Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Demand for Bhoti's inclusion in 8th Schedule

Demand for Bhoti's inclusion in 8th Schedule

If Sindhi, Nepali, Konkani, Kashmiri and Manipuri can be included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, then why not Bhoti--the language of the local people of the Himalayas and link language of those living in border areas of the mountain range totalling over two million? The poser has been coming from several Buddhist organisations and other bodies for a long period and now the demand has got the backing of the National Commission for Minorities as well.
The Commission has decided to make a recommendation to the Government in this regard, Member of the NCM Lama Chosphel Zotpa told UNI.

The language, which has a 1300 years old history, is the link and cultural language of Zanskar, Ladakh, Spiti, Kinnaur, Uttar Kashi, Garhwal, Sikkim, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Arunachal Pradesh and the entire Himalayan range of the country.

A note prepared by the Commission underscores the urgency of linking Bhoti with employment so that more and more number of people who have this language as their mother tongue could be attracted to the formal study of the language.

And for linking the language with jobs, constitutional protection were a must, said Mr Zotpa, who is also the president of the HimalayanBuddhist Cultural Association.

''It would not be wrong to say that these safeguards were vital to preserve a great part of the India culture,'' he said.

Bhoti, one of the most ancient languages of the Aryan family, boasts of rich literature relating to religion, art, science, philosophy, astrology, Ayurveda and grammar.

However, the language is not getting as much attention and importance as it deserves, he said.

Other languages whose speakers number around the same as those of Bhoti have been included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, he said, pointing out that Sindhi speaking people were 21 22, 848 as per the 1991 census, while those speaking Gorkhali total 2,076,645.

Those speaking Konkani and Manipuri number less than two million, and the number of Kashmiri-speaking people was less than a even a million but these languages also found place in the Eighth Schedule, he said.

Lama Chosphel Zotpa said though the language was recognised in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, the facilities for its teaching in schools were very poor. The main reason for the lack of interest by the Bhoti-speaking people themselves was the result of the language's delinking from job opportunities, he said.

So, he said, there was the need of paying special attention to the preservation of the language.

Its development will create awareness among people about their cultural identity and national integrity. It will also help to bring Himalayan people into the national mainstream as the subject matter available in Bhoti language was primarily related to Indian Culture and philosophy, said the Lama.

''The preservation of the culture of a people is inseparably linked with the preservation of the language they speak. It determines the way of life of the Himalayan people. All important religious text of these areas are in Bhoti language,'' he said.

There are 35000, to 40,000 important manuscripts available in Bhoti language relating to religion, philosophy, art, astrology, ayurveda, grammar.

There are several important Sanskrit texts which have been lost but are available in Bhoti language. These include collection of Buddha'spreaching called 'Tripitak' available in 108 volumes.

Buddhist preaching on Tantra are also available in more than forty volum