5th KPK Language and Culture Conference

to open on December 25

Delegates from 30 languages to attend 2-day event

PESHAWAR: Gandhara Hindko Board, a literary, cultural and social welfare organisation, has organised a two-day “Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Languages and Cultures Conference” in Peshawar from December 25 to 26.

The event is being held in collaboration with the Forum for Language Initiative (FLI) that works for the preservation and promotion of the disadvantaged and neglected languages.

According to the organisers, the literati and cultural experts from 30 languages spoken in the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa - Pashto, Hindko, Seraiki, Khowar, Indus Kohistani, Gojri, Badeshi, Bateri, Chilisso, Dameli, Gawri, Gawarbati, Gawro, Kalasha, Kalkoti, Kamveri, Kataweri, Maddagalashti, Pahari, Palula, Pashai, Farsi, Sarakoli, Shina, Sheikhani,Torwali, Ormuri, Ushojo, Wakhi and Yidgha--will attend the moot which is the fifth of its kind in the province.

The four earlier conferences were arranged by the Gandhara Hindko Board in 2006, 7, 8 and 9 that drew encouraging response from the speakers of officially neglected languages of the province.

According to Muhammad Ziaddin Siddiqui, a noted Hindko language researcher and convener for the conference, the theme of the event is “Save the dying voices and cultures of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa.”

The participants will identify the problems they are facing in preserving and promoting their respective languages and cultures, besides suggesting the measures needed for changing the situation, said Zia, who specializes in documentation and research.

Fakhruddin, a Khowar language researcher from Chitral and member of the organising committee, said the two-day event would have a total of nine sessions—five on the first and four on the second day.

The first day of the conference would have academic sessions while the second day proceedings are to be attended by the officials from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), National Language Authority, Pakistan Academy of Letters, Allama Iqbal Open University, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Textbook Board, Culture Department, public representatives and members of the Civil Society Organisations.

Another member of the organising team and expert of Gawri language of the Swat and Upper Dir, Zaman Sagar, said the Pakistani language activists from the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada would join proceedings through an audio conference and respond to the questions raised by the participants of the programme in Peshawar.

He said various committees such as Organising Committee, Cultural Committee, Media Coordination Committee and Logistic Committee had been constituted to hold the programme in a befitting manner.

The papers read out at the conference would be published in a book form for a wider dissemination to language activists in other parts of the country. The speeches would also be transcribed and brought into fine print.

The Gandhara Hindko Board was launched in 1993 for the preservation and promotion of Hindko, the second main language of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and sixth of the country. It is headed by an eminent writer and research scholar Professor Dr Zahoor Ahmad Awan (Laureate of Tamgha-e-Imtiaz Award) who has 60 Hindko, Urdu and English books to his credit.

The board has published 35 books so far on different genres of Hindko literature, including two voluminous Hindko dictionaries. It has also published the versified Hindko translation of the Holy Quran. The organisation seeks respect for and due attention to all the languages and cultures native to the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province.

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