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April 26, 2016

Literati launch efforts to save Burki language


April 26, 2016

WANA: The centuries-old Burki or Ormuri language spoken by Burki tribespeople in South Waziristan Agency is at the verge of extinction due to exodus of native speakers from the region due to militancy and subsequent military operations.

The literati from the tribe have now spearheaded efforts for the revival and preservations of the ancient language.Burki or Ormuri is the language of over 50,000 people residing in the scenic and historic Kanigaram valley in South Wazirisan.

Historians say that the tribesmen had settled in South Waziristan during the reign of Muslim warrior Mahmud Ghaznavi in 1125. They say that people of the area were the most trusted soldiers of the Ghaznavi’s army and also took part in the Somnath battle.Late Shaukat Khanum, the mother of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, also belonged to the same tribe.

In October 2009, descendants of this tribe shifted to Tank, Dera Ismail Khan and other parts of the country after the launch of Operation Rah-i-Nijat there.Away from their homeland, the youngsters of Burki tribe mixed up with people of Seraiki belt and started learning Seraiki language, abandoning own mother tongue.

A tribal elder, Irfanuddin Burki, said that displacement of Burki tribe due to operations have adversely affected the language.  However, he added that the Pakistan Army had now cleared the area of militants and repatriation process of the displaced people would start from May 2, which will remove the apprehensions about the endangered dialect.

Famous singer belonging to South Waziristan, Shaukat Shogeer Wazir, and poet Roedad Khan Burki have launched a campaign to attract the people. They recite verses in the same language. The tribesmen are coming in droves to attend such events organised in the language that was once largely spoken in the region widely.

A Customs officer, Rozi Khan Burki, also wrote a book containing poetic verses in his native language. The publication of another book in this regard was in the pipeline.The famous of the Burki tribes who rose to fame included former interior secretary Jamshed Burki, General Wajid Ali Khan Burki, whose sister-in-law Shaukat Khanum was the mother of PTI chief Imran Khan, and Majid Khan Burki who also served as captain of Pakistan’s cricket team.

Dr Nausherwan Khan Burki, a founding member of the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, chieftain Malik Qareeb Burki, General (R) Farooq Ahmed Khan, former chairman of the Federal Disaster Management Authority, also speak the language.



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