Burushaski script accepted, primer launched

Burushaski script

News Desk

Islamabad: The script of Burushaski, one of the endangered languages of Gilgit-Baltistan, has gotten recognition and its own script. A primer of the Perso-Arabic script with Roman characters was formally launched at the National Curriculum Council secretariat in the federal capital on Tuesday (January 31).

Dr Mueezuddin Hakal an Assistant Professor at the Taxila Institute of Asian Civilization, Quaid-i-Azam University, presented the contributions of a number of linguists in the development of the standard script for every dialect of Burushaski.

Editorial Board members of Burusho Maraka and Primer with copies of the primer at the National Curriculum Council Secretariate, Islamabad on Tuesday, January 31, 2023. Photo by Dr Moeez/HAH

He acknowledged the contribution of Burusho Maraka and members of the Editorial Board of the primer.

Burushaski language is spoken by over 200,000 people in the Hunza, Nagar, and Yasin districts of Gilgit-Baltistan besides the Dandosa, Batmalo, Batraj Colony, Annatnag, and Srinagar valleys of the Indian-administered Kashmir. It was recorded for the first time in 1854 by Alexander Cunningham with the name “Khajona”. But other linguists have declared it one of the oldest languages belonging to the Yeniscien family of languages spoken in eastern Siberia.  

Prof Dr Maryam Chughtai, Director of the National Curriculum Council of Pakistan, the chief guest said: “we should celebrate our languages; we need to preserve and promote dying languages and cultures such as Burushaski for our generations to come.”

She also reminded the government of its responsibility to preserve all languages.

She informed the audience that a similar work on the Kalasha culture by this Institute is in progress.  

Khadija Khan highlighted the importance of having a standard “family language” for the people of every culture, which should be in practice besides regional, national, and international languages.

She insisted on developing multilingual training for children. Ms Khadija said a child even in the early months of conception starts learning a language from her or his environment, therefore, we should create a multilingual environment for generations to come. For this, she highlighted the role of every member particularly the grandparents. Poets, writers, and artists can play a key role in the preservation of language and culture.

Participants at the launch of a Burushaski language script primer at the National Curriculum Secretariat, Islamabad on Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023. Photo by Dr Moeez Hakal/HAH

Muhammad Wazir Shafi, President Burusho Maraka appreciated those who contributed in developing the standard Burushaski script.

“Absence of script of local languages has been a great hurdle in imparting education in our own languages at primary level,” he said.

He urged the education authorities to consider the proposal of Burusho Maraka to introduce a curriculum in local languages.

Mujeebuddin, a founding member of Burusho Maraka, highlighted the importance of publishing the folk literature that awaits patronage from institutions like the National Curriculum Council of Pakistan.

Suhail bin Aziz highlighted the importance of a language like Burushaski. He emphasized the preservation of cultural diversity in Pakistan.

He further said that the Burusho-speaking people will be proud of their language and express their feelings through this script.

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