Wednesday March 22, 2023

KP govt urged to preserve and promote smaller languages

By Bureau report
February 05, 2022

PESHAWAR: Speakers at a consultative session on languages of the northern Pakistan have urged the provincial government to take steps for the preservation and promotion of smaller languages of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The event was arranged by the Forum for Language Initiatives (FLI), a non-profit body working on the documentation and promotion of smaller languages of the northern Pakistan.

A large number of speakers of small languages from Chitral, Swat, Kohistan, Dir and other parts of the region attended the event.

The FLI consultant Muhammad Zaman Sagar said that until recently there was little or no awareness about linguistic diversity of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other adjacent areas including Gilgit Baltistan.

He said that most of the work on these smaller languages was done by the English. However, he said, at FLI they have trained a large number of local youth under the foreign linguistics and language researchers and now these local researchers were working to preserve and document their mother tongues.

He said that KP government earlier in 2011 declared five languages including Pashto, Hindko, Sarakai, Khowar and Kohistani as regional languages and decided to teach them at schools. However, he added, teaching in regional languages was still a pipedream.

Sagar said curriculum to teach smaller languages was available and being taught in many schools at local level.

He said that the there was little work done for the implementation of decision regarding five languages as well as setting up the KP Regional Languages Authority.

Zubair Torwali, director of the Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Taraqi, which is working for the preservation of the Torwali language, said that preservation of the smaller languages was very urgent.

However, he said that small lanaguges were still being descrimnated against. Torwarli said that millions of funds were spent on promotion of Pashto languages while sometimes back a Hindko Academy was also set up. However, there was nothing for other languages.

MPA from Kolai Palas, Obaidur Rehman, assured the participants that he would take up the issues of the regional languages with provincial government and relevant department.

He vowed to work for the perseveration of the neglected mother tongues spoken in different areas of the KP.

Special Assistant to Chief Minister for Minority Affairs Wazir Zada said that considerable progress had been made rfor the promotion of regional languages.

However, he said that he would take up the issue of the setting up KP Regional Languages Authority with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and get funds approved for various languages related initiatives