Institute has documented language of communities who have no script, font of their own.
Raipur: Tribal dialect dictionaries have finally seen light of the day in India, thanks to pioneering works in the field by the scientists of Tribal Research Institute (TRI) of Chhattisgarh government. The body has come out with five tribal dialect dictionaries by compiling five tribal languages spoken in different parts of the state.
“Dictionaries of tribal dialects, Halwi, Kuruk, Bhatri, Gondi and Parji have been published recently,” Dr Anil Virulkar, anthropoligist and scientist in TRI told this newspaper on last week. He said Halwa, Oraon, Bhatra, Gond and Paraja tribes speak these dialects.
The dictionaries with a common title “Hindi Bhadri Vartalap Nirdesika” have been written in Hindi as these tribal dialects have no script or font of their own.
“The aim behind bringing out these dictionaries was to preserve tribal dialects and culture by passing them on to the current and next generation of tribals who have distanced themselves from their culture and ethos in a bid to seek a better life. The move will also help save many endangered tribal dialects from extinction,” Dr Virulkar said.
Chhattisgarh is home to 46 different tribes. At least three tribal dialects — Binjwari spoken by Binjwar tribes, Kharwari spoken by Kharwar tribals and Kamari of Kamar tribe have nearly gone extinct. These three tribes have a total population of around 3 lakhs.
The researchers dealing in ethnology have been working on it for several decades with an aim to preserve endangered tribal languages. “At last, our decade-long efforts have paid dividends. We are in the process of bringing out tribal dialect dictionaries in several other dialects in a few months,” Dr Virulkar said.
It was a “very challenging” job to compile tribal dialects for bringing out the dictionaries. Three TRI regional offices at Jagdalpur, Bastar headquarters, Ambikapur, divisional headquarters of Sarguja and Bilashpur in Chhattisgarh were engaged in compiling the tribal dialects for the dictionaries, Dr Virulkar said.
Retired tribal teachers and government officials and others were also roped in to help the institute’s officials gather spoken tribal words in their respective regions during their field visits to different tribal areas in the three regions.
“We focused on tribal dialects, spoken in day-to-day conversation in the dictionaries,” he said.
One thing, the institute came to know during its research was that the tribal folk lore and folk songs have a rich literary value, Dr Virulkar said.
More importantly, “our pioneering works will help materialise the state government’s on-going initiative to teach tribal students at the primary education level in their own dialects”, he added.
Besides, “the dictionaries will also come to aid of security forces engaged in counterinsurgency in tribal-dominated region of Bastar to bridge communication gap between them and the local tribals”, a senior TRI officer told this newspaper.
Fight against extinction
Dictionaries of tribal dialects, Halwi, Kuruk, Bhatri, Gondi and Parji have been published recently by TRI, Chhattisgarh
Titled “Hindi Bhadri Vartalap Nirdesika”, the dictionaries were composed in Hindi as the dialects have no script or font of their own
The states is home to 46 tribes. Three dialects have gone extinct
Retired tribal teachers and government officials were also roped in to gather spoken tribal words in their respective regions
The institute says the aim was to preserve the tribal dialects and culture by passing them on to the current and next generation of tribals
More importantly, “our pioneering works will help materialise the government’s on-going initiative to teach tribal students at the primary education level in their own dialects”, he said. Besides, “the dictionaries will also come to aid of security forces engaged in counterinsurgency in tribal-dominated region of Bastar”, Dr Virulkar added.