Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Development of Sourashtra Language.

There is a charge by one of the Presidents of Sourashtra Sabha [I do not want to mention the name of the Town, of course it is not, Madurai] that 'I am the only person who hinders the introduction of teaching of Sourashtram in Schools in Devanagari Script'.
To overcome this charge, long back, we have dropped insisting the use of SOURASHTRA SCRIPT ONLY instead of Devanagari Script, which, according to us, is not suitable for writing our language. We raise the slogan, 'start writing in Sourashtram using any script you know'.
This slogan is repeated every now and then for the past FIVE years.
We have told Sourashtra Madhya Sabha that we will not interfere in their taking steps to introduce Sourashtra Language in Schools. But the Zoological Professor R.Krishnamoorthy made a mess by printing the 'Moola Sourashtra Bhasha Lipi' introducing a new method of writing Devanagari making the so called 'slight' variation and adopting the method of Tamil system of writing. i.e. a dot is placed over the consonant to make it a plain consonant.[Meyyezhuttu]. He removed the two vowels 'ru' and 'am' from the vowel chart. [I do not know on what basis he removed them]. Now he is convinced that his book is to be abandoned, for the system he suggested is not acceptable to many people. The CIIL scholars also opined that it will add problem instead of solving the problem. So he sought the intervention of Sourashtra Madhya Sabha and approached CIIL to conduct a workshop for Sourashtra Language and to evolve the Parivartana Devanagari for the use of Sourashtra Language. Now two workshops are over. I did not attend because I was not invited. Moreover, it is not my business to suggest how to use Devanagari for Sourashtra Language. I will tolerate writing in Devanagari Script but I will use only Sourashtra script. For those, who do not know Sourashtra script, I am prepared to render it in Tamil Script which almost all Sourashtras in Tamil Nadu know. And in fact all Sourashtra Language books nowadays are printed in Tamil Script only using diacritic marks for wider publicity.
Earlier in 1905 Sourashtra Sangita Ramayanam was printed in Telugu Script. [Many Sourashtras without knowing that it is in Sourashtram, concluded that it is a Telugu Book and did not care to preserve]. This they later realized and started publishing using Tamil Script with diacritical marks.
T.M.Rama Rai was printing the Sourashtra Books in Sourashtra Script. In his old age he handed over the Printing fonts to Sourashtra Sabha and Sourashtra Sabha Madurai honoured him by giving him monthly pension for the great services he had rendered for Sourashtra Language.
But later in 1920 some parochial elements saw that the resolution adopting Devanagari Script for Sourashtra Language was passed by 5th Sourashtra Brahmana Mahanadu in 1920.
They could not implement the resolution because Sourashtra Script was continued to be used by interested young people like O.K.Ramanandam. In order to boost the Devanagari Script, the unscrupulous elements destroyed the Sourashtra fonts. After a decade or so, they then challenged whether Sourashtram book can be printed in Sourashtra Script.
[paayi~ chekki taitti, kose, bisso dhamo gaa, siyengan meni, comment hanriyo]. hoyeti meLLi Sri O.K.Ramanandam jhukku keSTam paaD poDi oNTe pustav ‘Sourashtra I Reader’ Sourashtra lipi muus accu hani soDDiyaa.
This happened in the year 1961. The same book was printed again with some modification in 1974 by Sreshta Sourashtra Sahitya Sabha, Madurai.
It is a pity that so far no further Readers were printed by Sreshta Sourashtra Sahitya Sabha, Madurai.
The Government evaded recognizing our language for teaching in Schools under the pretext that there is no agreed opinion on the choice of the script viz. Sourashtra Script or Devanagari Script.
It is true that because of the fight between the two groups and because of lack of unity and proper understanding, even today, the language development is not keeping pace with the required level.
Individuals like me did silently some work by helping the publication of Ramarai Vachana Ramayanu Part I & II in 1980. Assisted Dr.Uchida Norihiko in bringing out 'Oral Literature of Saurashtrans’ in 1979 and ' A Saurashtra-English Dictionary’ in 1990. I also conducted Classes for teaching Sourashtra language in its own script then and there when there was demand for the same.
Now a journal by name 'Bhashabhimani' is published in Sourashtra Script by Sreshta Sourashtra Sahitya Sabha, Madurai.
Sourashtra Madhya Sabha or the Supporters of Devanagari Script are still not able to publish a journal in Sourashtra language using Devanagari Script and making it acceptable by all.
It is not known whether they have met the State Government Officials and discussed the issue of teaching of Mother Tongue Sourashtram in Schools.
There are so many things which are yet to be documented in the form of History of development of Sourashtra Language and Literature.
Prof. C.S.Krishnamurthy still could not start writing the History of Sourashtras.
Now ‘RISHI’ [Research Institute of Sourashtra Heritage and Immigration] is born and we have to nurture it to see that it carries out what all we intend to do with regard to preservation of our Culture, Language and Literature. And also bring out the correct version of our migration history.
While Sourashtra College, Madurai could not do anything for the development of Sourashtra Language, Saurashtra University, Rajkot has announced that it will create a Chair to study Sourashtra Language spoken in Tamil Nadu.
Let us hope for the best to happen in the near future.
Jai Somanath! Jai Saurashtra!!

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