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October 5, 2020

Promotion of all Pakistani languages stressed for national unity

Peshawar

October 5, 2020

PESHAWAR: The speakers at a seminar termed all Pakistani languages as an integral part of the shared cultural heritage and called for promoting them to strengthen the national unity.

Three literary and cultural organisations - Gandhara Hindko Board, Peshawar, Gandhara Historical and Cultural Society, Taxila, and Gandhara Resource Centre, Taxila - had joined hands to arrange the programme. A number of researchers, writers, language and cultural activists turned up at the function. Muhammad Ziauddin, a known research scholar of the Hindko language and General Secretary of the Gandhara Hindko Board, Peshawar, Prof Rashid Khan, Director, Gandhara Historical and Cultural Society, Taxila, and Dr Nadeem Tarar, Director of the Gandhara Resource Centre were the main speakers.

Ziauddin said set up way back in 1993 in Peshawar, the Gandhara Hindko Board has been working for the promotion of Hindko and other Pakistani languages to strengthen the national cohesion. He enumerated the literary and cultural work accomplished by the board and the Gandhara Hindko Academy it has been running in partnership with the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since 2015. Ziauddin said the board and the academy had published 450 books so far in Hindko and other Pakistani languages apart from bringing out regular publications.

He said among the books were those penned by an internationally known late archaeologist from Peshawar, Sardar Muhammad Jaffar, which had gone out of print with time. The Hindko language scholar said the board and the academy had arranged conferences at international, national and local levels to create awareness about various languages and cultures associated with them. Ziauddin said Taxila had great historical importance. He said one among the two ancient universities of the subcontinent, Takshashila, was located in Taxila and it was a great seat of learning. He said the language of ancient Gandhara was written in the Kharohi script. “This writing system was originally developed in present-day northern Pakistan between the 4th and 3rd century BC”, he elaborated. The literatus said the inscriptions in Kharohi script which were discovered from Taxila during excavations were later deciphered. The deciphering, he explained, showed that the words used in the inscriptions were not alien to the Indo-Aryan languages now spoken by a majority of the people in Pakistan. Earlier, Gandhara Historical and Cultural Society, Taxila, Director, Prof Rashid Khan, talked of the aims and objectives of the function.

He said that all the languages spoken in Pakistan were interlinked one way or the other. “Our society is working for the promotion of various languages,” added Rashid Khan. The professor paid rich tributes to Sir John Hubert Marshall (19 March 1876 - 17 August 1958) for launching excavations in Taxila and thus giving an identity to this region. “Sir John Hubert Marshall launched excavations in Taxila in 1913 which lasted for 20 years. In 1918, he laid the foundation stone for the Taxila Museum, which has several artefacts,” said Prof Rashid Khan while eulogising the British archaeologist who was Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India from 1902 to 1928 and motivated the local people to carry out excavations to know their past. He said more work was being done now on the subject and the relics discovered were being used to carry forward the task.

Gandhara Resource Centre Director Dr Nadeem Tarar and Dr Ayaz Kiyani said that Taxila had a distinct place not only in Pakistan but also in the entire world because of the civilization and culture which once flourished here. A senior health professional Dr Zaffar Mirza, praised the work of Gandhara Hindko Board, Gandhara Historical and Cultural Society, and Gandhara Resource Centre.