Are you interested to know what we achieved last year despite having had the challenge of the pandemic? If you are, please go through our annual newsletter 2020. FLI’s annual newsletter comes out today, the February 26. Interestingly, this was the day sharply one year back when first Pakistani tested positive followed by a chaotic year. Let’s celebrate the day as we did not stop and kept going amid the pandemic situation and got what we have here in our newsletter for you. Please click here to know what we achieved last year and share it with all those who are interested in indigenous language things.
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Yadgha speakers of Lotkuh valley in Chitral arranged a poetry program on Phatak day in Garamchashma town of Lotkuh valley. A group of Khowar poets from Upper and Lower Chitral districts joined them in the historic event which was held for the promotion of Yadgha language and encouragement of Yadgha poets. The event provided first ever opportunity to Yadgha poets to come up with their creations, and introduced the participants to new poets from Yadgha language. Earlier, the poets from Yadgha community used to present their poems in Khowar who have recently switched to their native language due to increasing awareness regarding the importance of using mother tongue in the area by Yadgha language researchers and activists. Seven poets of Yadgha language presented their work in their language and got appreciation from the audience. Later on, the Yadgha songs were also part of the music program arranged after the poetry session. The session was organized by Yadgha Development Network, a partner of FLI in the community.
Phatak, a religious festival is celebrated on February 01, each year by Yadgha speakers in the valley. People in Chitral and Gilgit Baltistan usually celebrate Phatak on March 21 every year, as first day of Persian Solar Hijri calendar but people of Lotkuh valley also celebrate Phatak on 1st February to commemorate the work of Pir Nasir Khisro, the eleven century saint who, the local people believe came to this region in mid 11th century for preaching Ismaili sect of Islam. They cook traditional food (Shenek) and take to the Pir’s abbacy situated near Garamchashma town, to hand over the food to protectors of the place. The management of abbacy (Khanqah) then distributes the sacred food among followers of Pir and reads out his sayings to them. The elders of the community, on the occasion congratulate each other and offer prayers for wealth and health of the community. Young people on the day, after leaving the place go to their playgrounds for entertainment and women visit each other’s houses. This year, they added another activity of holding Yadgha poetry at the end of the day which was supported by FLI. More than 50 people from Yadgha language community were present to enjoy the first every poetry session, held in their mother tongue.
The Yadgha language, also called Lutkuhiwar or Yudga is spoken in the Lutkoh Valley, about 46 km west of Chitral. This valley is connected with Zibak, Afghanistan, through the Daruh pass that is at about 1480 meters above sea level. There are an estimated 6,150 Yidgha speakers, who are the minority in a majority Khowar-speaking region.
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Anjuman Taraqqi-e-Khowar (ATK), a literary organization in Chitral has established its chapter (Halqa) in Islamabad last week. Twenty two people of Khowar language community mostly language researchers, poets and students were among the participants. Office bearers of ATK from Chitral, Shahzada Tanvirulmulk, Shazhazda Faham and Mr. Zahurulhaq were also present on the occasion. The purpose of establishment of the organization’s chapter in the capital city is to bring together Khowar speakers living in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and to organize the work of individuals under the ATK umbrella.
The formation of language development bodies in the major cities for organizing the migrant people who come from the ethnolinguistic communities of northern Pakistan is of great importance as there are many people who intend to contribute to their language and culture and to maintain them. The individuals who seek support while producing literature but are unable to find experienced people due to living far from their native place can benefit from the companionship of learned people around. This will keep the migrant Khows in cities together and focused on promotion of their language. The body will also provide the opportunity to interact with and learn from each other.
Anjuman Taraqqi Khowar, founded by the literary people of Chitral in 1956 is one of the oldest literary organizations of northern Pakistan. The purpose of the establishment of ATK was to provide a platform to Chitrali poets and men of letters so that they could work for the promotion of Khowar language and literature. Apart from doing literary work domestically, the ATK has hosted two international conferences: “the 2nd and 3rd International Hindukush Cultural Conferences”, in 1990 and 1995 respectively, in Chitral.
