Yidgha and Kohistani languages get Android Keyboard

FLI has achieved another landmark in the promotion of endangered languages of Pakistan. It has developed Android keyboards for two more endangered languages of its target area, northern Pakistan. With the development of this milestone the Yidgha, spoken in the Lotkuh valley of district Chitral and Indus-Kohistani, spoken in the Indus Valley of Kohistan, KP have joined Shina and Khowar languages for which FLI has already developed keyboards and that are being used by their community people.  These keyboards which are ads free and very simple to use, have been made available, like earlier one, on Google Play Store for those in the community who use cell phone. The keyboard for Khowar has got green ticket on the Store for been heavily downloaded and used. Below are the links of the keyboards

  1. Yidgha keyboard link https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fli.yidghakeyboard
  2. Indus-Kohistani keyboard link https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fli.induskohistanikeyboard
  3. Khowar keyboard link https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fli.jalaluddin.flikhowarkeyboard
  4. Shina keyboard link https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fli.jalaluddin.shinakeyboard



New book published in an indigenous language

FLI printed another book in another indigenous language of northern Pakistan,, Kohistani, also called Indus Kohistani (IK). The launching ceremony of this proverb book, collected and translated into Urdu and English by Talib Jan was held on April 10, 2019 in Islamabad. Talib Jan has been working for the promotion of his native language for more than a decade.   Indus Kohistani is the major language of the west bank of the Indus River.  There are two main dialects of Indus Kohistani – one that is spoken along the Indus River, in settlements such as Seo, Pattan and Jijal. The other is spoken in the Duber and Kandia Valleys, which are more remote.  FLI has been working with this community for a long time and many interventions to develop and promote this language are underway. FLI also support a mother tongue based pre-school system in this community. The printing of proverb book in Indus Kohistani will serve the language and community in long future. 57129680_2317603271610926_7450056915956006912_n

Mother Language Literature Festival in Islamabad

The Mother Language Literature Festival has been a regular component of cultural activities in Islamabad since 2016. The event becomes more popular among literary people each year. What more important is the venue the two day yearly event takes place in, is what people call the heart of Islamabad, the Lok Virsa, one of the few cultural premises owned by the federal government. Hundreds of mother tongue activists, researchers, teachers, students, writers, poets and language lovers gather in this place every second weekend of February relating the event with International Mother Language Day. Literature in minor languages are put on display, the new writers’ compilations are launched and local languages are discussed and new promises are made to strengthen them are some of the regular activities of the event. FLI’s people also take part in the event. Muhammad Zaman, the Senior Advocacy Officer of FLI participated in a panel discussion took place on Feb 16. 2019. The event lasted for two days. This session was moderated by the head of one of FLI’s partner organizations and there was another lady panelist who has been part of FLI’s training activities. IMG_8591

Intellectual Property workshop in Islamabad

Intellectual property is the modern day phenomenon and very important for those, especially working in development sector to understand its requirements.  Protecting one’s creativity from plagiarism, theft and the basic legal protection available in the country must be in everyone’s knowledge. In view of its importance and need, FLI arranged a one day workshop on Feb 14, 2019 in Islamabad for its staff members and also invited people from its partner organizations who are involved in creative activities. Mr. Wayne Lunsford, who was the organizer of the workshop facilitated this important learning activity. The relationship of a staff member with his/ her organization for creative works, the benchmark of ownership of the creation and lot more were described during the event. 16 people, from various language communities of northern Pakistan including FLI’s staff members attended the event. The purpose of the activity was to make the participants aware of the Intellectual Property, the procedure of its acquisition, safeguarding of the intellectual property etc. The participants were able to comprehend the sensitivity of the subject as it was relevant to their daily life. They were also provided useful literature for reference and use in the future.


Language work endorsed in Gilgit-Baltistan

“I assure FLI and its partners in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) who have devoted their lives to work for the development of indigenous languages of GB my full support and every assistance in the GB Assembly”, this was stated by the opposition leader in GB Legislative Assembly, Capt. (r) Muhammad Shafi while speaking in a seminar FLI held on Feb 21, to mark International Mother Language Day (IMLD 2019) in Gilgit. FLI  decided to observe the IMLD) 2019 in Gilgit so as to gather the speakers of indigenous languages of Gilgit-Baltistan and discuss what they feel for the future of their heritage languages. Mr. Shafi appreciated FLI’s efforts especially to hold the event in the Gilgit city. There are five languages vigorously spoken in GB and the good thing is that the sitting government of GB is pursuing a futuristic plan to develop these languages.  Some good minds in the executive hierarchy of the government have been deputed with the task to include local languages in the schools curriculum. FLI is eagerly waiting for the initiation of this great work by the GB government and it has assured its full technical support to successfully implement the plans of the government. The aim of observing of year’s IMLD was also to reaffirm FLI’s resolve to not only work with the government but also with language communities of the region. All languages were represented in the event. Eight literary people who belonged to Shina, Balti, Khowar, Burushaski and Wakhi languages and one from the academia while two government officials gave presentations on the current status of the language work, the challenges they encounter and opportunities in sight. The event was a great success as it gathered all the genuine language workers at one place and linked them with politicians and government officials. While speaking on the occasion Hasan Hasrat, a literary personality of Balti language thanked FLI for holding the event in Gilgit and said that the event has never been observed by any organization or government in GB.


CoP on Culture and Arts held in Islamabad

FLI organized a Community of Practice (CoP) on culture and arts on March 14, 2019 in Islamabad which was attended by 16 people from 11 language communities of northern Pakistan. The event was aimed to figure out why the local arts and music were facing the danger of extinction and what steps should be taken to revive the local musical arts. Eight people, belonging to Torwali, Gawri, Khowar, Shina, Wakhi, Hindko, Palula and Kalasha language groups presented their presentations on how music, an integral part of their indigenous cultures were eroding and what were the reasons. They also floated their recommendations for promotion of their cultural heritage. The conclusion brought up many reasons varying from geographical to atmospheric factors effecting the very cultural aspect of the region. Some of the findings of the CoP listed below:

  • Music was no more a likable and profitable profession in some societies of northern Pakistan
  • Music and musicians are stigmatized in some areas
  • Globalization, religious extremism, social stigma and government negligence were blamed for overall degradation of local arts.

Factually, every indigenous culture in northern Pakistan, as come out of this event, had been giving great importance  to the music in the past. In some places, the music was used not only for casual entertainment but was it also a part of daily life of the inhabitants. In Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral region, some type of musical instruments are still being played during the traditional polo competitions, meant to create thrill among the players. The same was done in the past during wars.

FLI has been requested by the participants of this event to work for the revival of this aspect of cultures in its target region. FLI will surely seek government help for the purpose though its advocacy efforts.


16 people trained to write their mother tongue

16 people including three women from Khowar language community of Golaghmuli village in district Ghizer, GB gained the ability of writing in their mother tongue in a workshop. FLI held this Writers’ Workshop for Khowar Community in the first week of November 2018 in their village, Golaghmuli. The purpose of the activity was to enable the community people to understand how writing system of a language is standardized. External facilitator Farid A Raza and Sr. Literacy Officer of FLI,Orthography Pic JPG Naseem Haider facilitated the training.