Through this news portal, I want to draw your kind attention to the order made public on February 7, 2023, when the government came up with the out-of-the-blue plan to create a committee that has been entrusted with the charting the future path for teaching Hindi language in the schools of Jammu and Kashmir from Class 1st to 10th. It paves the way for the sidelining of Urdu, which is already on the verge of ‘extinction’, owing to many causes.
Sir, we are aware of the fact that every language is a civilization in itself. Hindi is not an exception. Being an official language, there is some inclination towards reading and learning Hindi in some schools. However, it doesn’t mean that other languages should be sidelined and the step-motherly treatment is meted out to them.
This is a fact that in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in Kashmir and some areas of Jammu, Urdu has been the main language of communication and expression. As mentioned above, Urdu is a mirror through which the majority of the Valley’s population sees its past, present, and the coming future.
In 1885 CE, His Excellency, Maharaja Pratap Singh made it the official language. Furthermore, the majority of the writers write in Urdu. For more than a century, Kashmiris have been expressing themselves in this language. Every linguist knows the fact that a language absorbs myriad languages in it. The same is the case with Urdu. It has a marvelous absorbing power.
Apart from these, it helps learners in learning other languages as well. In order to learn Kashmiri, Urdu is quite handy. Its mercurial linguistic nature makes it easy to learn the Kashmiri language. Last but not least, hundreds of daily and weekly newspapers are published in Urdu which makes it crystal clear how intimately it is connected with the native population.
I am not against teaching Hindi. It is a welcome step. Diversity opens the closed doors of the mind and results in a metropolitan or cosmopolitan culture. However, preferring one language to another is a direct assault on the very survival of a language.
Language is not only an identity; rather it is a life in itself. It is the source of life. It is a cause to live for. Before concluding, the NEP 2020 also makes it clear that language is necessary for sustainable education. Mother tongue is the best source of learning. It makes comprehension quite easy. The world has changed. In the age of globalization, we must embrace all the cultures of the world, particularly different languages.
So, I request your highness to have a soft corner for Urdu as well as other languages. Overall, we live in a diverse society where variety or variability is the foundation stone.
Syed Mustafa Ahmad (Student)