Srinagar: Kashmiri literary organisation Adabi Markaz Kamraz on Monday condemned the HRD ministry’s plan to promote Devanagari as an alternative script for the Kashmiri language.
The literary body passed a resolution against the reported move in a meeting attended by writers, civil society, poets, columnists and opinion makers. The speakers mentioned that a similar proposal was floated eleven years ago on the insistence of a few Kashmiri Pandits but was shelved.
Columnist Abdul Majid Zargar said that changing the script of Kashmiri smacked of the agenda of “occupation”.
“It is being changed under a well-planned agenda that is evident in proposals such as Sainik Colony, NEET, and a separate township for Pandits,” Zargar said.
He said the government of India wants to instill “a sense of defeat among people of Kashmir.”
“The move is politically motivated and its aim is to divide the Kashmiri community in the name of the script,” the resolution said. “It is aimed at demolishing our cultural identity as the existing script has been in use for over five centuries. The entire Kashmiri literature is available in this script. There is no need for an alternative script that will not only divide the people but also lead to confusion.”
Historian Abdul Ahad said mere resolutions would not solve the problem. The situation facing the Kashmiri people was “do or die”.
“We have to come out on the streets to oppose this divisive move,” Ahad said.
AMK president Shujaat Bukhari said that changing the language’s script was as dangerous as setting up a Sainik Colony.
“It was MK Kaw who was pushing the proposal in 2005, but we built pressure against it and the HRD minister had to give up the plan. The majority of Kashmiri speakers and writers do not accept changing the script as it is more than five-hundred years old. How can the entire literature be moved to the Devanagari script?” Bukhari said.
Former bureaucrat Mohammad Shafi Pandit called the HRD ministry’s plan part of a conspiracy. Kashmiri poet Naseem Shifai, who was heading the session, said that “They can take our lives but not our language.”
Writer Deepak Kanwal said that a script should not be viewed through the prism of religion. He also opposed the HRD ministry’s plan and asserted that “I am a Pandit and I love the script of my mother-tongue.”