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Gondi script gets a fresh lease of life

Gondi script gets a fresh lease of life
Highlights

The Gondi script that was brought to light in 2006 when a joint survey conducted by the National Mission for Manuscripts, Delhi and AP State Oriental Manuscripts Library and Research Institution also threw up interesting facts that there were just four members of Gunjala village of Narnoor mandal who knew to read and write the script.

As part of the efforts to revive a dying language, it is being taught in schools and a magazine is being launched in the month of April

The Gondi script that was brought to light in 2006 when a joint survey conducted by the National Mission for Manuscripts, Delhi and AP State Oriental Manuscripts Library and Research Institution also threw up interesting facts that there were just four members of Gunjala village of Narnoor mandal who knew to read and write the script. Thanks to the efforts of the Centre for Dalit and Adivasi Studies and Translation (CDAST), University of Hyderabad, the ancient script would soon be spoken as well as written by the present generation.

Fifteen instructors were appointed by Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), Utnoor, Adilabad, to teach koyatur language in 11 schools under its jurisdiction and another four mandal schools. The script is being taught as an extra period but is not part of the curriculum. CDAST has arranged one week orientation programme for 24 persons in their campus to train them as instructors of Gondi script. About 800 students were being taught in their mother language.

File photo of Gondi script unveiled in UoH

The credit of reviving the forgotten language goes majorly to Prof Jayadhir Thirumalrao who is a Telugu professor and visiting professor at CDAST. CDAST begun research on the script in the year 2011 and taken up the translation of gondi manuscripts. The team from CDAST also traced down elders of the community who preserved manuscripts.

Kotnak Jangu,70, Kumra Vittalrao,80, Arka Jaiwant,70, Atram Kamlabai,90 are a few elders in the community who are training the younger generation. For the first time, a magazine named ‘Leng Khabr’ in Gondi script is also being launched in April. CDAST has initiated to design a font and the efforts are in process to get this font into Unicode.

Dr Manoja of Palamuru University, observed that there was slight increase in attendance of adivasi students in the schools where Gondi script is being taught. Soyam Bheemrao, an adivasi, said that children were showing interest to attend class being taught in their own language. There are about 3 lakh people belonging to the Gond tribe in Telangana state.

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