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May 15, 2019 |

Kashmiri in popular entertainment

While the debates on preserving the mother tongue – Kashmiri language – have waxed and waned over the years, it is welcome to see the language promoted by a programme inadvertently that has become popular in the valley in a short span of time. Criticism apart on the latest TV entertainment programme, the Kashmiri rendition of popular British game show (original) ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ has given the audience something they had least expected – their own local language that is battling to preserve its valuable expressions. For fact, it is a game show, of the kind that makes an average viewer imagine the possibilities of making easy money by answering right a set of questions. That element has made it a success and the original game show has been reproduced across the world with the viewers latched to their TV sets. For entertainment, it serves its purpose, other than that we are obliged to tell the people there are no short cuts to becoming rich; it is hard work and toil that pays not only the individual but the entire society. However, the takeaway in the show is the promotion of Kashmiri language, which has become a herculean task in literary and cultural circles. It is quite possible to give a boost to Kashmiri language through popular entertainment. Unfortunately, some of the other similar experiments have failed miserably. For instance, some radio jockeys are known to speak Kashmiri in an alien accent, perhaps to make it sound chic. Like noise, it doesn’t play well on the ears of audience who expect a completely local experience, besides it shows disdain and bias of the speaker towards his or her own mother tongue. No doubt there are variations as there are dialects, but to make it sound more stylish doesn’t appease the real listeners of the language. On preserving or promoting Kashmiri language we have a habit of blaming government. But the bitter truth is that besides the official neglect, people are also indifferent towards the preservation of the mother tongue. The future of Kashmiri language is a matter of concern given its declining use in homes even as demands for its safeguard have received impetus in recent years. Lack of political will has been the main impediment in the implementation of measures for promoting the language. However, civil society cannot be absolved of the responsibility.  The need of the hour is to go beyond speeches and resolutions and actively campaign for the cause. While exploring the options, it may be that we have been looking at wrong places – at least the game show suggests it.  

May 15, 2019 |

Kashmiri in popular entertainment

              

While the debates on preserving the mother tongue – Kashmiri language – have waxed and waned over the years, it is welcome to see the language promoted by a programme inadvertently that has become popular in the valley in a short span of time. Criticism apart on the latest TV entertainment programme, the Kashmiri rendition of popular British game show (original) ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ has given the audience something they had least expected – their own local language that is battling to preserve its valuable expressions. For fact, it is a game show, of the kind that makes an average viewer imagine the possibilities of making easy money by answering right a set of questions. That element has made it a success and the original game show has been reproduced across the world with the viewers latched to their TV sets. For entertainment, it serves its purpose, other than that we are obliged to tell the people there are no short cuts to becoming rich; it is hard work and toil that pays not only the individual but the entire society. However, the takeaway in the show is the promotion of Kashmiri language, which has become a herculean task in literary and cultural circles. It is quite possible to give a boost to Kashmiri language through popular entertainment. Unfortunately, some of the other similar experiments have failed miserably. For instance, some radio jockeys are known to speak Kashmiri in an alien accent, perhaps to make it sound chic. Like noise, it doesn’t play well on the ears of audience who expect a completely local experience, besides it shows disdain and bias of the speaker towards his or her own mother tongue. No doubt there are variations as there are dialects, but to make it sound more stylish doesn’t appease the real listeners of the language. On preserving or promoting Kashmiri language we have a habit of blaming government. But the bitter truth is that besides the official neglect, people are also indifferent towards the preservation of the mother tongue. The future of Kashmiri language is a matter of concern given its declining use in homes even as demands for its safeguard have received impetus in recent years. Lack of political will has been the main impediment in the implementation of measures for promoting the language. However, civil society cannot be absolved of the responsibility.  The need of the hour is to go beyond speeches and resolutions and actively campaign for the cause. While exploring the options, it may be that we have been looking at wrong places – at least the game show suggests it.  

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