Schools In Jammu’s Kathua Ordered To Compulsorily Teach Urdu Till Class V

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6:05 pm 21 Apr, 2017


Language has always been a unifying as well as a divisive subject in India. States in the country have an official language of their own.

Technically, India follows a three language formula, which means that schools across the country usually teach three languages – English, Hindi and the official language of the state.

 

This formula, however, is not followed everywhere and by all schools. An example is Tamil Nadu, where Hindi is not taught in all schools.

 

A crowd of protesters during the anti-Hindi agitation in Tamil Nadu in 1965.

A tweet by Major Gaurav Arya is going viral on social media. In that tweet, Maj Arya shares a circular in which the chief education officer of Kathua is allegedly instructing all schools in the district to compulsorily teach Urdu to students from Class I to Class V.

 

According to Major Arya, the move is designed to make Kashmiri children identify more with Pakistan than with their own motherland because Urdu is Pakistan’s national language.

 

Twitterati, too, expressed their anger with the circular and endorsed the view held by Major Arya.

 

It should be noted here that Urdu is the official language of the Jammu and Kashmir. Being the official language of the state, the government is perhaps fully entitled to impose the language in schools.

 

The problem, however, is that across J&K, the local languages are being ignored – a fact noted by Maj Arya in his tweet.

Urdu was historically never the people’s language of Kashmir anywhere in any part of the state. Though some prominent Kashmiri poets and authors wrote in Urdu, the language itself is alien to the region.

In Kashmir, the predominant language is Kashmiri or Koshur. Dogri is the second-most spoken language in the state. In Ladkah, the native speak Ladakhi – a Tibetic language.

 

Native Kashmiris usually do not speak in Urdu between themselves. They speak in Kashmiri. In fact, Kashmiri has been the language of the region long before the arrival of Islam. Kashmiri is also written in two different scripts – the Devanagri and Perso-Arabic. Before these two, the language was written in Sharda script.

Kashmiri language has its own wealth of literature. But that the language is dying a slow and painful death can be gauged from the anecdotes of an unnamed writer in Greater Kashmir.

In 2008, parents had protested the decision of the then state government of making Kashmiri compulsory in schools arguing that there were not enough teachers to teach the language. That speaks of the decline of the language. Children are not taught the language; politicians don’t deliver lectures in the language; Separatists don’t fight for the language. Everyone, it appears, loves Urdu – the national language of Pakistan.

When the Centre tried to re-introduce the Devanagri script of Kashmir, it was opposed by some literary organizations in the state who claimed that such a move will destroy the Kashmiri literature of the state and divide the community. Thus it is quite a wonder why no one in Kashmir vociferously objects to Urdu’s imposition.

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