PESHAWAR: The participants of a workshop have stressed the need for joint efforts to resolve linguistic issues and pave the way for a unified Pashto script for academic purposes.
The three-day training workshop was organised by Pashto Academy, University of Peshawar to prepare a plan for preservation of various dialects of Pashto language being spoken in different areas.
“Preserving dialects can help in regaining our lost treasure to build a future edifice. Language study is a science, which inspires creative ideas and a constructive thought process,” said the participants. Research scholars, linguists and literati attended the event held at Pashto Academy here on Thursday.
Three-day workshop begins at UoP to preserve Pashto dialects
They said that no particular language or dialect enjoyed any intrinsic superiority over any other language.
They said that differences were created by political groups for serving their vested interests. However, unification and standardisation of script for a greater cause was need of the hour, they added.
Opening the workshop, Prof Mirajul Islam, dean of faculty of arts and oriental studies at UoP, said that languages played a significant role in shaping the ideas of people and required research on scientific lines to explore various features of regional lingua franca.
He said that Pashto language was rich in classic treasure trove as it encompassed imprints of people’s historical, sociological, cultural and even political aspirations.
Prof Nasrullah Jan Wazir, the director of Pashto Academy, said that the basic objective of the workshop was to pinpoint all major areas of Pashto dialects and then incorporate them into an easy unified Pashto script and also to preserve terms, proverbs and idioms commonly used and understood by Pashto speakers in their own respective dialects and accents.
Prof Yousaf Khan Jazaab, in his paper, said that different geographical and sociological factors played important part in shaping and differentiation of language from a dialect. “While preparing a text for schools, care should be taken to include different variations of the same language or dialect as it leaves an indelible mark on the psyche of children. Excluding any linguistic group will cause a deep sense of deprivation and humility,” he added.
Prof Yar Mohammad Maghmoom Khattak said that unfortunately academics had given no serious attention to research on linguistic in Pashto and other regional languages.
He said that mapping of dialects would help scholars to understand and analyse various aspects of Pashto language when it came to prepare textbooks.
He said that number of Pashto dialects was not exactly known and whatever had come down to scholars was a just a guess.
Mohib Wazir, another research scholar, said that Khushal Khan Khattak had regretted over 400 years ago once in one of his couplets that Pashto was still a virgin and no one yet had unveiled her face.
He said that situation was not different even today. He said that like other things, language was also politicised instead of using it as a powerful tool for spreading knowledge.
Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2018