A revelation by the Union Government has brought troublesome news for the cultural heritage of the state as seven dialects spoken in different parts of the Himachal Pradesh have been categorized on the verge of extinction.

As per the information provided by the Union Minister of State Human Resources Development Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey to Shimla Member of Parliament Virender Kashyap seven dialects viz. Baghati, Handuri, Kului, Kinnauri, Pangvalli, Sirmauri and Spiti spoken mainly in Sirmour, Solan, Chamba and Kullu districts and tribal higher hills and tribal snow bound areas of Pangi, Spiti and Kinnaur areas of Himachal Pradesh are on the verge of extinction.

The Union Government has identified and classified total 197 languages/dialects as critically endangered all over India.

The Government of India has initiated a Scheme known as “Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages of India” (SPPEL). Under this scheme, the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore works on protection, preservation and documentation of all the mother tongues/languages of India spoken by less than 10,000 people.

The Government has also initiated a Project known as “Bharatavani” implemented by the CIIL for all languages, especially the languages spoken by more than ten thousand persons, in the cyberspace. This Project aims to build a searchable knowledge repository in and about all the languages in India in multimedia (text, audio, video, images) formats through an online portal.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has launched a scheme ‘Study and Research in Indigenous and Endangered language in India’ and approved grants to the nine Central Universities and six State Universities for Establishment of Centres for Endangered Language in these Universities during 12th Plan.

Language is directly associated with the culture and custom of region and society that plays vital role in developing beliefs and history. Language is also instrumental for the growth and transmission of culture, continuity of societies, and with the extinction of dialects, we can well imagine the loss for the diverse and rich culture and custom of the state.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.