Language has considerable
influence on the esthetic and intellectual achievement of a civilized society,
broadly referred as culture. Language not only acts as a binding force for a
community, but more importantly, it confers upon it, a distinct mark of
identification. For centuries, Kashmiri Pandits have had to leave
int.mp3ittently, their motherland through religious and political persecution,
which severed their links with both spoken and written medium of their
mother-tongue. The recent en masse exodus, having scattered our community
throughout the country, has dealt yet another blow to our already fragile
Another disturbing trend is that the State linguistic
authority has, over the years, created an impression through sustained overt and
covert means, that Persian has been the original script of Kashmiri language.
Whereas the fact remains that from the Vedic times, Sanskrit has been the medium
of language in Kashmir which has Devanagari as its script. Later Sharda was
developed and liberally used by Kashmiri writers and scholars and thus the
script flourished in the Valley. Alberuni claims that Sharda, which he refers as
'Sidha-Matrika', p.mp3eated not only in Kashmir but it also was the medium of
writing in the whole of India. With the passage of time, Sharda adorned the
confines of the priestly class.
In the post independence era, the J&K State
government accorded official recognition to Persian script for Kashmiri and it
received patronage mostly from the Muslim writers. Kashmiri Pandit writers felt
that Devanagari was more suited to phonetics and dialectory inflection of the
language and they adopted it as their medium for writing Kashmiri.
The linguistic experts, however, felt that some of the
Kashmiri sounds could not be represented by Nagari letters or alphabet, hence
specific primary and secondary accents, pronunciation symbols and dialectorial
marks were developed / devised for better grasp of the language, which received
approval of standardization by a Committee of experts and scholars, set up in
1995. This unif.mp3 script is more or less in use since then.
The present 'Basic Reader for Kashmiri Language'
in Devanagari script, is a humble effort by the Kashmiri Pandits' Association
and Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust combine, in adopting a
unif.mp3 pattern in translating Kashmiri articulatory sounds into a written
script. Simultaneously the 'Reader' offers more elucidation on phonetics
and includes orthographic lessons in Nagari alphabet with equivalent Roman
alphabet, which, it is hoped, shall even help those who are not well versed with
Kashmiri. The equivalent of Kashmiri words with their vowels and diacritical
marks in Roman letters, make it easy to decipher and read. The 'Reader'
is designed to be an aid to basic comprehension for both spoken and written
The stupendous work of Shri M. K. Raina and Smt Neelam
Trakru in bringing out this 'Reader' will, I am sure, go a long way in arousing
the interest in our young and not so young community members in their
mother-tongue and foster a deeper communication bond through the medium of
J. L. Manwati
Kashmiri Pandits' Association
Navreh, 13th Chaitra, 2058
(26th March, 2001)