis of the reigning political atmosphere.  A permanent switch to Devanagiri script has been a demand of Kashmiri Pandits. Muslims want to stick to the official Nastaliq script. Thus, a communal faultline already existed along this seemingly linguistic issue. Any plan to supplant Nastaliq script with Devanagiri is, therefore, fraught with the potential of adding one more issue to an already burgeoning list of problems confronting Kashmir. The proposal is problematic even if it is only meant to give official sanction for Devanagiri as an alternate script, primarily to pander to the ethno-linguistic aspirations of Kashmiri Pandits. Pitching two scripts against each other will not help the development of a language in decline. It will only reinforce the existing divisions. If you are giving a sense of victory to one community, it will only come at the cost of the sense of defeat for another, although both have done nothing spectacular for the preservation and furtherance of the language.

The proposal is one more imposition from New Delhi because reactions to it show that the state government, majority community stakeholders, top Kashmiri language experts and literary institutions have not been consulted.  The contempt inherent in the proposal is one more symptom of the aggressive communal nature of the politics practiced by BJP vis-à-vis Kashmir. It comes on the heels of a host of developments aimed at making demographic changes in practice while harping on the infallibility of the ‘special status’ of J&K in theory.
Although a fight over the script of Kashmiri language appears to be the proverbial fight between two bald men over a comb, Kashmiri Muslims cannot ignore its larger import, which in the current political context means that all they cherish will be assailed. It is, therefore, incumbent on the well-meaning intelligentsia to counter such moves. Although it seems futile to expect anything from a government which has not even been consulted, but it would be for its own good if its culture ministry clears the air and takes some steps to fend off this assault which, apparently aimed at the language, is part of the larger plan to usurp Kashmir.

One Response to "Scripted battle"

  1. Sandeep   May 20, 2016 at 9:28 am

    The issue is Kashmiri Pandits & their children of now settled outside cannot read Urdu script. Who will teach them Urdu Script outside Kashmir then they will learn Urdu Script, then they will learn to read & write Kashmiri in Urdu Script. No this is not possible, it will be too late , as Ghalib put it “Khaq hoongay hum tumko khabar honey Tak……”

    To take them more to Kashmiri Language it is necessary that Kashmiri is ALSO written in Devnagri Script. By this treasure of Kashmiri literature can be accessed by them.

    You have already communalised Kashmir & Kashmir Politics now if you want to communalize Kashmiri writing also that is unfortunate….. let us make it clear by our circumstances we cannot read & write Kashmiri in Urdu Script now… that is not possible now…