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Gujjars demand status of linguistic minority
Gujjars - the biggest tribe in Jammu and Kashmir are demanding `Linguistic Minority' status. They also press for the inclusion of their mother tongue Gojri in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
THE GUJJARS of Jammu and Kashmir, living in hilly and far-off places, have demanded treating this tribal community as a “Linguistic Minority” in the State.
 
 They have also pressed for constitutional safeguards to their language "Gojri” by recommending its inclusion in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. 
 
These two demands have been included in a memorandum submitted to chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. The memorandum, signed by all the prominent writers, poets and intellectuals of the language, has been sent to Azad through Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, a national organization working on Indian tribes with special focus on Gujjars. The memorandum further impresses upon the state government to take up the matter with the centre for inclusion of Gojri in the list of official languages of India.   
 
Giving the details of the memorandum, National Secretary of the Foundation Dr Javed Rahi said that Gojri has a strong literary tradition and recognised as a tribal language of India by Sahitya Academy.Being one of the oldest and significant languages of the South Asian sub-continent, the language rightly deserves inclusion in the 8th Schedule as there is an adequate provision and facilities in Indian Constitution for linguistic minorities, Rahi said. 
 
Gojri is considered as one of the ancient languages of India. Historians have traced the origin and practice of Gojri language since Before Christ. ``There are several mentions of this language in ancient religious books written in and around first century BC." the memorandum said.
 
It said that noted Saint Scholar and Hindi- Persian Poet of thirteen century, Amir Khusroo formally made mention of Gojri language in the list of 18 major Indian languages of his time. Researchers and historians are of considered opinion that Gojri language is the mother of Rajasthani, Gujrati, Urdu and Haryanvi Languages, the memorandum claimed.
 
Jammu and Kashmir Government has already recognized Gojri by including it in the Sixth Schedule of the constitution. It is the aspiration of millions of people who want that due credit should be given to this ancient language, which is serving our motherland for centuries together, Javaid Rahi said.
He stated that according to current analysis, Gojri language is the first language of 20 million of people in South Asia including India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, a good chunk of them live in Jammu and Kashmir.
 
The memorandum further said several pleas by the groups and individuals espousing the cause have failed to convince the political leadership for inclusion of Gojri in the Eighth Schedule of the constitution of India thus giving the language the recognition it deserves since very long. The memorandum sought the help of Kashmiri, Dogri and linguistic groups, political parties, social organizations in this justified cause of tribal population of the state.
 
Kashmiri and Dogri - the two other major languages of Jammu and Kashmir have already been included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.




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