On The Development Of Gojri

Omkar N. Koul Indian Institute of Language Studies Introduction The concept of Language Development or the Development of a Language is usually discussed with reference to the languages of the developing or third world countries. However, the language development may not necessarily be related to the economic development of a country. The models of the development may also vary and need not be universal. The process of development of a language has attracted attention of different linguists and language planners lately. There is however, a broad consensus that the process of the development of a language must take care of three main aspects of the language: Graphisation or script, standardization, and modernization. The language planners have discussed the models of the language development with reference to different languages. These three major aspects form the part of the discussion about the development with reference to all languages. Though the process of the development of Gojri continues at a slow pace, there has been no serious attempt to discuss the issues involved. Here an attempt will be made to review the efforts made in the area of language development of Gojri and discuss some of the main issues involved in this area. The language development primarily involves two aspects related to language planning: Corpus planning and Status planning. It is important to keep in view the existing situation of the Gojri language, its spatial dimensions, and its use in different domains. The issues involved in the language development cannot be studied in isolation of these facts. We will briefly present an overview of the Gojri language and discuss the issues related to its development. The Gojri Language The Gojri language is primarily spoken in the Poonch and Rajouri districts of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is spoken in other districts of the Kashmir valley and Jammu division by a minority of population. It is a third largest spoken language in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the first two being Kashmiri and Dogri respectively. Besides the state of the Jammu and Kashmir a minority population in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh also speaks it in. According to the 1971 census there were 3,30,485 speakers of this language. No census figures related to its speakers are available after 1971. According to a rough estimate its current speakers are about 6 lakh in India. It is also spoken in the hilly regions of the Pakistan occupied part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The exact figures of its speakers are not known. Gojri is an Indo-Aryan language of Central Group. Grierson (1919) has classified Gojri as a dialect of Rajasthani closer to Mewati. Its classification has however been debated at length. It dos share a large number of linguistic characteristics with Rajasthani, Pahari, Punjabi and Dogri languages. Kashmiri and other neighboring languages also influence the language where it is spoken natively. Gojri has two types of dialects: (a) Regional dialects and (b) Social dialects. Regional dialects are further of two types: (i) those regional dialects or variations which are spoken in the regions inside the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and (ii) those which are spoken in the regions outside the state. There are some minor linguistic variations mainly at the phonological and lexical levels in the regional vitiations of Gojri spoken in the state of the Jammu and Kashmir. Gojri spoken in different regions in the state of the Jammu and Kashmir is not only mutually intelligible but also quite homogeneous. The dialectical variations can be termed as different styles of the same speech. Since Gojri spoken in the districts of Poonch and Rajouri districts has gained some social prestige, very frequent ‘style switching’ takes place from other regional styles to the standard style. This phenomenon of style switching is very common among the educated speakers of Gojri. The Gojri spoken in Poonch and Rajouri districts continues to hold the prestige of being the standard variety, which is used in mass media and literature.

The local dominant languages largely influence Gojri spoken out of the state of the Jammu and Kashmir. Gogri speakers are usually bilinguals. They use Gojri for intra group communication and use the local dominant language for communication with others. No serious linguistic research work has been conducted in the area if social dialects of Gojri. There are significant variations in the speech of Gojri spoken by certain professionals. For example, the speech of Bakarwals is different from that of Baniari (Dodhi Gujars). Gojri shares many linguistic features including vocabulary with the neighboring languages. Kashmiri in the Kashmir valley largely influences Gojri. All the Gojri speakers are bilinguals in Gojri and Kashmiri. Similarly in the Jammu division Dogri, Punjabi and other languages spoken in the regions of the Gojri settlements influence Gojri. Gojri shares a number of linguistic features with Punjabi and Dogri especially the loss of aspiration of voiced consonants and the development of tone. It shares certain morphological and syntactic features with Punjabi (Gulshan 1997: 15-23). Language Development: Natural Process Language Development is directly related to the use of the language in different domains. Though all the languages develop as a natural process, it is only the humaan interruption, which makes the languages develop in a planned manner. In order to channelise the development process, one has to keep in mind its different uses. The primary uses of a language are in the areas of education, mass media, and administration. Certain demands are made for the language development keeping in view the demands of the society. Languages are used as a vehicle of communication in modern science and technology. It is only through the language the knowledge and skills are transmitted from one generation to another. Use of Gojri in Administration Gojri though spoken by a significant minority of people in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, has never been used as an official language in the state. Persian was introduced as the official language during the Muslim rule beginning the 14th Century, which was later replaced by Urdu, another non-native language, in 1907, which continues as the official language even after independence. The state of Jammu and Kashmir decided to continue the use of Urdu as the official language in the state. Kashmiri and other native languages of the state including Gojri have no place in administration. Keeping in view the multilingual character of the state, the Constitution of the Jammu and Kashmir state recognizes six languages spoken in the state: Kashmiri, Dogri, Ladakhi, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and Gojri. It is the duty of the state to develop all these languages. The major native languages being Kashmiri, Dogri, Gojri and Ladakhi. In the three regions of the state, Kashmiri is spoken in the valley of Kashmir, Dogri in the Jammu region, and Ladakhi in the Ladakh region. According to the number of its speakers Gojri has the third largest number of speakers after Kashmiri and Dogri. With a higher rate of illiteracy in the state, it is appropriate to use languages of the state in administration in their respective regions where they are spoken natively. Kashmiri and other languages of the state are not even used in administration even at lower levels. All the official communications are recorded in Urdu, a non-native language. The government officials have to communicate with the people at the grass root level as effectively as possible. This cannot be done through an alien language. Use of Gojri in Education Gojri has no role in the education in the state of the Jammu and Kashmir. Urdu continues to be used in its dominant role in education in the Kashmir and Ladakh regions. It continues to be a compulsory subject of study in schools and also is the medium of instruction at the school level. Hindi is used in these roles as an alternative in most of the Jammu region. As a result of language movement in favor of Kashmiri and Dogri in the Kashmir and Jammu divisions respectively, departments of Kashmiri and Dogri were set up at the University of Kashmir, and

