Srinagar: Well-known linguist and writer of Kashmiri origin Omkar Nath Koul on Thursday passed away at his residence in Rohini, New Delhi. He was 77.
Omkar Nath Koul was among a very few Kashmiri-born linguists, who has worked tirelessly for the promotion of Kashmiri language across the globe.
Born in Bugam village of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district in 1941, he was brought up in a humble family with literary atmosphere as his father Prem Nath Koul was a well-acclaimed poet of Kashmir in that era.
After completing early education in Kashmir, he joined Agra University and did Doctorate in Comparative Literature. Later, he was selected for advanced study at the University of IIIinois, Urbana-Champaign (USA).
Koul was the first and so-far only Kashmiri to head a prestigious—Central Institute of Indian Languages (CILS), Mysore in 1999 after serving as Professor-cum-Deputy Director at the institute.
He also served as Principal, Northern Regional Language Centre (CIIL), Patiala for 15 years (1971-1987) and Professor and Head, Faculty of Languages, Lal Bahadur Shastri (LBS) National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie for 7 years in 1987.
Koul was internationally known for his language publications and research on Kashmiri languages and its different elements.
In 1971 CILS, Mysore set up its Northern Regional Language Center and he was appointed as its Principal.
He has authored and co-authored more than 100 books including a huge supplementary and literary material in Kashmir language including Kashmiri (co-author with Kashi Wali in 2015), The Languages of Jammu and Kashmir in 2014, Kashmiri Newspaper Reader (2008), Modern Kashmiri Grammar (co-author with Kashi Wali in 2006), Aekhri faeslI (The Last Judgment: A collection of Kashmiri short stories) in 2009, Studies in Kashmiri Linguistics in 2005, Language, Education and Communication in 2005, Topics in Kashmiri Linguistics (co-editor with Kashi Wali) in 2002, kAshiir tI kAAshur tAhziib ( Kashmir and Kashmiri Culture) (co-editor with Lalita Handoo in 2002), Kashmiri Language, Linguistics and Culture: An Annotated Bibliography in 2000, Punjabi-Kashmiri Dictionary (co-compiler).
Koul was also acclaimed for the compilation of children literature like Gili Tuury (a spring flower) which is a Collection of Kashmiri Short Stories for Children (editor) written in 1998, Nursery Rhymes in Kashmiri (co-editor) in 1996.
Besides, he has to his credit lot of textbook publication including An Intermediate Course in Kashmiri, A Dictionary of Kashmiri Proverbs, Kashmiri kahaaniyan (Kashmiri short stories edited and translated from Kashmiri into Hindi) in 992, Kashmiri saahit daa itihaas (A history of Kashmiri literature) in Punjabi (co-author) in 1987.
For his contribution towards the promotion and teaching of different languages, he was appointed as a consultant on Endangered Languages and Language Policy by UNESCO. Koul has worked on different projects to promote the Kashmiri language including the compilation of Children literature with the help of AMISCO Publishers, Hyderabad.