Category Archives: Endangered language

“[A]ccording to the People’s Linguistic Survey of India, as many as 780 different languages are spoken and 86 different scripts are used in the country. However, only 22 of them are recognized by the government as scheduled languages. […] India has lost nearly 250 languages in the last half century, and 196 more have been declared endangered by UNESCO. As many as 120 of these 196 languages are spoken in the North-East. With most of these languages spoken by tribes and lacking a script, it has been particularly difficult to preserve them.” – Osama Manzar in “Preserving our vanishing tribes, their heritage, language and wisdom” (Livemint, 8 September 2017)
https://www.livemint.com/Opinion/AhrviHfdlAluJ6ffBBpUQN/Preserving-our-vanishing-tribes-their-heritage-language-an.html
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=6039

“Literacy level among women in India being alarmingly low, it will be necessary to expand our school education system so as to introduce and include as many languages as possible, so that the girl children are educated in their own languages. For this purpose, CIIL should take lead in studying and preparing materials in as many minority and tribal languages as possible. It should be a special endeavour of CIIL to promote and document the endangered languages of India, which are very much a part of India’s plural cultural heritage.” – Director, Central Institute of Indian Languages (Accessed 11 March 2021)
https://www.ciil.org/aboutAhead1.aspx
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=6039

“Two key aspects of assimilation are residential schools that are removed from community life, and the imposition of dominant regional languages. Each Adivasi language encompasses a world of knowledge, cosmology, and values. This is partly why, although violated routinely, Article 350A of the Constitution, which gives every child the right to education in their own mother tongue, is so significant. Studies show that multilingual education aids cognitive development and stimulates intellectual confidence much more effectively. In the words of Lado Sikaka, Dongria Kondh leader of the campaign to save Niyamgiri from bauxite mining, “If our language is alive, only then will our culture thrive. Losing our language, we will lose our identity, our forests, rivers and mountains.” – Felix Padel & Malvika Gupta in “Are mega residential schools wiping out India’s Adivasi culture?” (The Hindu, 13 February 2021)
https://www.thehindu.com/society/children-from-tribal-communities-are-being-corralled-into-mass-schools-that-are-wiping-out-cultures/article33818793.ece
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=21733

“The country has already lost about 250 languages in the last 50 years. The state must recognise that a monolingual nationalistic model is not just robbing us of our linguistic richness, but also limiting the economic potential of the country. Diversity of language is not a burden on us. Rather, considering that even the most cutting-edge technologies are language-based, different languages spoken across the country have the potential to better build the country’s economic future.” – Ganesh [G.N.] Devy (co-founder, People’s Linguistic Survey of India) quoted by in “Need to preserve linguistic diversity, says expert” (The Times of India, 13 February 2014)
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/Need-to-preserve-linguistic-diversity-says-expert/articleshow/30300251.cms
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=14145

“Kolami, Koya, Gondi, Kuvi, Kui, Yerukala, Savara, Parji, Kupia. Do these names ring a bell? No, right? They are all native tribal tongues that have immensely contributed to enrich the language and culture of Telugu people. But these languages are dying due to a plethora of reasons — lack of practice, absence of education, poverty-stricken state of the speakers. The UNESCO lists 191 languages of India as endangered. And as Eduardo Hughes Galeano, the literary giant of the Latin America puts it, “Every two weeks, a language dies. The world is diminished when it loses its human sayings, just as when it loses its diversity of plants and beasts.” Numbers can be deceptive, India is a graveyard of more languages than one can imagine.” – Papri Paul in “The dying tongues of Telangana and Andhra” (Times of India, 21 February 2017)
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/the-dying-tongues-of-telangana-and-andhra/articleshow/57253816.cms
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=22153

“Concluding his ambitious marathon Peoples’ Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI) which took four years of field work preceded by nearly 15 years of conceptualization and planning, Prof Ganesh Devy, the Sahitya Akademi award winner, literary critic and founder of the Tribal Academy at Tejgadh declares that out of 1,600-odd languages listed in the 1961 survey of India, they have been able to trace not more than 850 languages during their survey. The survey was initiated by Vadodara-based Bhasha Research and Publication Centre founded by Prof Devy.” – Papri Paul in “The fight for survival: language and identity” (Times of India, 21 February 2017)
https://www.all-languages.org.uk/features/fight-survival-language-identity/
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=30494

