HYDERABAD: Researchers on the Gondi language in Adilabad district, along with local tribes, are planning to bring out India’s first-ever tribal magazine, ‘Leng Khabr’, in Gondi and Koya languages by April.
It will be published in the recently- developed ‘Gunjala Koyatur’ script of Gondi language, said Jayadhir Tirumalrao, one of the researchers and visiting professor at the Centre for Dalit and Adivasi Studies and Translation (CDAST) of the University of Hyderabad (UoH).
CDAST has recently developed a new script for Gondi language from the ancient manuscripts discovered at Gunjala village in Adilabad district. The Gondi language is spoken by the Gond tribe in more than six states including Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Like many other tribal languages in India, the Gonds have depended on the script of other local languages for writing their literature for centuries. Thanks to the National Mission for Manuscript by the Union ministry of culture, a dying language has got a full-fledged script within a decade. The Gondi language is one of the endangered languages, according to UNESCO.
Under the mission, the CDAST has developed the script and now it is being taught to the tribal children in Adilabad district. The Gonds are widely using the new script to conserve their dying language by creating new literature. For the first time, they have also printed a wedding invitation card in the Gunjala script.
The CDAST, with the help of local tribal leaders, is making efforts to teach the script to the younger generation of tribes in Adilabad district. When they found out the copies of ancient manuscripts of Gondi language, there were only four persons alive who could read them. “We were surprised to know that Gondi had its own script. Luckily, we had four veterans who helped us develop the new font. Now, at least, 200 people can read and write in it,” said Krishna, former head of CDAST.
After developing the script, the CDAST also published the school textbooks in Gunjala script with the help of Integrated Tribal Development Agency. Now around 15 schools in Adilabad district have started teaching in the new script. “It had a great impact on the tribal population of the district. An 11-year-old tribal boy, Ramesh, is going to publish the first autobiography in Gunjala script soon,” Tirumalrao said.