22nd December-Dogri Inclusion Day in Eighth Schedule
Mahadeep Singh Jamwal
Nelson Mandela – “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head, If you talk to him in his own language that goes to his heart”. Absolutely nothing is as important for a nation’s culture as its language. Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going. Dogri is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by about five million people in India and Pakistan, chiefly in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, but also in northern Punjab, other parts of J and K, and elsewhere. Dogri speakers are called Dogras, and the Dogri-speaking region is called Duggar. When we refer ‘Dogri’, we come across that official recognition of the language has been gradual, but progressive. On 2nd August 1969, based on the unanimous recommendation of a panel of linguists, the General Council of The Sahitya Academy, Delhi recognised Dogri as an “independent modern literary language” of India, and approved for Sahitya literary awards and publishing books in this language. It is one of the state languages of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. On 22nd December 2003, in a major milestone, Dogri was recognised as an official language of India by including it in the 8th schedule of Indian Constitution. Originally 14 languages were included in the schedule, ‘Sindhi’ was included by 21st amendment in 1967, ‘Konkani, Manipuri, and Nepali’ were included by 71st amendment in 1992, and Bodo, Dogri, Santhali and Maithali’ were included by 92nd Amendment on 22nd December, 2003, making in all 22 languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.
The Constitution (Ninety-second Amendment) Act, 2003, introduced in the Lok Sabha on 18th August 2003 for amendment in Eighth Schedule and inclusion of Bodo language and it was referred to standing Committee on Home Affairs. The Bill was debated and passed by the Lok Sabha on 22nd December 2003, with a formal amendment and Consideration of an amendment moved by L.K Advani to include three other languages, namely, Santhali, Maithili and Dogri in the Eighth Schedule. The Bill, as passed by the Lok Sabha, was considered and passed by the Rajya Sabha on 23rd December 2003. Per Articles 344(1) and 351 of the Indian Constitution, the Eighth Schedule includes the recognition of the following 22 languages; 1 Assamese 2 Bengali 3 Bodo 4 Dogri 5 Guajarati 6 Hindi 7 Kannada 8 Kashmiri 9 Konkani 10 Maithili 11 Malayalam 12 Manipuri 13 Marathi 14 Nepali 15 Oriya 16 Punjabi 17 Sanskrit 18 Santhali 19 Sindhi 20 Tamil 21 Telugu and 22 Urdu. These 22 languages referred to as scheduled languages and given recognition, status and official encouragement. The Government of India is under an obligation to take measures for the development of these languages, such that “they grow rapidly in richness and become effective means of communicating modern knowledge.” In addition, a candidate appearing in an examination conducted for public service is entitled to use any of these languages as the medium in which he or she answers the paper.
Historical references suggest that the Greek astrologer Pulomi, accompanying Alexander in his 323 B.C. campaign into the Indian subcontinent, referred to some inhabitants of Duggar as “a brave Dogra family living in the mountain ranges of Shivalik.” In the year 1317, Amir Khusro, the famous Hindi and Persian poet, referred to Duger (Dogri) while describing the languages and dialects of India. Intellectuals in the Court of Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, described ‘Duggar’ as a distorted form of the word ‘Dwigart,’ which means “two troughs,” Another proposal stems from the presence of the word ‘Durger’ in the Bhuri Singh Museum (in Chamba, Himachal Pradesh).
Dogri has an established tradition of poetry, fiction and dramatic works. Shiraza Dogri is a Dogri literary periodical issued by the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, which is a notable publisher of modern Dogri literary work, another being the Dogri Sanstha. We feel discrimination with Dogri as it does not have a dedicated state television channel yet, unlike Kashmiri (which has the Doordarshan Koshur channel, available on cable and satellite television throughout India). Even we find that out of 22 languages referred as scheduled languages only 17 languages find mention on our currency notes, two (including English which is not a scheduled language) on front side and 15 on back side arranged in alphabetical order. The left over six scheduled languages are; Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, Manipuri, Santhali and Sindhi finding no mention on Indian currency notes. Whereas Kashmiri finds place on the Indian Currency Note and missing of Dogri is discrimination with Jammu region where the Dogri language is spoken in the State.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is a multilingual State with Kashmiri, Dogri, and Ladakhi, three dominant regional languages. Kashmiri was included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India from its very inception. Dogri was included in the year 2003, whereas Ladakhi is non-scheduled language.
