In the larger interests of the people we GCC *Group of Concerned citizens* want to make it clear for records that we are a non-profit and informal group of concerned citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. The Group is apolitical, in its objectives. It is composed of persons from a cross section of society which includes vice chancellors, professors, pedagogues and other academicians , businessmen, retired senior bureaucrats, educational administrators , lawyers , scientists , media persons and retired judges who came together, a few years back with the aim and objective of working for the good of society. It, inter alia , focuses on i) preservation of social values, ii) development of health and education, iii) prevention of drug abuse, iv) protection and preservation of ecology and environment, and v)preservation of cultural heritage. The basic interest of this Group lies in mitigating the sufferings of the common people, especially in the context of the concerns mentioned above. In regard to various issues, presently causing concern to the group, the position is explained below: Issues Education fallout of closure of institutions and non- availability of adequate internet facility:- There are around 11653 government educational institutions and 2710 private schools besides a number of Kendriya Vidyalyas (KVs) ,Navodiya Vidyalyas (NVs), Sainik school and Sadhbhavana schools ( run by army) in Kashmir and almost a similar number of such schools in Jammu, wherein more than 20 lac students are imparted education. Added to this the number of students reading in universities and professional colleges the population of students is over 21 lacs. The Group expresses its deep anguish over the continuous closure of these educational institutions, particularly schools since 13 July, 2019 for over one year now. In Kashmir, the educational Institutions were closed first from July 13, 2019 for the summer break and then, on deactivation of article 370, from August 5, 2019 till 11 December, 2019 when they closed for normal winter vacation. The educational institutions opened on 5th March, 2020 but were closed again from 14 March, 2020 due to Covid 19 pandemic. The closure of educational institutions for 381 days out of 390 days during the period July 13, 2019 to 12 September, 2020 has resulted into a serious learning crisis. Now, with further closure till ending September, 2020, the situation is bound to deteriorate further. What worries the Group the most is the huge learning losses school going children have suffered as evidenced through an informal assessment of academic achievement of children. The extended school closure has badly impacted the physical, emotional and psychological health of children as well. It has affected the process of learning so adversely that children have
school stage for decades till late fifties when it was replaced by Urdu written in Persian script At present Kashmiri language is taught as a compulsory subject from class I to class VIII in all schools of Kashmiri speaking areas . It is also taught as a subject at secondary and senior secondary stages besides being offered as a subject of study at undergraduate and postgraduate, doctoral levels. Persian is the standard system of writing this language and is repository of our cultural heritage and identity. Given the cultural , the emotional sensibilities associated with Kashmiri and its viable and time tested standard Persian script written the Group entreats you to kindly urge the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) to take up with Unicode consortium and relevant authority the matter of preparation of the afore-mentioned data and its subsequent validation in Persian script for its inclusion in CLDR, instead of Devnagri script. In the context of writing system, the Group would like to recall that apart from Kashmiri many other languages like Gojri , Pahari, Poshtu, , Balti , Sheena and Urdu spoken and used widely by Gojars , Paharis and Bakerwalas . Pathans , Kargilis , Kashmiris ,etc are also written in Persian script . As a matter of fact, the common Persian script used in these languages facilitates promotion of multilingualism. The preparation of data for Kashmiri in its Persian script will make it easy to prepare similar data in the above mentioned languages as and when such action is required to be taken. This will help in the futurization of curriculum transactions. Kashmiri Language Education & use: – The GCC acknowledges the importance accorded in the National Policy on Education, 2020 to mother tongues /home languages, the retention of Three Language Formula and the priority given to teaching-learning of modern Indian languages. The Group also recognizes the stipulation made in the NPE that “ no language will be imposed on any State” However, it deeply regrets non- mention of Urdu language in the entire Policy document even once . Urdu is a modern Indian language listed in the 8th schedule as per Articles 344 (1) and 351 of the constitution. Non- mention of its name anywhere in NPE,2020 creates a feeling of uncertainty about the future of this great language; which enjoys the status of official language in 4 States and one UT , and is used widely across the country by all the communities irrespective of religion , caste , faith and region. There is a large number of Urdu medium schools and other educational institutions which teach Urdu as per various provisions of the constitution. The future of these institutions needs to be secured to help build an inclusive Knowledge Society. Besides, Urdu is the official language of Jammu and Kashmir and is used in legislature, judiciary, Revenue, Police and administration. In Kashmir and Kashmiri speaking areas of Jammu and Kashmir it has become a home language just next to Kashmiri. It is taught as a language at all stages of school education as well as offered as a subject at UG and university level. The Group requests you to please take up the matter of protection and promotion of Urdu with the Education Ministry, GOI. It also seeks your