Writing to save Cultures

India boasts of a huge variety of languages and dialects. Many of these languages do not have scripts of their own. In fact many of them are on the brink of fading away into oblivion owing to the trend of people migrating to modern cities and hence newer cultures. However, a small academy in Gujarat is standing tall to save these languages from dying.

Anand Giridharadas writes in this article at The Mint on how the Adivasi Academy, based in Tejgadh, Gujarat, is working towards chronicling elements of rural culture.

It is not only obscure languages that these students are trying to chronicle and preserve, but also cuisines, sartorial habits and other significant elements of rural culture. Like drivers heading downtown at rush hour, the students see everyone else going the other way. A swelling class of Indian aspirants from small towns and villages such as Tejgadh sees urban life and the English language as pathways to affluence, security and respect. 

The academy was founded by Ganesh Devy, who is a former professor of English literature.

He created the school, known as the Adivasi Academy, with a burning question on his mind: Why do we wait for cultures to die to memorialize them? 

The article further reports:

In recent years some people in Tejgadh have become professional artists, one example of a deeper transformation. Modernity has been creeping into the villages, and young people have been pouring out. But they are unprepared. They grew up speaking a language no one recognizes beyond their village, and they are inexpert in Gujarati, Hindi and English, the languages of urban employment. In the cities, they find it difficult to escape the most menial jobs.
Devy wanted to combat this gravitational force. Could Adivasis be persuaded to study their culture rather than shed it, and to stay in the villages rather than flee? 

To know more on how young people like Kantilal Mahala, 21, and Vikesh Rathwa, 27, are working hard to preserve their language and culture, read this wonderful article at The Mint.

Image courtesy: www.livemint.com

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