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Finally, a boost: Dogri literature now a click away

Pawan Bali

Posted: May 19, 2005 at 0316 hrs IST

FOR Dogri literature lovers, the way to their favourite works will now only be a click away. More than a year after the language was included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution, Dogri is progessing in fits and starts, with the latest booster being the creation of Dogri Corpora (collection of literary works), which will be available on the website of Central Institute of Languages, Mysore.

To begin with, over 100 works of prose and poetry would be compiled and made available. An anthology of Dogri short stories, selected mainly from works published in the past 50 years, would also be accessible.

The project, which will be supported by CIL, Mysore, would also include poems and prose of veteran Dogri writers, including Dhinu Bhai Panth, Professor Madan Mohan Sharma, B.P. Sathai and Ram Nath Shastri.

Besides, a meeting of the National Consultative Committee on Dogri has also decided to create a Dogri-English dictionary with 5,000 words, which would later include a glossary in Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and Kashmiri. Also, projects like creation of a Dogri manual, Dogri dialect survey and documentary on Dogri languages have been listed.

However, amidst these series of projects, the revival of Dogri script, Takri-based Dogra Akhar, does not find place and it is even regarded as a difficult option. Ever since the late 1940s, the script in use for Dogri has been Devnagri, though earlier it was Takri or its adaptation, Lande.

Scholars say since not much of Dogri literature has been written in this script, its revival does not hold much context.

Padmashree Ram Nath Shastri, founder-member of Dogri Sanstha and a scholar, says the current need is to make Dogri more readable and popular. About the original Dogri script, Shastri says it had been in use during the reign of Dogra ruler Maharaja Ranbir Singh that Takri script was used officially for all communications and orders. Shastri says currently it is not possible to revive the old script, as there are not many scholars left who could teach this script. Also, most of Dogri literature is in Devnagiri script.

Head of Dogri Department, Jammu University, Professor Veena Gupta reinforces the reason, adding that the original script is only for studying official communications and records during the time of Dogri maharajas. Gupta, however, adds that the masters course in Dogri includes a paper in old Dogri script, which is sufficient for the students.

Professor Lalit Magotra, president of the Dogri Sanstha, says Dogri literature mainly came into existence after the 1940s and the renaissance began with the poem of Dhiru Bhai Panth ‘Shair Pahlo Pahle Gayo’. Gupta says before that Dogri was not considered a language of the elite and was mainly used for records and ledger books. He adds that the main focus is to increase the popularity of the language by making it Net-friendly and easily readable.

Old script tales
Original script Takri only had alphabets and no symbols.
The script was revived by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in late 1800s, who passed an order to fine all those who did not use the script.
Takri does not have much literature and was mainly used for official communications and maintaining ledger books.

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