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A Mission To Save Our Langauges

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Nelson Mandela once said, “You talk to someone in the language they understand, the message goes to their head. You speak to anyone in their language, the message goes to their heart.”

The languages of Jammu and Kashmir are rich in history. Dogri, Kashmiri and Bodhi culture contain centuries of memories, traditions and preserve the heritage of millions. The tragedy of Jammu and Kashmir is that these languages of warriors, poets and kings are slowly dying, even in an age where the world is becoming more inter-connected. The youth of the state have strained links with these languages and are facing a gradual disconnect with the wisdom and culture they offer.

Many point to the education system for the slow decay of these languages, but the curriculums in schools and colleges are small players in the campaign. Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati and Bengali are regional languages which are not enforced by the education system, yet they are as alive as ever. Children don’t study these languages beyond school, but they are protected, propagated and preserved by a vibrant popular culture which nurtures them and connects them beyond their speakers. These languages have cinema, music, literature and theatre among others, and have active artists, a dynamic fan base and patronage that creates an economic sphere which sustains them for future generations. Unfortunately, J&K’s languages do not have that ecosystem. There is no patronage to weave popular culture around these languages. Coupled with the dominance of Hindi and English, these languages have no space for outreach and are slowly declining.

 

Protecting these languages has become a mission of the family of celebrated Dogri poet, the late Group Captain Randhir Singh, popularly known in literary circles as Kunwar Viyogi. He is known as the father of Dogri Sonnets and was the recipient of the coveted Sahitya Akademi award for his long poem of 238 couplets titled ‘Ghar’. In his memory, the Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust has been formed with the task to revive these languages via popular culture by giving a platform to young artists as well as financially support students who undertake research work in J&K’s regional languages. Since its foundation in September last year, the Trust has held multiple poetry symposiums in Jammu and New Delhi with multi-lingual artists including celebrities like Piyush Mishra, collaborating with Jammu University, the Oxford Bookstores as well as other promoters of the arts. The latest was a grand cultural event at the famed Kingdom of Dreams in the National Capital Region called ‘Cultural Cocktail: Youth for Art’. The Trust gave a platform to distinguished Kathak dancer Sanchita Abrol who created a beautiful dance drama titiled ‘Ghar: Prem Ki Gagar’ about love and loss, inspired by Kunwar Viyogi’s poem ‘Ghar’. The event also showcased Anmol Jamwal, a brilliant jazz dancer who set the stage on fire with his dance production ‘Taboo’. The evening was topped off by a mesmerizing Hindi production of William Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ directed by Aarushi Thakur Rana of Jammu’s very own Natrang theatre group.

“Our mission is to keep pushing, keep innovating, and do whatever we can to promote J&K’s talent and culture. My father was a celebrated poet, but he didn’t have the financial support or patronage to promote his craft beyond Jammu. The rigours of life almost snuffed out his talent.  I do not want that to happen to the future Kunwar Viyogis of the world,” says Poonam Singh Jamwal, the Founder-Chairman of the Trust and the daughter of Group Captain Randhir Singh.

Art is a dynamic platform and the youth of today are in an ever-evolving era of communication that presents artists unique opportunities to share their talent with the world, mould and re-mould stories, emotions and narratives through multiple mediums. In order to harness this phenomenon, the KVM Trust confers the annual Prem Jamwal Innovation in Art award, inviting entries from across the country, but most importantly, offering artists the support to hone their craft as well as a stage to enthrall.

India has always been the centre of cultural confluence, its diversity its biggest strength. The KVM Trust wants to do its part to support a ‘Vishwa Kutumb’ of art, provide energy and encouragement to talent and in the process preserve the dying languages of J&K and the culture they protect.

Website: http://kvmtrust.com/

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Kathua rape, murder case: Clashes continue in Kashmir

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Security forces on Saturday burst teargas shells to disperse the demonstrators, including students, at some places in Kashmir valley, protesting against rape and brutal murder of an eight-year-old girl at Kathua in Jammu.

Scores of youth hit the streets at main town Sopore in north Kashmir district of Baramulla, demanding death penalty for culprits in Kathua case.

However, when the youth tried to take out a protest march, security forces deployed in the area stopped them from moving ahead.
As the demonstrators didn’t back down, security forces burst teargas shells to disperse the protestors, who pelted stones.

Meanwhile, clashes erupted between security forces and students, who took to streets at Chadoora in central Kashmir district of Budgam and protested against the Kathua incident.