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FLI held a three day workshop for strengthening of writing system in Gawarbati language in Arandu village, situated alongside Afghan border in southern Chitral this week. In total 12 people, including government school teachers, language researchers and activists attended the sessions held under FLI’s Orthography and Writers’ Workshop series. This event was designed by FLI to support community based partner organizations working for development and promotion of their respective languages. The idea of this event came up from the community as for this particular event, FLI let its partners to devise plans for their language based on need they felt and share with FLI for financial and technical support. The event was facilitated by FLI’s external facilitators.
Gawarbati (gwt), a Dardic language is spoken in southern part of Chitral valley. FLI’s first intervention of language documentation for this language took place in 2016 in which a writing system was placed and also some researchers from the community were trained in basic language documentation. Alongside, some initial publications were brought out in the language and ten folktales were recorded with Urdu translation. Since then, this indigenous language is being worked on by those who got trained by FLI.
This was among three events FLI designed for its partners in northern Pakistan, under which the partners were allowed to come up with their own proposals. Earlier, an event in Palula, also spoken in Chitral was supported by FLI and second in Indus Kohistan.
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A five day Capacity Building workshop FLI held for Pashto group concluded yesterday in Peshawar. Ten scholars of Pashto language who came from various departments attended the program. The participants are going to contribute to standardizing the schools’ curriculum in Pashto language. This was the fourth and last edition of Reviewers Capacity Building which was designed and held by FLI. Earlier, the program was held for Khowar, Hindko and Saraiki groups in their respective areas.
Our languages face issues in their writing system which hinders their development. Therefore, one of the jobs FLI executes is to standardize the orthography of our regional languages aiming to strengthen the literacy in our languages. The said program was initiated for this purpose that was to improve the curriculum development. The participants of the program expressed that the training was helpful in learning how to standardize the curriculum development.
The Deputy Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, KP Mr Abdul Akram attended the concluding session of the program and appreciated the FLI’s contribution. The Executive Director of FLI thanked the cooperation of Education Department-KP, DCTE, and all those who played their role in successful accomplishment of this initiative.
FLI, for the last 18 years has been striving to strengthen the languages spoken in the region. During this period, engaging with the relevant departments of the governments has been the most important activity of the organization for sustainable language development work. It is hoped that this journey will continue.
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FLI provided books to the Children libraries of its partners CBOs. In first phase Palula Community Welfare Organization (PCWO), Gawri Community Development Program (GCDP) and Idara Baraye Taleem o Taraqi (IBT) were provided with the books for their MLE schools. It is worthy to mention that FLI’s target ethonoliguistic communities lack access to reading materials. FLI is striving hard to fill the gap by developing reading resources in the mother tongue of Children and purchasing L2 books from Market
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FLI has published more than a dozen books in the indigenous languages of northern Pakistan in a couple of months before. These publications will help the respective community readers study in their own languages. #KhowarBarkash is an important editions as it discusses literary issues in Khowar.
Another book published in Dameli language, a collection of proverbs, second in the language FLI published very recently. We congratulate the entire language group for the great achievement.
Asmatullah Dameli, the researcher and also a community leader who worked with FLI for preservation and promotion of his language has collected the proverbs.
The Dameli language is spoken in southern part of Chitral valley. The language was provided with a functional writing system by FLI in 2016. The activists and researchers from Dameli community are among the hardworking people in FLI’s network who are using their energies to produce literature in their native language. Keep it up good fellows.
We congratulate Gawarbati language community for having another book in the language. This poetry book, FLI published recently was authored by Nasirullah, a young language researcher from Gawabati community who is a trainee of FLI. The thankful community members invited ED of FLI to launch the book last week. Both FLI and Gawabati community members committed to continue their work for promotion of the language. Gawabati language was turned into the written form by FLI just few years back but the way the educated people from the community are working is remarkable and we’re hoping more such work in future. This beautiful language is spoken in southern Chitral, in Arandu area situated on the border with Afghanistan.
