SRINAGAR: At the Sunday conference, Kashmir’s key literary organsation Adbi Markaz Kamraz (AMK) launched a campaign to approach Google to add Kashmiri to its language translation services. In order to make the campaign popular, the AMK managers changed Kashmir’s age-old saying – Yus Kareh Gungul, Suea Kareh Kraav to Yus Kareh Google, Sea Karteh Kraav.

The Kashmiri saying has been age-old, suggesting that whoever makes an effort to sow, shall eventually be able to reap. The new saying carved out of a bit of change in the ancient saying would mean – whoever googles will eventually harvest.

“We will in a digital era and we have to make efforts to ensure the Kashmiri language gets its right in real and the virtual world,” Amin Bhat, who heads the Markaz said. “We are not getting into the digitalisation of the Kashmiri literature but making an effort to approach the search giant to add the Kashmiri language into its translation services.”

Kashmir language is the most spoken language in Jammu and Kashmir and it exists as the mother tongue of more than nearly 14 million people worldwide. It is a complete language with its own grammar and a history spanning more than a millennium. In Jammu and Kashmir, it is being taught as a subject in schools and almost all universities in Jammu and Kashmir have full-fledged postgraduate and research departments. The language is being taught at two major centres outside Jammu and Kashmir.

The conference also highlighted the requirement for revisiting the curriculum and correcting the mistakes that have existed for so many years now. The participants also called for adequate training for the teaching staff so that they are better positioned to impart the language to the new generation at a time when the IT-driven world is making English popular.

The well-attended day-long annual conference also witnessed bitter criticism by the Markaz managers of professionals who made careers out of the Kashmiri language but negatively contributed to the language preservation efforts. They said that the Markaz campaign led to the inclusion of the Kashmiri language in the curriculum and making it a compulsory subject till the middle. This led to the appointment of a number of Kashmiri-read young men and women as teachers in schools and the plus2 levels. “Instead of contributing to the language, they are increasingly triggering controversies thus undermining the language that feeds them and their families,” one of the key Markaz functionaries said. “They cannot afford even a day to attend the conference.”

One Markaz leader said that the organisation is running with the help of the people who love this language and want it to prosper. “WE have been the biggest literary organisation of Kashmir and we were getting the support of the government to the tune of a petty one lakh rupees till 2018,” Bhat, who heads the Markaz said. “This is slightly less than what a senior lecturer draws a month as salary. Even this has stopped.”

The highlight of the conference was the release of two books authored by two well-respected Kashmiri poets – Naseem Shafaie and Shad Ramzan. Trained by touring Kashmiri poet and writer, Prof Rehman Rahi, both of them are Sahitya Academy awardees. Ramzan actually heads the Academy operations in Jammu and Kashmir.


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