indulgence to instruct the universities and the department of education, government of Jammu and Kashmir to take all steps necessary for protection and development of Urdu at UT level. The Group recognizes offering of foreign languages such as Korean, Japanese, Thai, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian at the secondary level as positive step but deeply regrets texclusion of Arabic from this list Arabic is already taught as a language and a subject in a number of educational institutions from class I to PG to doctoral level across the country. It’s exclusion from the list of foreign languages offered is bound to adversely affect the future of these institutions and the people desiring to learn this language. In Jammu and Kashmir Arabic is offered as a language and subject in a large number of public and private educational institutions. Knowledge of Arabic enhances the chances of employability of youth in Arab countries. Needless to mention that millions of Indians from different States and regions work in these countries and most of them are required to learn the language during their stay in these countries. In view of the importance of Arabic language , as mentioned above the Group entreats you to please take up this matter with the Education ministry, GoI as well as instruct the department of education , UT of Jammu and Kashmir to include Arabic in the list of foreign languages offered (or contemplated to be offered) at the secondary level. Official Language Policy:-The Group notes with caution the approval of the Bill by the Cabinet to include Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi as official languages of Jammu and Kashmir, for introduction in Parliament. With the passage of the Bill by Parliament Jammu and Kashmir will have five official languages, viz Urdu , Hindi, Kashmiri, Dogri and English instead of two languages at present. The Group strongly feels that the move aimed at assuaging diverse denominations is impracticable. The Group wonders how a 5 language policy is going to work on the ground. Shall official correspondence and records and data have to be in five languages, with necessary translations, and how far is it practicable? The Group is afraid that apart from creating confusion, this move may lead to divisive linguistic politics as competing demands for inclusion of other languages like: Gojri, Pahari and Punjabi have already started cropping up. Even in the case of Kashmiri and Dogri questions are being raised as to which dialect/s of these languages will be adopted. Moreover, barring five States and 2 UTs no State or UT has more than two official languages. The five States which have three official languages don’t have Hindi as an official language. 11 States and 3 UTs have only one official language, and 10 States and 1 UT have 2 official languages. The Group has genuine apprehensions that in the confusion that is most likely to occur, Hindi may be ultimately imposed as the official language this will be mostly by default. Therefore, In the context of the latest move about official language policy, foreseeing the impracticability and the difficulties that are bound to arise because of having 5 official languages instead of two as at present, the Group requests you to please urge the Government of India to revisit the decision and to not modify or alter the present scheme which is non-controversial, time tested and enjoys support of the majority of the population of Jammu and Kashmir. The Group reiterates the need for reassessment and review of the proposed new language policy to allay the genuine fears of the people.In Conclusion. In conclusion, GCC would like to emphasize some of the points raised above even at the risk of sounding repetitive. ➢ Restoration of 4G services for effective digital and online education. ➢ Use, retention and continuation of Persian script for Kashmiri language. ➢ Use, retention and continuation of Urdu as an official language as it was heretofore in terms of section 145 of J&K Constitution. ➢ Non-imposition of Hindi or any language in disguise (or by default) in the wake of new policy on official languages. ➢ Inclusion of Arabic in the list of foreign languages offered at Secondary stage. We are sanguine that you will look at these issues, with the positive approach you have indicated in your recent press statements with regard to giving your full attention towards solving the problem of the people, and hope you will make appropriate recommendations to the concerned Ministries in the Govt of India. Yours truly, The Signatories include the following Mr. Wahid Qureshi, Former Vice Chancellor, Central University of Kashmir, Mr. Hashmatullah Khan, Former Vice Chancellor, Jammu University of Agricultural Sciences, Prof Mohd Aslam, Former Head, Department of English, Central University of Kashmir, Prof Nusrat Andrabi, retired Professor of Urdu, Prof AS Bhat, former Head Deptt of Law, University of Kashmir, Mr. Bashir Ahmad Dar, former Director Academic and Secretary, J&K Board of School Education, Mr. Mohammad Rafi, Former Director/Advisor, Education, Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Mrs. Anuradha Bhasin, senior Journalist, Mr. Ajaz ul Haque, senior journalist, Syed Masood Shah, Hamdani, prominent businessman, Mr GD Bakshi, Krishi Pandit, Mr. Abdul Majid Butt, Expert in Geological Sciences, Mr. Riyaz Jan, former Advocate General, Mr. GH Kango, retired Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Dr.. Rafeeq A Masoodi, former ADG, Doordarshan (Prasar Bharti, )Mr. GJ Nehvi, retired Commissioner, J&K Government, Mr GR Sufi, Former Chairman, State Information Commission, Mr. M.S Pandit, Former Chairman, J&K Public Service Commission.
Copies of this communication have been sent to Home Minister,Minister of Education and Minister of Information technology Govt of india besides all MPs of j&k state and many others whom GCC treats as sympathisers of Kashmir Kashmiri language and Kashmiri Ethos…”said Dr.Rafeeq Masoodi secretary of the group while soliciting the people’s support for its JUST CAUSE.