We congratulate Palula language community for having published the first ever poetry book in their language. Three pioneers from the community; Atiqullah, Munir and Rafique have contributed with their poems, and Naseem Haider did the translation into Urdu. There have been some old rhymes, verses in the language the Palula youth occasionally hummed them but nobody knew that who created them. This book contains contemporary poetry of Palula we dedicate to Palula youth who love to read and sing in their language.
How to make Honeybee Farming a source of livelihood has been compiled in an indigenous language of northern Pakistan. FLI gladly published this book because of three good reasons; 1) for being in one of its target languages, Gawri, 2) for being authored by one of its trainees, and 3) for covering a good topic. The book is also expected to help those who struggle in finding topics for literature development in their respective languages.
Gawri belongs to Dardic group of languages which is spoken in Dir and Swat Kohistan. Its speakers, researchers and activists are working with FLI to load their language with literature. Material production is fast taking place in the language thanks to dedicated people from the community.
We congratulate our trainee, Muhammad Nabi for this book and appreciate his work which, we hope will inspire other people in our network who lookout for innovative topics. Nabi has been busy in development work for his language since long, and we wish him good luck for his future plans.
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We have started meeting with partners in the region and at the third stop of this series we sat with MIER in Chitral. MIER has embarked on a mission, mostly to strengthen the Khowar writing system and our friends in this organization are doing great job. In the meeting, we discussed many things relating to language work. Next sitting will take place in Swat or Gilgit and our friends in our partner organizations in these regions must be looking forward to meeting us. We are lucky to have good and able people in our circle who help us contribute to serving our indigenous languages by supporting our initiatives and sharing their issues with us. We hope that together we will preserve and promote our languages.
FLI team held a meeting with Yidgha language community members in Lotkuh valley of Chitral last week. FLI team assured the participants of the meeting of possible support in further documentation of their language in response to their demand for capacity building in various fields of language work.
Yidgha, one of the highly endangered languages of the area was taken up by FLI some years back and initial literature were produced in the language. Much more needed for the language and that’s the reason FLI visited the area and met with the activists, poets, singers, school teachers, young and senior people from the community to find out ways of cooperation with them. These people, now are aware of the importance of using of their heritage language and it’s hoped that they will work to preserve and promote it. FLI will continue extending to them its technical support.
Gawri and Torwali
In a series of meeting with partners in north Pakistan, FLI held meetings in Swat with the activists and researchers of Gawri and Torwali language communities. The objective of these meetings is to refresh our commitment for our languages and discover new ways for collective measures we will take in future. The Covid-19 situation undoubtedly impacted our plans but we believe that together with our partners we can catch up. #GCDP and #IBT are dynamic arms of FLI whose support has allowed this organization to deliver in the region with ease
Meeting in GB
FLI, together with its partners and other stakeholders has made great progress in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province where five local languages are being taught at primary level as subjects. We are striving for inclusion of more languages in the province and are hopeful that we will eventually achieve the goal of an exclusive educational system in the province. We desire the same process be initiated in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), therefore, we have plans to work in GB and with GB govt.
For the purpose we have started meeting with stakeholders from the region. We, together with our friends in GB are hopeful to succeed.
The Gojri Language & Culture Society (GLCS), one of FLI’s partner CBOs in Pakistan has an innovative project of mobile schools. We held a meeting with people of this CBO last week in Abbotabad and discussed ways of cooperation in future. They are doing wonderful job to educate the community children on one side and promote their culture on the other.
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How to stay safe, and protect our dear ones from the Pandemic Covid-19 is explained in the Burushaski Language. Burushaski, an isolate by virtue of language classification is spoken in the Gilgit-Baltistan. FLI has developed this message in 15 indigenous languages of the area to create awareness in the communities regarding the disease. Please share our 3rd of the series.
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How to stay safe, and protect our dear ones from the Pandemic Covid-19 is explained in the Kalasha Language. Spoken in the Kalash valley of Chitral-KP, Kalasha is one of the indigenous languages of the region. FLI has developed this message in 15 languages of the area including Kalasha to create awareness in the communities regarding the disease. Please share our first of the series.