Dogri is included in the school curriculum up to the 8th grade in school education in the Jammu region of the State of J and K since 2002. The rules are not implemented properly. Dogri language teachers have not been appointed for teaching it. There is continuous demand for teaching Dogri as a compulsory subject at all levels in the school education in the Jammu region of the state of J and K. Earlier Dogri was taught in Ragunath Ji Temple ‘Pathshalla’ during the reign of Maharaya Ranbir Singh (1856-1885), but after his death the practice did not remain in vogue. Then after a gap of more than sixty years in 1948, Dogri was introduced as a subject in primary classes. The teaching of Dogri was discontinued in 1953. The Jammu and Kashmir University introduced the teaching of Dogri as a subject under the title OC and MIL (Proficiency namely Tilak, high Proficiency namely Praveen and Honors namely Shriomani) in 1964, 1967 and 1969 respectively. At school level it was started in the year 1983 in 9th and 10th classes as an additional optional subject in schools of Jammu region. After a gap of about nineteen years, Dogri was introduced at primary level as a third language in 2002. It is not taught in classes 6th to 8th in the absence of clear orders. It is taught as a subject at the undergraduate levels in the colleges of Jammu region since 1987, as a subject at the MA level at the University of Jammu since 1983 and research studies are also being carried out for M.Phil and Ph.D Degrees in Dogri. In 2005, a collection of over 100 works of prose and poetry in Dogri published over the last 50 years was made accessible online at the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore. The Department of Information Technology, Govt. of India has prepared localised software programmes and Dogri-English-Dogri Dictionaries, which were released on the 21st February, 2009 in New Delhi.
In will not be fair to depart without tribute to Dogri writers awarded with the Sahitya Akademy Award for their marvelous work in the field of Dogri language. The award for Dogri language started in 1970 and its recipients so for are; Narendra Khajuria for ‘Nila Ambar Kale Badal’ in 1970, Padma Sachdev for ‘Meri Kavita Mere Geet in 1971, ShriVats Vikal for ‘Phull Bina Dali’ in 1972, Madan Mohan Sharma for Duddh, Lahoo, Zahar in 1974, Krishna Smailpuri for ‘Mere Dogri Geet’ in 1975, Ram Nath Shastri for ‘Badnami Di Chhan, in 1976, Kehar Singh Madhukar for ‘Main Mele Ra Janun’ in 1977, Narsingh Dev Jamwal for ‘Sanjhi Dharti Bakhle Mahnu’ in 1978, O.P. Sharma `Sarathi’ for ‘Nanga Rukh’ in 1979, Kunwar Viyogi for ‘Ghar’ in 1980, Jitendra Udhampuri for ‘Ek Shehr Yaaden Da’ in 1981, Deshbandhu Dogra `Nutan’ for ‘Qaidi’ in 1982, Ved Rahi for ‘Aale’ in 1983, Shiv Ram `Deep’ for ‘Gamlen De Cactus’ in 1984, Dinoo Bhai Pant for ‘Ayodhya’ in 1985, Om Goswami for ‘Sunne Di Chiree’ in 1986, Prakash Premi for ‘Beddan Dharti Di’ in 1987, Ram Lal Sharma for ‘Rattu Da Chanan’ in 1988 Mohanlal Sapolia for ‘Sodh Samundaren Di’ in 1989, Tara Smailpuri for ‘Jeevan Lehran’ in 1990, Mohan Singh for ‘Apni Daphli Apna Raag’ in 1991, Yash Sharma for ‘Jo Tere Man-Chitta Laggi Ja’ in 1992, Jitendra Sharma for ‘Buddh Suhagan’ in 1994, Abhishap for ‘Lalsa’ in 1995, Gyaneshwar for ‘Baddli Kalave’ in 1996, Shiv Dev Singh Sushil for ‘Bakhre Bakhra Sach’ in 1997, Kuldeep Singh Jindhrahia for ‘Mangwi Pashakri’ in 1999, Deen Bandhu Sharma for ‘Meel Patthar’ in 2000 Verinder Kesar for ‘Nighe Rang’ in 2001, Om Vidyarthi for ‘Trip Trip Chete’ in 2002, Ashwani Magotra for ‘Jhull Bada Dea Pattara’ in 2003, Shiv Nath for ‘Cheten Di Chitkabri’ in 2004, Krishan Sharma for ‘Dhaldi Dhuppe Da Sek’ in 2005, Darshan Darshi for ‘Kore Kaakal Korian Talian’ in 2006, Gian Singh Pagoch for ‘Mahatma Vidur’ in 2007, Champa Sharma for ‘Cheten Di Rhol’ in 2008, Praduman Singh Jindrahia for ‘Geet Sarovar’ in 2009, Manoj for ‘Pandran Kahaniyan’ in 2010, Lalit Magotra for ‘Cheten Diyan Ga’liyan’ in 2011 Bal Krishan Bhaura for ‘Tim-Tim Karde Tare’ in 2012 Sita Ram Sapolia for ‘Doha Satsai’ in 2013, Shailender Singh for ‘Hashiye Par’ in 2014, and Dhian Singh for ‘Parchhamen Di Lo’ in 2015.
Before concluding let us take 22nd December as ‘Dogri Inclusion Day’, the day Dogri language was included in the Eighth Schedule of The Constitution of India on 22nd December 2003 and at the same time struggle for its proper teaching in the schools and press for its printing on Indian Currency Notes, a real concern.