University of Jammu respectively. These universities offer post-graduate level courses in the respective languages. There is no University department to offer courses in Gojri. Recent years have witnessed a language movement in favour of the use of Gojri in education in the regions of the state where the majority of its population uses it. As far as its use in education is concerned, the following areas need an immediate attention: • Gojri is to be provided a place in the school curriculum as a compulsory school subject in the areas where the majority speaks it natively. This would require the preparation of basic textbooks in this language. A bilingual transfer model can be adopted for the switchover from Gojri to the state language i.e. Urdu after the third grade. Gojri is to be used as the medium of instruction unto the primary level in the schools where there is demand for it. This would involve the preparation of textbooks of all the subjects thorough this medium. It is necessary to train the teachers in the teaching of Gojri as a subject as well its use as the medium of instruction.

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Use of Gojri in Mass Media Gojri has a limited role in mass media. The setting up of Radio Kashmir in the state after independence has played a prominent role in the use of Gojri in radio broadcasts. Gojri is used as a medium of news and feature broadcasts on the Radio-by-Radio Kashmir Srinagr as well as Radio Kashmir Jammu. It has encouraged the creative writers and scholars in Gojri to write in Gojri. It has resulted in the development of prose genre and boosted the literary activities in the language. The Doordarshan at Srinagar and at Jammu have provided a limited role to Gojri in its telecasts. There is limited use of Gojri in the print mass media. No daily newspaper is published in the language. Two journals namely Shiraazaa (published by the J & K Academy of Art, Culture of Languages), Awaz-e-Gurjar (published by the Gurjar Desh Charitable Trust, Jammu which devotes one section to Gojri) are published more or less regularly. There has been no policy regarding the development of journalistic writings in the Gojri language. The technical vocabulary used in the journalistic broadcasts/telecasts and writings are primarily based on the Urdu phrases and vocabulary. Thus, the use of Gojri in mass media has not attracted favorable attention so far. It has a limited use in the electronic media including Radio, and TV. The use of Gojri in the electronic media has to improve both, in quality as well as quantity. Gojri has a very limited use in the print media. The language cannot develop fully unless it is widely used in different kinds of mass media. The state has to decide about the policy regarding its use in the mass media. In the absence of a clear policy of the government of the state, the problems of the development of Gojri with special reference to its use in education, mass media and administration will continue. No language can be developed in isolation of its use in different domains. These challenges are to be addressed by the language planners. Standardization There is a scope for standardization of the Gojri language at different levels. The problem of the standardization of the script is a prominent one. No serious efforts have been made in this direction so far. Gojri is primarily written in the Perso-Arabic script in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and in Devanagri outside the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Gojri is also written in Roman script in the texts of language data provided in the linguistic or literary works in English. Since most of the publications in the language are from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, it is necessary to point out certain problems related to the standardization of the Perso-Arabic script for Gojri.

