Indian move to promote Devanagri script in IIOJK opposed

Srinagar, September 08 : In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC) has expressed its concern over the promotion of the Devanagri script [left to right abugida, based on the ancient Brāhmī script], instead of the Nastaliq style for the Kashmiri language, and the threat posed to Urdu due to the new Bill introduced in the Indian Parliament.

The Kashmir-based civil society body that includes former bureaucrats, vice-chancellors and academicians in a joint statement in Srinagar pointed out that the Common Locale Data Repository (CLDR), a project of the Unicode consortium for preparation of required data, is using the Devanagari script instead of its own Persian script.

“The introduction of Devanagari script in the digitised official repository raises genuine apprehensions about the future of the Persian script, which need to be allayed through an explicit order about retention of Persian script in Nastaliq style,” the civil society group said.

Kashmiri, written in Persian script, was the medium of instruction at school till the late 1950s, when it was replaced by Urdu using Persian script. “At present, the Kashmiri language is taught as a compulsory subject from Class I to Class VIII in all schools of Kashmiri speaking areas. Persian script written in Nastaliq style is the standard system of writing this language and is also a repository of cultural heritage and identity of Kashmiris,” the group said.

The group said it notes with caution the recent approval of the Bill to include Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi as the official languages of IIOJ&K for introduction in the Parliament.

It warned that the move may lead to divisive linguistic politics. “The government should revisit the decision,”” the group said.

The CCG signatories included former VC of the Central University of Kashmir Wahid Qureshi, former VC of the Jammu University of Agricultural Sciences Hashmatullah Khan, former head of the Department of English, Central University of Kashmir, Prof. Muhammad Aslam, retired Professor of Urdu Nusrat Andrabi, Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin, former advocate general of IIOJ&K High Court Riyaz Jan and former IIOJ&K Information Commissioner G.R. Sufi.

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