MINGORA: Three publications, including a trilingual dictionary of the endangered Torwali language, were launched in Bahrain area of Swat valley on Thursday.
Among them were Torwali-Urdu-English Dictionary, Koo Koo Baacha, a book of local folktales written in Torwali and translated into English and Urdu, and Manjoora (gift): a DVD of the endangered Torwali melodies composed with the help of modern technology, along with videos and subtitles.
Manjoora has six Torwali songs filmed in Swat and Kohistan.
The launch was organised by the Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Taraqi, while the books were published under the ‘Preservation and promotion of Torwali Language and Culture’ project with the financial support by the American people through the Small Grants and Ambassador Fund (SGAFP) under the auspices of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
IBT executive director Zubair Torwali said he and his community were happy to present some precious gifts to their community and linguists.
“We realised that many words which were spoken by our forefathers have been forgotten by the young generation and thus, endangering Torwali language, so we aimed at reviving faded words and preserve Torwali language,” he said.
Experts call for preservation of regional languages
Mujahid Torwali, who has authored a trilingual book of daily usage conversation in Torwali-Urdu and English, said since his childhood, he dreamt of having a book in own language especially when he used to see other languages’ daily use conversation.
“Today I am proud to say that my dream has come true as the book will be available on the market for coming generations. It was not only a demand of the locals but also a need of non-locals who wanted to learn Torwali,” he said.
Rahim Sabir, who compiled the ‘Koo Koo Baacha’, said initially, it was a tough task to collect local tales as many old people remembered non-local tales but did not know about their own ones.
“However, I am happy to announce that our team collected and compiled 15 folktales after a long struggle. I am sure that readers will not only enjoy it but also find them to be useful in local context,” he said.
Aftab Ahmad, who has compiled and written the Torwali-Urdu-English Dictionary, said the proper scientific system, the Rapid Words Collection System, was used to collect Torwali words.
“Twelve detailed workshops including two women workshops were conducted for the collections of words in which we got over 50,000 words of Torwali. Of the total words collected, we chose over 10,000 refined words for the dictionary,” he said.
Language activist Zaman Sagar lauded the efforts of young Torwali writers and said the best part of all books was the compilation and publishing of the dictionary which would contribute to the efforts for the preservation of Torwali language.
He called for the preservation of all regional languages and said it was responsibility of all to do so.
Elders of Torwal nation said they were proud to have rich cultural heritage and that the books in question would help preserve it.
Tehsil nazim Habibullah Saqib, who was the chief guest of the ceremony, congratulated writers and IBT for publishing books and said he would strive to promote the cultural heritage of the region.
Published in Dawn, January 1st, 2016