The question of the standardization of the script is directly related to the question of its being able to represent all the speech sounds and other phonetic characteristics of the language. The Gojri language is a tonal language. It has three tones: high, mid and low. There are no symbols in the Perso-Arabic script to represent the tones in the language. The symbols representing the voiced aspirated speech sounds in thee Perso-Arabic borrowed words are used unchanged with on additional diacritic marks. It is possible to design three diacritic signs to represent tone. The use of Roman for Gojri started with the European scholars who transliterated examples of Gojri in this script. It is widely used in citing the original literary pieces in the works related to literature, and also in the language data in the linguistic works related to the language written in English. No standardization in the use of the Roman script for Gojri has taken place so far. Different scholars have used different diacritic signs for representing the sound system of the Gojri language. The Roman script continues to be used in citing data from Gojri in the books written in English related to Gojri language and literature. In the linguistic studies there is a convention of using Roman phonetic script. Different scholars are using different types of conventions not similar to those suggested in the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) to facilitate easy printing. Though the pace of the linguistic works in Gojri is quite slow, there is a need for standardizing the Roman phonetic symbols for representing the speech sounds and other phonetic characteristics of the language. The Devanagri script is mostly used in the research works related to the Gojri language carried out in Hindi for the citation of the data from Gojri. The Devanagri script requires modifications for writing Gojri texts. Different types of additional diacritics need to be devised for representing the tone in Gojri. Standard variety As pointed out above, there are certain dialectical (both geographical and social) variations in the Gojri language. Gojri spoken in and around Rajauri and Poonch districts has somehow attained the status of the standard variety. The speakers of other regions tend to switch over to this variety in their use in formal situations and interpersonal communication with the speakers of the standard variety. The variations are mostly reflected in the spoken variety. They are almost non-existent in the written domain of the language. The mass media and the publication of literary books are playing an important role in the standardization of the grammatical forms and structures. We do not however have adequate publications in different areas to standardize the use of Gojri in different technical and scientific domains. Keeping in view the limited use of Gojri in different domains, no serious efforts have been made so far in this area. Modernization With the fast development in the areas of Science and Technology, it is imperative that the language has to be an effective vehicle for transmitting knowledge, skills, and disseminating information in these areas. Only a limited number of publications are available in the domain of science and technology. Modernization of the language would demand the preparation of technical vocabulary and phrases to be used in the scientific and technical texts. No effort has yet been made to develop these special registers of the language. It has been a usual practice to adapt the forms used in Urdu according to the phonetic characteristics of the language. The role of Institutions The development of Gojri has not become a strong movement at the level of institutions so far. Only a limited number of institutions have played some role and are indirectly involved in the development of the language in different ways. The prominent among them are the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art Culture and Languages, The Gurjar Desh Charitable Trust, Jammu, and the Central Institute of Indian Languages. The Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages was established in the fifties and is charged with the responsibility of promoting all the languages, which are listed in the Constitution of the

Jammu and Kashmir State. The Academy has made significant contribution by bringing out quite a few books in the Gojri language. The Academy has prepared and published Gojri and Urdu- Gojri dictionaries in seven volumes each, and two volumes of a Gojri encyclopedia so far. The Academy provides subsidies to the authors and voluntary organizations for the publication of their books and also awards prizes for the book in Gojri. It is due to the financial help provided by the Academy that certain books especially anthologies of Gojri literature have been brought out. The Academy also brings out a bi-monthly journal entitled Shiraz, and an annual volume entitled Soon Adam in Gojri. Both of these have devoted special issues to certain important themes. The Central Institute of Indian Languages has prepared Gojri Phonetic Reader, Gojri Grammar and An Intensive Course in Gojri. The Govt. also provides financial assistance for the publication of manuscripts, and makes bulk purchase of books in Gojri under its Grant in Aid Schemes. Conclusion As compared to other major languages in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the development of Gojri has not been given proper attention due to various reasons. Gojri has no role in education and administration. It has very limited role in mass media. The efforts made by certain State and Central Govt. institutions, autonomous and voluntary organizations have not been sufficient to develop this language. The problems regarding its standardization and modernization can be resolved only after Gojri is provided a proper role in education, mass media and administration. It is only after these roles are specified, steps taken for the development of this language will be meaningful. REFERENCES Grierson, George A. 1919. Linguistic Survey of India. Vol 1, Part 1, Vol X, Part 2. Calcutta, Reprinted Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, 1968. Gulshan, Gurcharan Singh 1997.Gojri zabaan Te sant bhaashaa. In Awaz-e- Gurjar, Vol 3, Issue 12. Sharma, Jagdish Sharma 1979. Gojri Phonetic Reader. Mysore: CIIL. Sharma, Jagdish Sharma 1982. Gojri Grammar. Mysore: CIIL.