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Kathua Factories ‘Linked’ to Ex-Minister Lal Singh Raided | Crores of Rupees was Seized.

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“Our teams raided one factory in Kathua and two in Samba districts today,” inspector general of police Jammu zone SD Singh Jamwal told Greater Kashmir.

Three factories in which ousted BJP minister Lal Singh is believed to own a share were raided by the police on Friday and acacia catechu (kattha) worth crores of rupees was seized.

“Our teams raided one factory in Kathua and two in Samba districts today,” inspector general of police Jammu zone SD Singh Jamwal told Greater Kashmir.

Sources said that the raids came after major reshuffle in the Forest department carried out by Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh, who took over charge of the department from Choudhary Lal Singh.

The former Forest Minister was compelled to resign by his party high command alongwith Industries Minister Chander Prakash Ganga following their controversial remarks in Kootah’s Hindu Ekta Manch Rally against Crime Branch probe in the brutal rape and murder case at Rasana.

Sources said that the Forest Vigilance team along with Police jointly conducted raids at J K Integrated Park in Kathua (close aide of Choudhary Lal Singh) and another factory of Katha wood in Kathua.

The raids were carried out on the Katha wood factory, where medicines are extracted. The State government has banned the export of wood out of the State, while a mafia runs the trade illegally.

Sources said that the former minister “was using his influence and most of the contractors were his close aides and the factories, which were given licenses, were run by close relatives of former Forest Minister”.
During the raids, sources told Rising Kashmir, records were checked, and seized by the Forest Department officials, and it was also learnt that large quantity of raw material was seized from the spot.
“Illegal registration has been given to some factories which processed the Khair wood more than the approved capacity,” said the sources citing the complaint.

Initially there were only three units of Khair wood— JK Katha, Guru Nanak, and BK Katha (Govt contractor) at Gangyal— but now the number was much higher. The case against Lal Singh was based on the fact that he instead of renewing the licenses had given the permissions to his kith and kin to start the work of extraction.

The involvement of former Minister started after 1994, sources said, as another unit was established with the name MS Industry and it was opposed by all three previous units who lodged a complaint with the Vigilance and later the matter went to the court.
Sources said that the court gave a ruling and directed the Government to form new policy and issue fresh licenses on the bases of raw material availability without hurting ecology or environment.

Sources told Rising Kashmir that the court directions were violated and the licenses to four units were not renewed by the Forest Department by Lal Singh. The licenses were also issued in violation of rules.

Meanwhile sources said that the BJP high command is unhappy with the former Forest Minister who is openly conducting rallies in support of a CBI inquiry in the Kathua case.
Sources told Rising Kashmir that the rallies by a senior BJP leader has put the alliance partner in a tight spot as these actions by Singh are being viewed as an “open revolt” after he was forced to resign over his participation in a pro-rape rally in Hiranagar last month.

“His campaign was seen as revolt in BJP by many and, he took out a march from Jammu City to Kathua and in Udhampur where some of his supporters shouted slogans against the Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh,” sources said.
Lal Singh, sources said, is considered to be the close aide of Jatinder Singh, who is Minister of State in PMO. On Thursday, brother of Lal Singh held a press conference in Kathua and demanded that Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh should step down.

Rajinder Singh Babbi demanded that Jitendar Singh should be made Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources said that the BJP high command was unhappy with the activities of Lal Singh after he lost portfolio in the Government and started taking out protest rallies demanding CBI probe in Rasana case. His stand has put the government in trouble as people in Kathua and Samba, and Bar Associations are openly demanding CBI probe.
Sources said that Lal Singh “will not be taken back in the cabinet of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti due to his rallies against the Government.”

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Asiya Andrabi, associates arrested in Anantnag in south Kashmir

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Jammu and Kashmir Police has arrested the Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) chief Asiya Andrabi along with her associates from Anantnag district late last night.

An official said that Andrabi and her associates were arrested from Anchidora area of the district for their alleged role in female student protests and subsequent stone-pelting on the forces.

Many other youth were also rounded up by the police during nocturnal raids in Anantnag town.

Asiya was detained at 10.00 pm yesterday after which raids followed, said the official, wishing anonymity.

Those arrested include Tehreek-e-Hurriyat tehsil Saddar Anantnag Aashiq Hussain.

Massive student protests against Kathua incident erupted earlier this week in south Kashmir, especially Anantnag town, where protesters clashed with the forces, leaving dozens of them injured.

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