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October 6, 2009

Meira Kumar launches IGNOU Foundation Course in Bhojpuri

Meira Kumar launches IGNOU Foundation Course in Bhojpuri

New Delhi:Remember that lilting Hindi film song – Ganga Maiya Tohe Piyari Charhaibo, Saiyan se Karde Milanwa -- of 1960s? Indians born after 1960s may not be able to relate to its significance today. But such is its charm and cadence, the song is nostalgically appreciated even today as a symbol of ethos of Indian society.

While launching an IGNOU programme of Foundation Course in Bhojpuri today here at India Habitat Centre, Lok Sabha Speaker Smt Meira Kumar referred to the cadence of the language and its rich vocabulary which has developed its literature.

Addressing a gathering of IGNOU academics and mediapersons, Smt Kumar said in Bhojprui that over 20 crore people speak in this language. They are spread in all parts of the country and also live in substantial number in Trinidad & Tobago, Fiji, Mauritius and Surinam. As a language Bhojpuri is so rich that it has an epic, powerful vocabulary and people willing to interact in natural inter-personal communication. “Barhka kaam bhaila,” she said in Bhojpuri to the applause of the gathering, adding that the word ‘piyari’ is just not Hindi or Bhojpuri, but is a symbol of Indian essence and divinity.

IGNOU Vice Chancellor Professor V N Rajasekharan Pillai announced to set up a Centre for Bhojpuri language and Literature and Culture in the campus.

According to the scheme of the foundation course at IGNOU, students of BA, BCom, BSW will have options to offer Bhojprui as a course. This is the beginning only. Soon the language will be on offer for Certificate, Diploma, Degree, MA and PhD programmes gradually, announced Prof Shatrughna Kumar. Introduction of Bhojpuri in the programme is Prof Kumar’s sole initiative. “There will be many more opportunities to learn the language in depth and also culture its literature”, he said.

If a language has developing and constantly evolving literature, running over centuries and spoken with verve by over 2 million people, why cannot it be included in the 8th schedule? The question was dogging, though unexpressed in the launch ceremony.

Asked in the sidelines separately, about the prospect of the language’s being included in the 8th Schedule of Constitution, Prof Kumar said that would depend on the empowered committee to make the necessary recommendations. “In the last meeting they did not consider it, even though huge humanity speak in the language.”

The 8th Schedule today lists only 22 languages of India. Bhojpuri, with over 20 crore speakers, definitely has a chance to be included in near future. Besides India, it is spoken far and wide in Mauritius, Fiji, Trinidad & Tobago and Surinam.

Sahitya Academy sources also do not seem to have any clue. The premier institution of the country’s literature and language does not carry out promotional programme on Bhojprui. Asked, a senior official said in confidence, “We do not promote it, though probably the language deserves a better treatment in terms of inclusion in the 8th Schedule.

However, the empowered committee in the government system is yet to begin thinking over the issue. A sustained social inclusion of language is possible only if there is a proper effort to recognise it as a national language. Until that happens, Amitabh Bachchans and Mithun Chakrabortys may continue to stir Bhojpuri nostalgia, without cementing much gain for the literarti in Bhojpuri.

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