Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nepal’s linguistic problems: Languaages as a basis of would be federal states in Nepal Sanskrit is the uniting umbilical cord

Nepal’s linguistic problems: Languaages as a basi of would be federal states in Nepal

In reply to the article of

Though I am not a linguist my interst is in languages and I can follow 17 languages including Nepali, French, Russian. And I will reply as spokesman of Antarrashtriya Maithili Parishad(International Maithili Council) since Maithili has a stake in Nepal, probably more than any other language on the number of its speakers and location in so-called Madhesh region of Nepal Terai.

True,”Language issues must be debated scientifically, which is linguistically, and not politically,” at all.

Language becomes a political matter when a group is deprived of its due rights.

Vice President (VP) Parmananda Jha’s oath-taking in Hindi is a point and that was not as much to his Hindi love but probably his opposition to Nepali and Nepali speaking Nepalis who failed to give due status to other languages and their speakers.

True, “The human cognitive capacity is solely dependent on the language faculty, which every single human being is born with.”

True,”It is in this process that a certain language is attached to us as our ident
ity. When human beings are divided in their identities into different cultural and ethnic groups, it is most natural that they have their identity as a group by virtue of their belongingness to a certain linguistic community,” ..”nationalities and languages.”

However, though ,”The Madhes-based pol
itical parties in Nepal have been struggling to establish Hindi as their common language,” it must be noted that linguistically so-called Madhesis are a heterogenous lot comprising majority of Maithili from Beerganj to Jhapa and west of Beerganj streches of Bhojpuri, Awadhee and Thau in between.

Calling them all Hindi speakers is a myth and anti-Pahari feeling cannot make a new language or acceptance of a non-mother tongue to all of them.

Whether Hindi is the dominant language in India or not is an another matter of discussion and it has nothing to do in the context of Nepal. In India too English is continung in official work because many parts of India are not in agreement with Hindi as Official language enshrined in its Constitution.

If that position of English in India is to be taken by Nepli Madhesis that Hindi be in stead of mother tongues they speak, it will not be fruitful as we see demand of Mithila and Bhojpur states in present Indian state of Bihar as a repercussion to it.

Any linguist cannot establish any language in Madhesh or anywhere in the world. George Abraham Grierson hypothesized a language BIHARI for Bihar state of India and it never could become an entity. A linguist’s is to study the evolution of languages and not creation of languages.

The interim constitution of Nepal stands for federalism and among proposed numbers of federal models based on data and facts one should accept that Nepal is having a mixed ethnic and linguistic group which should be respected and should be basis of Fedaralism including the recognition of languages in the restructured new Nepal.
The Madhes parties themselves could have had linguists to give a linguistic rationale in favor of the languages they speak and not Hindi language which is not mother tongue of anyone.

Where Maithili derived from Eastern branch of Aryan languages is closest to Sanskrit and having vast treasurer of literature for about one thousand year Maithili language and its script is regarded mother of Bengali, Assemes and Oriya , Bhojpuri and Awadhi are still regarded dialects of Hindi language.

, While Bhojpuri and Awadhee may be considered part of Hindi it is distinct from Nepali and maybe closer to Maithili itself than Nepali.

Whether according to statistics, is Nepali a lingua franca or the link language in Tarai – or Hindi the answer will be probably whole Terai is not a set of speakers. Eastern part is having Maithili lingua franca and in Western part to Beergunj Bhojpuri and Awadhee.

If Nepali had been used it was because of its officialdom and once Federal states will be granted Maithili will replace Nepali or Hindi whatever little space thsese have occupied.

This is a non-political view and any linguist will come to this observation of mine on this.

One should go in dept as to why VP,Nepal has announced ‘ in Nepali that he cannot speak Nepali.’ It is not the language problem but an indicator to the so far oppression Terai people might have faced during previous regimes of few hundred years.

I sincerely feel he is a fairly respected gentleman for whom words like.’ linguistic disgrace,’ does not seem good.

True the Madhes leaders have been wrongly of promoting Hindi linguistically but not as said ‘as per the interest of India.

And associating Madhesis everything with India in this regard is a false statement.

Whether politicians account for the pitiable conditions of any country is debatable as they come out of the public.

True,’languages issues in the hands of the politicians.’

Of course, “the decisions on granting or not granting certain status to any language are to be determined at a political level. However, those decisions need to be informed and influenced by the experts in the concerned area. For this, we need to distinguish politics from linguistic facts.”

Agreed,” Language is not merely an instrument to communicate; it is also an instrument for a society’s collective cognitive growth.

Nepali linguists would do a great service to the nation struggling to federalize by coming out in the open from their cornered dens.

It is also an opportunity for them to link pure academic research with social transformation.”

So I feel that every linguists, will agree the points I raised that

a. madhesh is not a solo entity and federation of Maithils and Bhojpuris and Awadhees and Tharuhats need under the umbrella of Nepal on linguistic basis so that they are not repeating mistake Indian Bihar had done in past.

b. Sanskrit is the uniting umbilical cord among all above numerated and Nepali and other Pahari languages like Newari and hence, Sanskrit be made second language all over the language(first language, language of federal state) and probably it will be respected by all Nepalis as all Indians do respect Sanskrit.

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