Since Kashmiri has no role in education and administration, the state has been doing its halfhearted efforts to promote and popularize it. Being the language of majority, it has been reduced to the status of minority language. The speech community considers it worth domestic speech.
There are several problems as far as planning Kashmiri is concerned. The Persio-Arabic script, which is adopted for the language, has many problems. This script poses problems even for writing Urdu, as it contains asset of Arabic graphemes which is not required to represent the Urdu sound system. To this doubly burdened script must be added characters that represent peculiar Kashmiri consonants and vowels that are not found in Urdu.
Urdu has remained as a de facto intrastate official language in Kashmir and educated Kashmiris have developed proficiency in both spoken and written Urdu over a period of time. For this reason, turning over to Kashmiri in its presently written form is tough even for educated masses.
During 1950, it was the objective of the state government to make Kashmiri the sole medium of instruction at the primary level. But unfortunately, this awaits implementation even after fifty-three years of policy making.
The government of India, in its first place, accorded Kashmiri an open and equal opportunity to develop as an intrastate official language by including it in the eighth schedule of the constitution. But unfortunately the state of J&K is overlooking at this overwhelming gesture.
Kashmiri has no role in education and of late its literacy value is recovering recognition at the highest academic levels. The University of Kashmir has a Kashmiri department, which offers postgraduate courses and research degrees in Kashmiri. During late 80’s Kasmiri has been offered as an elective subject at the undergraduate level in four colleges of the valley. In a small number of schools it also exists as an elective subject at the higher secondary school level. The role of Kashmiri in the educational system is not as medium for learning but as a subject of study.
The language in mass media has been under some sort of planning process over a period of time. In order to maintain the standard of the language for their programs, the radio and TV have been doing the things on their own experience. The major thrust of the planning appears to revive and maintain the core vocabulary, pronunciation and certain peculiar expressions uniquely available in Kashmiri. Other terms are borrowed from Urdu, like wazir-e-aala (for chief minister), wazir-e-azam (for Prime minister) and so on.
In the planning process one can observe that after adopting the present Persio-Arabic script for the language and establishing the Academy of Art, Culture and languages, nothing concrete has been done in the direction of planning.
The modified (to suit the language) Perso-Arabic script with slight modifications can be considered as the standard one. All the writers in Kashmiri are supposed to write in this so-called standard script, even when it demands a heavy reform.
The language planning can be seen in two perspectives, corpse planning and status planning. In the corpse planning the standardization of terminology and the grammatical forms is taken care of. And in status planning the use of the language at the lower (district) level is taken care of. The planners must try to address both these important aspects of planning the language.
Kashmiri script desperately demands simplification of the alphabets, graphemes and the diacritic marks. The scientifically modified script needs to be followed strictly.
The lack of interest as well as motivation on the part of the state government could be tackled if the people of Kashmir realize the gravity of the situation, and become aware of the possibilities for promoting their mother tongue. Such awareness is likely to turn into a mass language movement.
Copyright CIIL-India Mysore