SRINAGAR: National Conference on Thursday expressed dismay over the exclusion of Gojri, Paharai, and Punjabi from Jammu and Kashmir official languages Bill 2020, saying the measure is discriminatory and hurtful towards the major linguistic groups of Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir presents a mosaic of linguistic groups with Gojri, Pahari and Punjabi being the many linguistic groups after Kashmiri and Dogri, said Party Treasurer Shammi Oberoi while expressing dismay over the exclusion of these major spoken languages from the J&K Official Languages Bill 2020. “The speakers of Gojri, Pahari, and Punjabi languages are numerous. If we go by the yardstick of the strength of respective speakers of these languages, then these languages too should have been in the proposed bill. Unfortunately, the GOI has chosen contrarily to it sidelining all yardsticks including the strength of the respective speakers of these languages. The measure has hurt lakhs of Gojri, Pahari and Punjabi speaking people, who are part and parcel of the cultural milieu of J&K. These languages are a rich and important part of the linguistic map of Jammu and Kashmir with the strength of speakers in millions,” he said.
Oberoi said previously Urdu was the sole official language of Jammu and Kashmir for around 131 years, and that it had a harmonizing effect on account of its universal acceptance in all regions and by all major linguistic groups. “However GoI has chosen to add few more languages undermining the Gojri, Pahari, and Punjabi like other languages spoken in Jammu and Kashmir these languages also boast a rich literature and are deeply drenched in the region’s history which cannot be brushed off.”
He said the official languages bill 2020, which is about to be tabled in Parliament is not reflective of the lingual diversity of J&K. “The measure has saddened numerous speakers of these languages across Jammu and Kashmir. These languages were previously recognized by the state constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. Excluding such widely spoken languages with a rich literature is gross Injustice with the speakers of the language,” he said.
Oberoi further said that GOI should add Gojri, Pahari and Punjabi to the coveted list of official languages of J&K on account of their historical importance and strength of speakers, the parameters which he said favored their inclusion in the bill. He impressed upon GOI to make necessary amendments to the bill to include these languages in it, saying that the measure would help these languages thrive side by side with other the major spoken languages like Kashmiri and Dogri.