Treat us as linguistic minority; demand JK Gujjars

Include Gojri in 8th Schedule of Indian constitution

By News Agency of Kashmir

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Jammu : The Gujjars of Jammu and Kashmir have urged upon the State Government to treat them as “Linguistic Minority” in the State and provide constitutional safeguards to their language “Gojri” by recommending its inclusion in the Eighth Scheduled of Constitution of India.

In a memorandum to chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad by all the prominent Gujjar writers, poets and intellectuals through Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation have sought the intervention of State Government to recommend the case of Tribal Language “Gojri” to Central government for inclusion in the list of official languages of India.

National Secretary of the Foundation Dr. Javaid Rahi told News Agency of Kashmir here today that Gojri has a strong literary tradition and has been recognised as a Tribal language of India by Sahitya Academy. .Being one of the oldest and significant languages of the South Asian sub-continent, spoken by Gujjar Tribe-an ethno- linguistic minority of the state, has locus standi for its inclusion in the 8th Schedule as there is an adequate provision and facilities in Indian Constitution for linguistic minorities .

“Gojri is one of the ancient languages of India. In well documented works the historians have traced the origin and practice of Gojri language since B C era. There are several mentions of this language in ancient religious books written in and around 1st century B.C.” the memorandum said.

“Noted Saint Scholar and Hindi Persian Poet of thirteen century Hazrat Amir Khusroo formally made mention of Gojri language in the list of Eighteen Major Indian languages of his time. Researchers and historians are of considered opinion that Gojri language is the mother of Rajasthani, Gujrati Urdu and Haryanvi Languages, the memorandum added.

“State Government has already recognized Gojri by including it in the 6th Schedule of the constitution and it is the aspiration of millions of people who want that due credit should be given to this ancient language which is serving our motherland for centuries together” said Dr. Javaid Rahi.

He further added that according to current analysis Gojri language is the first language of 20 million of people in South Asia including India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, a good chunk of them live in Jammu and Kashmir state. It is easily understood and spoken by the people belonging to other linguistic groups as well but has not been given due recognition for unspecified reasons.

The memorandum further said several pleas by the groups and individuals espousing the cause have failed to convince the political leadership for inclusion of Gojri in the eighth schedule of the constitution of India thus giving the language the recognition it deserves since very long.