Sindh: Intellectuals demand national language status for Sindhi
Sindhi linguists, educationists and scholars have demanded to the government that Sindhi be recognised as a national language in the province.
In this regard a draft was prepared by a nine-member committee, headed by renowned scholar and ex-chairman of Sindhi Adabi Boar Muhammad Ibrahim Joyo. The draft states that all the nationalities living in the country have already demanded that their mother tongues be declared as national languages of the country, and Urdu be made only the working language.
The nine-member committee was designed by Sindhi Language Authority (SLA), an autonomous body whose chairperson Dr Fahmida Hussain and secretary Taj Joyo are also members of the committee. Other members include former vice chancellor Sindh University Dr Ghulam Ali Alana, Director Sindh Culture Department Muhammad Ali Manjhi, renowned poet Imdad Hussaini, Secretary General Sindhi Adabi Sangat Yousaf Sindhi and others.
The draft reads that even the government-run literary institution Pakistan Academy of Letters, in 1994, declared all the languages spoken in the country are national languages. The draft termed it as an injustice with the people of Pakistan that their mother tongues are not given status of national languages.
The draft says that Sindhi is the original language of the Indus Valley people, which possesses all the peculiarities of a developed language of the world and fulfils the criteria of being a national language. It is rich in folk, classical, modern, progressive and ancient literature. People in Sindh are very much conscious and emotional about their language and culture.
The draft argues that the separation of former East Pakistan was also a result of the controversy over the national language. The draft also maintains that the language riots in Sindh urban areas in 1972 after the separation of East Pakistan were a conspiracy against the Sindhi language.
It justifies that the experts of linguistic science have set principles that any language may be declared a national language which is used by the people in their every day lives; that has been spoken by a nation from time immemorial and that is being used as official and court language and also as a medium of institutions from primary up to the higher education. Moreover, that is being used for its literary and media communication; which is able to borrow and use the words and phrases from other developed languages of the world and can transform that stock of words according to its own grammatical structure, which is originated from the language of the soil of that nation.
The draft reads that there is no clear provision regarding the national languages in the recently announced National Education Policy 2009.
Moreover, former Vice Chancellor Sindh University and author of more than 100 books, Dr Nabi Bakhsh Baloch, has expressed dissatisfaction on the role of political parties and successive governments which, according to him, never brought the language issue for discussion at major forums.
At a recently held seminar, he said that Pakistan is a multi-cultural, multi-national and multi-lingual country. At each small valley the people had their own mother tongue, which needed to be promoted at state level. He claimed that no work was done regarding the national language issue or the problems of languages in the country. He also backed Sindhi language to be declared national language.
The seminar, was a part of, ‘Sindhi Language—National Language’, a recently launched campaign for the support of the Sindhi language.