'Samvaad'

Samvaad: Scholar emphasizes on need to promote tribal languages

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Jamshedpur, Nov. 16: The second day of Samvaad was marked by panel discussions at Chintan, a dome, with eminent panelists discussing issues related to ‘The Threatened Tribal languages’. The discussion witnessed participation from eminent academicians, thought leaders and activists from across India.

The first session was moderated by Dr. Mahindra Kumar Mishra, a folklorist awarded by the Kalevala Institute, Turku, Finland for translation of Finish epic Kalevala in 2001. In his address, Mr. Kumar said, ‘’A campaign to promote tribal languages has to be undertaken in a big way. We need to learn a lot from old tribal men and women because it is believed an entire library dies with the death of an elderly person.’’

Sharing some startling facts about tribal languages across India, Prof. Kanji Patel, principal in-charge of Art College, Lumavada, said, “Of the 780-odd languages in our country, there are 200 odd tribal languages. A number of projects to document and survey languages have been underway for quite some time. There are many languages which still needs recognition.”

Dr Madan Meena, visual artist and researcher from Rajasthan said, “Earlier a number of communities in Rajasthan used pictures to adorn their walls of their houses. Today this tradition has faded away and with it the language of pictures.”

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Ganesh Devy, Padma Shri Awardee, renowned literary critic and founder director of Bhasha Reasearch and Publication Centre, Vadodra, said, “6,000 languages are spoken across the world. According to a projection by UNESCO, 4,000 languages will not survive in the span of around next 40 years. The pace in which we are losing our languages is both shocking and surprising.”

The session two was moderated by Prof. Prabhat Kumar Singh, professor, anthropology, Ranchi University. In his address Mr Singh said, “Mystery still veils a number of languages because we are still to connect with the local communities that speak them.”

Dr Balaram Pandey, assistant professor, Department of Language and Literature, Sikkim University, said, “There are certain indigenous languages the need dire attention, Majhi is one of them. During our research we recently came to know that in Sikkim there is only one speaker of this language.” Shri Satish Biruly, Chairman, Institute of Ancient Culture of Science Society, Jhinkpaani said, “Instead of blaming the government we should do our bit to promote our local and indigenous languages.”

The tribal conclave is witnessing a convergence of more than 1500 tribal artists, thinkers, eminent personalities and activists from more than 40 different tribes from across 25 states in the country, including Andaman & Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Tripura.

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