Cultural Academy bulldozes Kashmiri language: Official
Seeks CM’s Intervention On Staff De-Linking, Neglect
Srinagar, Sep 24: J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages is facing a serious charge of “bulldozing Kashmiri language”— something which the J&K Government is allegedly overlooking. This time, an Academy official has shot off a missive to the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, apart from the Academy’s Secretary, on the institution’s “lopsided approach to Kashmiri language.” The representation has lent credence to reports that the Academy was “deliberately neglecting Kashmiri language by de-linking its staff.”
“Kashmiri is a 1000 years old language and is much older than some international languages also including English. It is admitted to be a multi-dimensional language that has not only survived the onslaught of time but has been successfully keeping its pace with changing times, absorbing all the traditional and the modern requirements for a successful and effective means of communication through all media,” the representation, shot by Academy’s Editor [English], reads.
This language, the official says, is committed to a particular kind of social ethos that is pluralistic, tolerant, and accommodative with a deep and diverse understanding of life. “This language is very dear to its speakers who have been holding it very dear along with its vision despite all odds. Any attempt at fiddling with their language is considered to be sacrilegious and a direct assault on their distinct identity,” he writes.
Unfortunately, the official writes, during the tenure of the incumbent secretary “many steps were taken that have not only cast a dark shadow on the growth and promotion of the Kashmiri language in the Academy but have blurred the very vision the Academy was created for.”
“Kashmiri section, which was the largest section in the Academy by virtue of the long history of this language, its literary and cultural merit and the numerical strength of its speakers, along with other language sections were expecting the present Secretary to be sensitive and open to the idea of promoting all languages without any bias and prejudice as he is from the Academy only and was genuinely expected to be more aware of its vision,” the official writes.
However, he writes, “such steps were taken which not only physically reduced the strength of the staff in the section but also affected functioning of the section. For such steps there is no other explanation except the impression that it has created in the Kashmiri section that the steps were taken out of bias against this language.”
Other sections, the official writes, were created and promoted in the Academy at the cost of the Kashmiri section that further reduced its professional strength. “Some of the posts in the Urdu section for example were correspondingly diverted and reduced from the Kashmiri section,” he writes.
He says the posts of Editors Arabic and English were de-linked though the incumbents had been appointed for Kashmiri section and by virtue of their appointment and job profile, had to work for the Kashmiri language.
“Apparently, both the posts were de-linked from the Kashmiri section as the Editor Arabic had to be promoted to the newly upgraded selection grade post as he was not eligible for the promotion to the post of Chief Editor Kashmiri for the simple reason of not being a Kashmiri knowing, a must qualification for the promotion to the post.”
The official argues that he was assigned the job of bringing out two issues of the Kashmiri periodical “so that, in case of any objection to our de-linking from the Kashmiri section, it could be claimed that I too am working for Kashmiri language.”
He mentions that such steps were bound to have severe adverse impact on the functioning of the section which is quite obvious. “Even in the tenure of the incumbent Secretary, the Section failed to bring out the latest volume of Encyclopeadia Kashmiryana or any dictionary or any other substantial publication. The section is this time being told to bring out routine periodicals,” he writes in the representation.
The official argues that “various posts were created and various promotions made in the Academy in the last three years but they were not rationalised.” “While posts were created in other language sections, there was no corresponding increase in the number of the posts in the Kashmiri section. In fact, posts were diverted, reduced from the Kashmiri section on one pretext or the other. With the result, the current scheme of seniority in the Academy is such that no Kashmiri knowing person has any prospects of being promoted to the post of Additional Secretary for the next 30 years, except for two officers from non-Kashmiri sections who are coincidentally already in the queue for the post.”
The official alleges that “all Kashmiri officers have been barred from all important subjects in the Academy including the Best Book Award, Best Translation Award Information Officer and the same have been handed over to a fresh staffer (PRO) who was appointed during the tenure of the present Secretary after the conversion of the post of the Assistant Registrar, and is still on probation and again not a Kashmiri knowing person. All this has created a lot of ill-will, enmity and resentment within and outside the Academy.”
“I want to put it in writing that I am not against the progress and development of any language within or outside the Academy. All the languages in the Academy are like flowers and there will be as much fragrance as many languages there are but their development and promotion has to be in a positive, impartial, objective, unbiased and rational way,” the official writes.
He says the “lopsided growth that the Academy witnessed during the current tenure is bound to create stir and resentment not only within but also outside the Academy among millions of Kashmiri speaking people who live in all the three regions of the state.”
NO OFFICIAL WORD
The Academy Secretary Zaffar Iqbal Manhas could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
APART from accusations of bulldozing Kashmiri language, the Academy authorities have come under the scanner of civil society for turning the institution into a “rehabilitation centre for sons, daughters and other relatives” of litterateurs.
In the past three years, at least a dozen people, who happen to be close relatives of litterateurs, have been appointed in the academy, allegedly in violation of rules. Some of the appointments, according to Academy insiders, were made during the 2010 unrest when Kashmir was burning.
What has sparked off concern in literary circles is why the J&K Government is overlooking the “irregularities.”
Pertinently, the incumbent secretary, Zaffar Iqbal Manhas, has recently been granted two-months extension, raising many eyebrows.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 24 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 24 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 25 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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