We are all blessed to be living in the arms of our Kashmir, letting Koshur (Kashmiri Language) drench us with its ancient richness. Despite the fact that some children still learn and speak their mother tongue, as the generation is moving ahead and away from the language, Koshur has begun to blur its presence. Therefore, it is significant for natives as well as Kashmiris living away from the valley to enrich the childhood of their children with their home language and maybe then, the language will survive the hits of contemporariness.
I believe, people will agree with me about the necessity of knowing and learning one’s own mother- tongue. To be able to speak the native language is a blessing, it connects individuals to their history, ancestors, and land. It keeps the belongingness to one’s own home intact and connects the heart of people easily. It is always easy to identify with someone who speaks the same language as you, no matter what the place, profession or religion!
Meet thoughtful writer & mother, Zarka Batool
If we adults, together, decisively begin our work in the direction of teaching our children, first, the importance of the mother tongue, second, the language itself, Koshur will rejuvenate with time. Zarka Batool, an inspiration, is an apt example of a Kashmiri residing outside of India and yet wanting to adhere her children to their roots.
Zarka Batool is a Kashmiri, born and brought up in Downtown Srinagar, Kashmir, who has been living in England for past 15 years now. Batool works as a part-time doctor and lives with her husband, three kids (boys) in a happy domestic life. Her enthusiasm towards life is evident in her recognition as a writer of a children’s book called “Basic Spoken Kashmiri”.
About the Book
“Basic Spoken Kashmiri” is a compiled vocabulary of words along with illustrations, made with beautiful colors. The book is specifically meant for children to learn the basic grammatical rules and words for forming simple sentences in Kashmiri. The book illustrates all the necessary items from the daily life, explained through a picture and then expressed in both Koshur and English for reference.
The inspiration behind the book
When asked about the source of inspiration to write the book, Batool answered, “After 14 years of moving my jaw in a different fashion trying to speak English with my kids, I wondered- is this what my future generations will speak?” She initially wrote a few pages for her own boys, and gradually decided to write a whole book for the other Kashmiri children around the globe. She believes that as the book has helped her own children, it will help many others as well. In this good faith, Zarka Batool has given us what should have been present from long before.
We are thankful to Batool for her loving & great gift to Kashmiri children as well as parents. All of us need to instill in us the importance of our language and understand that we are solely responsible for the future of Koshur. If we pass it on to our children, they will pass it on to there and the culture will survive. There are various platforms like television, school, internet, etc., for them to learn other languages but there is only parents and guides like Batool’s “Basic Spoken Kashmir” and great linguist and researcher Braj Bihari Kachru’s “An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri”.