Shikha Magotra, Dr. Ajay Kaul
“I can speak in Dogri
I can eat in Dogri
I can paint in Dogri
I can wear in Dogri
I can live in Dogri
But, I can not write in Dogri.”
Script is the only medium through which our mother tongue can live longer and farther. It not only gives the pictorial forms to our spoken phonemes but also carries our cultural imprints into it. Every distinct script of India reveals different diverse cultures living all over the country and adds colour/ flavour to the educated India. As development and writing in own script depicts the educated literate civilisations in India.
It is through the writings on the old scriptures, paintings, stone carvings, copper plates that we come to know about the folktales, cultures of the civilisations that existed in the past. Think how we came to know about our Ganmat- the old script of Dogri, it is through the inscribed akkhar on old temples all over the jammu region. This is what comprises our rich heritage.
Now, have you ever thought what would be our heritage in written forms after hundreds of years from now. Do you think Dogri written in Devanagari, in any way depicts our own Duggar culture.
It would become a part of Hindi Heritage, not Duggar heritage and we would lose our cultural writings then.
Is Dogri your mother tongue?
A language that is learned naturally once a person is born becomes his/her mother tongue. It is said that if you try to learn your mother tongue after growing up, it won’t become your mother tongue as it didn’t came naturally to you. So, are we loosing our mother tongue?
Yes, we all are or at least the educated youth of the jammu region has lost it surely. The major reason for it is leaving our own script of Dogri language and adopting another more scientific and popular script for writing Dogri. No artificial limb can make us run faster than our own legs, no matter how much capable our medical science becomes! Similarly, using another more efficient script for writing our own language, when we already have our own script, won’t make us more literate and capable.
The moment we left our own script- Namay Dogra Akkhar, knowingly or unknowingly, we separated it from our basic primary education system. The script was no longer taught in schools for education. Slowly, people felt no need of knowing about its characters or even recognise it. It was cut from the literate urban regions of Jammu. The mother tongue too became restricted to the rural division only. Eventually, the literate educated ones stopped talking in mother tongue too, especially in front of children as they didn’t wanted their children to move to the rural areas.
So, our mother tongue was killed by ourselves and the new generation is no longer directly connected to it. Education is the backbone through which any language survives and lives longer periods of time. As devanagari was adopted, there was no need to learn Dogri. Because the language was written using hindi alphabets. So, why not teach hindi directly. Sooner, people started thinking- What is the significance of writing in mother tongue with no cultural identity associated?
Presently, Dogri language is confined to some specific literary organisations only in the urban Jammu. Besides being incorporated as an official language of India in 2003, it is still struggling for its existence among its own people.
Among the major different scripts of India, each depicting its own culture, symbolically represents their mother tongue in visual form. Other languages which use these scripts for writing do not have their own visual cultural identity/ existence. They tend to merge in either of these scripts. So is our Dogri language which uses Devanagari for writing. Moreover, it has its own fully developed script already named Namay Dogra Akkhar, which is not even recognised by its own people.
Think how beautiful it would be if we could write in the original script of Dogri as- (Bhaarat).