A threatened language
Dr Tariq Rehman
I HAD the pleasure of being invited to preside over a seminar on the Wakhi language held at the Institute of Folk Heritage in Islamabad recently. Outside the hall there were people in traditional woollen robes and caps, some embellished with feathers.
Their merchandise displayed an array of exotic clothes, gems, artifacts and a delightful array of edibles I had never seen before. The seminar addressed many of the problems of the Wakhi language, stressing that it was a threatened language.
Spoken in the area where the paths of the empires — the Chinese, Russian, Afghan and Indian — of yore crossed, the Wakhi people were perforce divided. They were on the move with their animals in search of better pastures and their language and traditions gave them a sense of belonging, a certain unity in dispersion and constant movement.
Besides the high valleys of Pakistan, the Wakhi people live in Tajikistan along the Pamir river and the Sarikol area of China.
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1 thought on “A threatened language”
I did read the article by Dr. Tariq Rehman which truly reflects his appreciation for the efforts by GECA to protect Wakhi language, which is one of the so many languages in world and has potential threat to be no more in the coming decades.
The article also identifies the need for inculcating local languages at the very basic level of education. Indeed learning at the very early age in local language and verbal communication or maintaining positive values of civilized societies but more importantly evolving civil societies which sees diversity its strength rather than a weakness. That may lead to harmony, tolerance and respecting other’s belief, perceptions and practices which are vital for a civilized society which is currently a missing link unfortunately!
Thank you Dr. Tariq Rehman for your time to preside over the seminar and for a very stimulant speech at the seminar and article in Dawn.
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