Conference participants say the language was once city’s main vernacular
PESHAWAR: Gandhara Hindko Academy arranged a day-long conference for Hindko women to speak about their experiences and culture at Archives and Libraries Hall in the city on Sunday.
The women at the event said fewer people speak Hindko at home now. “Language is the only source of expression and identity for any civilisation and this [Hindko] was once the main languages of the people of this city; they still have many memories associated with it,” said Dr Ume Salma, a native speaker and a professor. “Hindko is the second language spoken by the people of the province, after Pashto.”
The conference was the first one in Peshawar that was dedicated to women and a large number of people participated in it. Almost all of the participants were of the view their language was dying a slow death and little efforts were being made to support Hindko.
Former broadcaster Aftab Iqbal Bano said she had never seen such a conference that is especially meant for women and where issues pertaining to their language and culture are discussed.
She said Hindko should be given more importance so that its speakers are able to get easy access to education. “Language is of utmost importance to any culture, [we have to consider it because] we live according to our culture and the values associated with it.”
Mode of education
Speakers also discussed how the diminished status of their language had distanced them from opportunities. “Women are anyway discouraged to work as they are harassed in the workplace,” said Dr Samina Zahid, a professor at Khyber Medical College. “And then Hindko speakers are further discriminated against.” Zahid added, “This issue would be minimised if women can get an education in their native language and seen as competitive [members of the workplace].”
She told participants the only panacea for these ills was education. “Everyone has the right to get an education in their own language and so, Hindko speakers also have the right to get basic education in their own language.”
Bushra Farrukh, a renowned Hindko and Urdu poet, with six books to her credit was also at the conference; her new book will be published in a few months. Farrukh spoke about the role of Hindko women in the field of literature and media.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2015.