“It is almost impossible to characterize all of India’s tribals in a single ethnographic or historic framework. […] After Independence, these communities were ‘denotified’ and placed quite randomly in the schedules of tribes, castes and other ‘backward communities’. Yet anyone with any experience of tribal culture will find these listings mind-boggingly oversimplified. The most useful indicator of tribal identity, then, is language.” – Ganesh [G.N.] Devy in Painted Words: An Anthology of Tribal Literature, Bhasha E Books
http://www.bhashaebooks.org/Downloadbook.aspx?name=21
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=22979

Video | Ekalavya discussed in an interview with noted Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Writers Talk Politics | Ngugi wa Thiong’o in conversation with Sudhanva Deshpande Commenting on Ekalavya “who ends up being disabled despite that Dhrona never really taught him – he taught himself – but even with that he is disabled so … Continue reading

Posted in Adverse inclusion, Assimilation, Colonial policies, Commentary, Cultural heritage, Customs, Democracy, Economy and development, Ekalavya (Eklavya, Eklabya), EMR & Factory schools, Endangered language, Globalization, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature - fiction, Modernity, Organizations, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Storytelling, Topics and issues, Tribal culture worldwide, Tribal identity, Video resources - external | Comments Off on Video | Ekalavya discussed in an interview with noted Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Tip | “A need deeply felt by Adivasis”: Respect for native languages and knowledge systems linked to the land and forest

In Rayagada in Odisha, Kondh parents distinguish between dangar patha (mountain learning) and kagaj patha (paper learning). Asked which they prefer, many parents answer ‘both’. This expresses a need deeply felt by Adivasis: literacy, with fluency in the regional language … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, Eastern region – Eastern Zonal Council, Ecology and environment, Endangered language, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Tips, Trees, Tribal elders | Comments Off on Tip | “A need deeply felt by Adivasis”: Respect for native languages and knowledge systems linked to the land and forest

Tip | Anthropology and more

Learn more about India’s tribal communities – their cultural heritage, current conditions and aspirations – with the help of the links seen below Despite their vast differences, anthropologists, including [Verrier] Elwin and [G.S.] Ghurye, as well as Srinivas and other … Continue reading

Posted in Adverse inclusion, Anthropology, Crafts and visual arts, Cultural heritage, Customs, Endangered language, Ethnobotany, Health and nutrition, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Misconceptions, Museum collections - India, Musicology, Names and communities, Particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), Regions of India, Rural poverty, Tips, Tribal identity, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on Tip | Anthropology and more

Learn more about India’s Himalayan tribal communities

Posted in Anthropology, Assimilation, Colonial policies, Community facilities, Crafts and visual arts, Customs, Democracy, Dress and ornaments, Eco tourism, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Endangered language, Ethnobotany, Figures, census and other statistics, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Government of India, Health and nutrition, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature and bibliographies, Music and dance, Nature and wildlife, Northern region – Northern Zonal Council, Organizations, Revival of traditions, Seasons and festivals, Tips, Tourism, Trees, Tribal elders, Tribal identity, Women, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on Learn more about India’s Himalayan tribal communities

Tribal Politics – adivasi culture, language, and religion in Encyclopedia of India

Tribal Politics The “tribal” peoples or adivasis of India, according to the 2001 census, constitute roughly 8.1 percent of the country’s population, some 83,6 million people, classified under 461 different communities. They occupy a belt stretching from the Bhil regions … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Adverse inclusion, Anthropology, Assimilation, Bastar, Colonial policies, De- and re-tribalisation, Ecology and environment, Endangered language, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, Misconceptions, Modernity, Names and communities, Nilgiri, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Rural poverty, Sacred grove, Tribal identity, Women, Worship and rituals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Tribal Politics – adivasi culture, language, and religion in Encyclopedia of India