India is an immense country, proud of its heritage, and known for its diverse cultural and linguistic legacy. This legacy is one of the world’s richest with 22 official languages, 234 recognized mother tongues, and 1600 dialects… In reality, nobody knows the exact number of languages, because there has never been any real inventory of this data. Some scholars however believe there could be up to 900 distinct languages.
Sorosoro has therefore decided to participate in the preservation of this great diversity. Rozenn Milin spent eight days in India this past Spring to consider possible collaborations. She met with various individuals concerned with linguistic preservation and revitalization: scholars, linguists, practitioners, activists…
Of note was her lecture at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, in the presence of the Dean of the University, Professor Girish Nath Jha, who heads the Centre for Sanskrit Studies and Professor K. V. Subbarao, a prominent Indian linguist who has studied over forty languages.
She also met Professor Anvita Abbi, highly mediatized earlier this year upon the passing of Mrs. Boa Sr., the last speaker of the Bo language in the Andaman Islands. Prof. Abbi has described and documented the languages of this archipelago and has thus contributed significantly to alerting the scientific community and the general public about the irretrievable loss of this ancient language and culture, probably one of the oldest in the world.
Ms Milin also met with Rajesh Sachdeva, Head of the CIIL, Central Institute of Indian Languages, a government agency whose purpose is to coordinate the development of Indian languages, to study them, and thus contribute to the mutual enrichment of languages.
Finally, an outing in Gujarat led to the discovery of an Adivasi Academy (“Academy of Indigenous Languages”) created by Professor Ganesh Devy, an academic of international stature who started to work for the development of disadvantaged, indigenous communities. He thus founded this “academy” for India’s indigenous populations. It is an organization that provides instruction and academic education, but also collects oral histories, publishes numerous works on these languages and cultures, develops crafts, engages in microcredit, etc.
The Sorosoro team is now working on establishing new partnerships.
Key dates for this quarter