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Kosali Activists Staged Dharna at Jantar Mantar; Demands Constitutional Recognition

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Kosali Kriyanusthan Committee staged a dharana at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on 5th Nov. The dharna was staged demanding the inclusion of Kosali in 8th Schedule of the Constitution. It was attended by Saket Sreebhushan Sahu, Coordinator Kosali Kriyanusthan Committee, Dillip Pasayat, Sarbeswar Padhan, Bailochan Naik, Amresh Senapati, Kishor Podh, Dibya Nag, Akash Sahu, Gajendra Sahu, Harendra Swain, Ghanashyam Banji, Rajendra Kedia.

The Dharana was supported by other language activists like Dr Joga Singh(Punjabi), Kundan Amitabh(Angika), Prasun Latant(Bhojpuri), Sunil Tiwari (Bhojpuri) etc.

The Kosali speakers says, in the past few years the central government has included different Indian languages in the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution by the recommendation of various committees.  It shows prudence on the part of the Union government in recognizing the complexity of linguistic diversity in India.

It is said that the right of a mother tongue is a basic cultural right of the people which link them with their economy, socio-cultural system and political right. UNESCO has recognized that the concept of language equality among all languages. Furthermore, the Indian government is promoting the mother tongue based multilingual education to reduce the school drop-out rates and to enhance communication using a mother tongue. In this regard, Kosali language is the mother tongue of ten districts of western Odisha. In addition, a large population of Chattisgarh state; Bhatri region of Bastar district, and from eastern part of Debhog, Phuljhar, Raigarh, Sarangarh to Jashpur uses Kosali language as their mother tongue. More than two crore (2,00,00,000)  population uses Kosli in their day-to-day life.

The Kosali language and literature is vast as it is blessed with many a dedicated writer. As per sources at present around 4500 writers are contributing regularly to enrich Kosali. Publication in Kosali language started in pre-independence India; 1895. Since then a large number of books are published regularly in different genre like epic, poetry, prose, novels, essay, drama, travelogue, translation, children literature, grammar, dictionary, calendar etc and available in the market. According to sources annually around 2300 books are published in Kosali language. Epics like Ramayana, Mahabharat, Bhagbat Gita, and Meghaduta are translated into Kosali language.  Today many major Odia dailies like Sambad, Samaj, Prameya etc are publishing special pages in Kosali language. 

Sambalpur University is providing a PG Diploma Course in Kosali and Haldhar Avasik Vanabidyalaya, Kudopali has included 2 Kosali primers since 2012 in its curriculum.

For the people of western Odisha it is not just a language but a way of life that propel progresses and harmony in the region. The inclusion of Kosali language in the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution will have following positive impacts on the people of western Odisha:

  • Kosali Language as Medium of Instruction

Western Odisha area contains 40 to 50 % of the state’s population. The key to development of western Odisha is the Kosali language. Dropout rate in schools particularly in rural and Adivashi area can be ascribed to, among other variables, teaching in Odia language which not used in day-to-day communication. It is as if learning through an alien language. Kosali is the dominant means of communication throughout western Odisha. Though we have several tribal languages, all tribals have functional capability in Kosali not Odia. That is the main reason why KBK has been found literacy rate with so low. We also have large population of scheduled caste in the area who are similarly impacted. It has caused various problems viz. i) the overall marks of students from western Odisha are lower than the students of coastal Odisha and ii) many bright students of western Odisha fail again and again in both 10th and 10+2 examinations because of their poor knowledge in Odia language. Recognition of Kosali language will facilitate education among the kids of western Odisha in their mother tongue and solve the above-mentioned problems.

Despite aggressive Odianisation, population of western Odisha has retained Kosali language for day-to-day communication.

  • Research and Development

Dictionaries, grammar books, plays, novels, anthology of poems, granthavalis of major poets, Kosali panjikas, several books on history of Kosal (western Odisha), and biographies on Kosali heroes are already available without any financial help from the government. Recognition of Kosali language will avail grants directly from the central government. This will facilitate the research and future development of Kosali language.

Again, Kosali films will be considered for National Awards (Regional Language) only when the language will be enlisted in 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

  • Ease of Governance 

Currently, notices are given in the villages of western Odisha in Odia; not very literates understand the full meaning of these notices. Civil servants from other areas who do not even have rudimentary knowledge of Kosali language cannot communicate with citizens, thus resulting in miscommunication. In fact, Odisha is among the minority of states which claims to have only one language. Out of 29 states, 15 have more than one official language. Out of 7 union territories, all 7 have more than one recognized language. In a democracy, freedom of expression is a fundamental right of the citizen. Good governance requires efficient communication between the citizens and the government. In this context, inclusion of the Kosali language in the 8th Schedule of the Indian constitution will facilitate governance in western Odisha.

  • Kosali as a Distinct Language and its Socio-cultural Impact

The linguistic characteristics of Kosali language are markedly different. Kosali is considered as an ancient language by researchers and it is one of the five Prakrit languages existing since Vedic era along with Sanskrit. But the Kosali speaking region is affluent with adivasis. And it is obvious that they are using languages to communicate before Sanskrit era. It seems, after the invasion of the Aryan, the adivasis of the region may have adopted the language of the mainstream. Even many other caste and tribe like Kulata, Aghria, Brahmin, Bhulia, Gour etc have been migrated to this region in the course of time. All have brought their own culture and language and amalgamated it into the language of the present Kosali speaking region.

Further, the Kosali speaking region was ruled by Nala, Naga, Sarabhapuriya, Chola, Ganga, Somavansi, Kalachuri, Chouhan, Maratha, and Britishers. Even after the acquisition by Britishers, this region has been once in Bengal, once in Madhya Paradesh (Central Province) again with Bengal and then Bihar and finally settled with Odisha. And in the course of time the present form of Kosali has evolved with an influence of all these transition.

At present Kosali is an Indo-Aryan language. It is been categorized under the languages of Purvi Hindi Language Group. The languages of this group are, Awadhi, Baghelkhandi, Chattisgarhi and Kosali.

Genealogical analysis shows two different sources of origin of the two languages, that is, Odia and Kosali language. Odia is originated from the Magadhi Prakrit; whereas, Kosali language is originated from Ardha-Magadhi Prakrit. So, there is remarkable difference between the two in the sphere of phonology, morphology, semantics and syntax. The researchers at the Sambalpur University, Odisha have shown that the Kosali is a distinct and old language.

Kosali language is intimately connected to the distinct culture and heritage of western Odisha, quite distinct from Odia culture. The unique folk songs and dances blends neatly with rhythm and punctuation of Kosali language. Inclusion of Kosali language in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution will promote the culture and heritage of western Odisha.



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