“ There is nothing new in world except the history you do not know.” – Harry Truman

Bashir laments that Urdu is replacing Kashmiri in the cradle where it was born

(Mr. Bashir A. Bashir, 62, was born in Srinagar. He passed his higher secondary schooling from Baghidilawar Khan, and graduated from the Gandhi Memorial College Srinagar. Mr. Bashir completed his Law Graduation from the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in Urdu. and received his M.A in Political Science from the University of Kashmir. He joined the Bar in 1973 and was appointed as Additional Advocate General of the J&K in 1984 till 1986. He is a practicing advocate of J&K High Court and has been recently designated as the Senior Advocate by the Hon’ble High Court of J&K.)

Mother Tongue, Please!

The Creator of this Universe has made identity an inseparable part of anything and everything that He has created. It is mentioned in the Holy Quran, in Sura Hujrat, that all human beings are born from a man and a women and they have been made into different tribes and nations so that they can be recognized easily. From this one can understand the importance of identity.

History bears the testimony to the fact that from 16th century when Mugals captured Sultan Yousuf Shah Chak and controlled Kashmir since then the pendulum of our political balance continues to swing on account of foreigners – Pathans, Afgans, Sikhs, Dogras – trying to undermine our political identity; but surely we too have voluntarily chosen the path of losing our cultural identity. Nations are recognized and identified by the country they belong to or by other marks like, Religion, Caste, Creed, Tribe or Language. Mother tongue is the prime mark of identity as it is an inseparable part of one’s cultural being. But we are feeling least concerned in this regard.

Few days before mother of one of my close friend expired and the Moulvi Saheb started sermonising at Nimaz Jinaza in Urdu, despite the fact that whole audience was of Kashmiri. Same happened at the graveyard, while burying her. For a few minutes I thought is Moulvi Saheb suffering from inferiority complex or the audience does not wish him to speak in mother tongue! But soon I realized that not just Moulvi Sahab, our leaders also be they of any stature or shade (because God has been generous enough to us in giving a whole host of main-stream, off-stream, middle-stream and God knows what), who deliver their speeches in Urdu or English despite the fact audience they are addressing to is Kashmiri. So from a leader down to a street hawker it is any language but Kashmiri which is used to deliver the message. More surprising is that certain organizations fighting for this language conduct seminars where also some speakers use languages other than Kashmiri.

Go to any mosque on Friday you will find sermons in Urdu. If the person is from outside state, which usually we have nowadays in most of the mosques, you cannot complain, but what about those who come from this our own land. And just note, when they are fully charged they immediately shift to Urdu or English to make an impression on the audience. In this whole process we lose connect with the language that is the cornerstone of our identity.

Instead of feeling proud of our language, to preserve our identity, we give impression to our coming generations also as if this language is not worth to be attended to or spoken though it serves us as our distinct and valuable identity. Linguists are unanimous in saying that one cannot express himself fully and exactly even if he is highly qualified in any other language than in his mother tongue yet we all are taking recourse to other languages to express ourselves which may not turn out to be perfect expressions of our feelings. I never mean we should not read and write any other language; in that case we will remain cut off from knowledge and learning. What I want is that we should not ignore Kashmiri but encourage it by expressing ourselves in this language, wherever listeners are Kashmiris, to preserve our identity. Otherwise we are putting our own identity to peril.