Book Review: A Sociolinguistic Study of Wakhi Language of Northern Pakistan

Book Review: A Sociolinguistic Study of Wakhi Language of Northern Pakistan

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By: Ahmed Jami Sakhi

Dr. Nadeem Shafique Malik is a civil servant by profession and a prolific writer by passion. He has contributed more than seventy research articles on history, sociology, foreign relations and politics of Pakistan, besides different aspects of life and literary contributions of our national poet, Dr. Allama Iqbal. One of his latest publication under review is “A sociolinguistic Study of Wakhi Language of Northern Pakistan” published by the National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad.

The book is nicely bound with a beautiful blue cover, with sketch design of local Wakhi dance whereas; the back page includes a short introduction to the cultural and linguistic diversity of Pakistan and the location of Wakhi language and people inhabiting in the remotest highland valleys of Wakhan corridor (Afghanistan), Hunza, Ishkoman, Buroghil (Pakistan), Tashqurghan Tajik Autonomous Area (China) and Wakhan of Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan.

The author has not only narrated the characteristics of Wakhi people, their language and culture, but has highlighted the geo-political and economic conditions of the surrounding regions and countries as well. The author deserves our appreciation for introducing the Wakhi people their language and culture to the global community. On the whole the book consists of 222 pages including Preface, Linguistic Diversity of Northern Pakistan; Wakhan: the Homeland of Wakhi Community; Wakhi Community Settlements in Northern Pakistan; Growth of Shia Imami Ismaili Community in the Muslim world: An Historical Review; Wakhi Language: An Appraisal; Wakhi Literature; Epilogue; Annexures and Bibliography.

Keeping the phonetic and sound system of Wakhi language and the debate on the adoption of various alphabetic models presented by different organizations and individual native and international linguistic scholars into account, the author has preferred including the first “Wakhi Primer” by Haqiqat Ali in Roman Script and another booklet, titled “Wakhi Language-A Historical Perspective with a Primer” in Perso-Arabic and Urdu script as annexures.

This book provides a sound foundation for the young students of linguistics, Anthropology and Sociology to further their studies in Wakhi or other languages spoken in the Northern Areas of Pakistan, currently known as Gilgit-Baltistan Administrative Province. In the light of current cultural and linguistic intrusions through powerful media and ever increasing external visitors to the area, Wakhi language and their culture is faced with challenges of fast changes in the spoken language and living styles of younger generations. The trend to migrate to other urban areas of Pakistan and abroad either in search of higher education or better incomes has also brought languages of small communities at verge of annihilation or distinction.

We, the Wakhi people are specifically grateful to Dr. Nadeem for his academic contribution and work on Wakhi language, people and their culture. This will capture the attention of native as well as non-native researchers to pursue their studies on different aspects of Wakhi language and culture. We pray to Almighty Allah to bless him with knowledge, wisdom, good health and well-being to continue his academic efforts.

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Pamir Times

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Pamir Times is the pioneering community news and views portal of Gilgit – Baltistan, Kohistan, Chitral and the surrounding mountain areas. It is a voluntary, not-for-profit, non-partisan and independent venture initiated by the youth.