After four years of rigorous work, acclaimed poet and writer M.K. Raina recently launched, “A Dictionary of Peculiar & Uncommon Kashmiri Words & Phrases”.
The writer says that the reason behind compiling the dictionary is to let people know the meaning of Kashmiris words and phrases that have forgotten to speak or know them, but do not know their real meaning. “I have put these words and phrases in this dictionary so that Kashmiri language won’t diminish,” he said.
Born in 1948 at Chattabal, Srinagar, Raina is a civil engineer by profession who is presently living in Mumbai. He has been working on Kashmiri language and literature since 1995.
After moving to Mumbai after 1995, M.K. Raina started a project “ZAAN” through which he along with like-minded friends educated and provided information about our native language to young kids who had little hold on Kashmiri language or were not exposed to Kashmiri language much. “Under this project we held many seminars and conducted many quizzes competitions.” the writer said.
Raina has translated volumes of Kashmiri literature from Nastalik to Devanagari script for the benefit of those who are not able to read Nastaliq script. It includes Lalla Vaakh, Shahrukh, Kashmiri folk tales, children songs, proverbs, riddles, allusions (talmihs), Katha Sarit Sagar, Gulrez, besides the works of other renowned authors including Krishen Joo Razdan’s Bhajan Mala. He has also translated Pt. Som Dev’s Vetaal Pacheesi from Tawney and Penzer’s English Translation to Kashmiri.
Presently, he is translating Kashmiri folk tales from Kashmiri to English. He says he is doing this so that Kashmiri language would not remain limited to the native people only.
“Basic aim of doing this is that our language should reach a large number of people around the globe” M.K Raina also gives classes to international students also. The course is of four months duration where the students learn the basics of Kashmiri language.
“It took me nearly 4 years to compile this dictionary. It was difficult as the material was not easily available and it required consulting so many books. Besides, I had to speak to different types of people to verify the information. It required a lot of hard work and research,” says Raina.
Raina has published his two collections of short stories in Kashmiri titled ‘Tsok modur’ and ‘Khen son’ and a collection of his poems ‘Pevam chum yad’. His third collection of short stories ‘Kyah kyah vanu’ is yet to be published
The author feels the pain of seeing the fate of his native language. “Our language is hardly spoken nowadays. People prefer to speak in other languages. Speaking in Kashmiri is considered inferior. It's unfortunate we are not giving importance to our language. It's the role of parents and elders to start speaking with their kids in their native language. That is the only way to revive it.”
According to Raina, introduction of Kashmiri language in schools would not make much of a difference until it is spoken at every level. “Kashmiri academicians should encourage and take necessary steps on an individual level to revive this language”.
“Kashmiri language should be spoken at our homes, at educational institutes and workplaces. This will give recognition to our language in every section of society. It’s our identity and we should preserve it”.
“If we speak in our mother tongue our communication will be better. There won’t be any differences,” he believes.
Raina has his own website www.mkraina.com and Youtube channel with the name ‘Maharaj Krishen Raina’.