Mahfooz Ahmad Bakshi
According to Wikipedia, Kashmiri or Koshur is a language from the Dardic subgroup of Indo-Aryan languages, spoken by 7 million Kashmiris. Our mother tongue is the easiest, most beautiful and unique language which is not that tough to learn, unlike most of the languages in the world. We should feel proud of it but unfortunately we feel embarrassment due to our language! Most people think speaking English or Urdu defines their better social status.
If you speak Kashmiri, you are thought of as poor, uneducated, and you have no respect among rich people. But they don’t even understand that a language is a gift. When the native speakers of the English language don’t feel any embarrassment while speaking their language, then why do we? Why are we ashamed of such a beautiful and sweet language? Day by day we are losing our language and there may be a day when we will have no language of our own, when an imported language will occupy our tongue. Our pens will have limitless ink, but unfortunately its nib will have no power to write, for it cannot express what we fell in our hearts.
Do you remember the nightingale of Kashmir, Habba Khatun? How sweet her poems are, and how deep the meaning of her words? Most importantly, how simple her sentences are? Her poems are unforgettable and heart-touching and it is so because they have been written in the Kashmiri language. There are many more renowned writers of Kashmiri whose writing achieved fame not only here but in many parts around the world. They didn’t feel any embarrassment, and they didn’t let any foreign language take over their mother tongue. But we so-called modern or civilised people are squandering the blessing of Allah.
Kashmiri language is not just our mother tongue but also our identity. We must protect it, respect it and help it to grow. “To destroy a nation, you need to erase its native language,” ancient writers have warned us. If we do not protect our mother tongue, then our nation will also be occupied by outsiders.
Teachers and parents play an important role in the learning of language, but unfortunately, our parents and teachers are programming us with a language of outsiders. Research showed that as of the 2000s, a total of roughly 7,000 natively spoken languages existed worldwide. Most of these are minor languages in danger of extinction; one estimate published in 2004 expected that some 90% of the currently spoken languages will have become extinct by 2050. Linguistic expert Devy documented 780 living languages and claims that 400 of them are at risk of dying. There are five tribal languages that are moving towards extinction in India. Stop developing other languages within you and stop forgetting your own native language, otherwise your language will be leading the list of dead ones.
The International Mother Language Day is celebrated on 21 February every year, the main objective of which is to spread the awareness about native languages. Let’s take part in it, and let’s share our ideas as well. I would like to request to the parents of every child in Kashmir, for God’s sake, stop forcing your children to learn a language which is not ours, and instead teach them the language of truth, the language which is easiest and most beautiful, the language which produces most ardent poets, the national language of Kashmir. Let’s take oath that we will save our mother tongue from all perils, and we will never let it die, we will stand shoulder to shoulder and protect our identity, our pride, our Kashmiri language.