Andhra University English professor gets Nari Shakti Puraskar

It’s yet another feather in the cap of Andhra University English Professor Sathupati Prasanna Sree.
Andhra University English professor gets Nari Shakti Puraskar

VISAKHAPATNAM: It’s yet another feather in the cap of Andhra University English Professor Sathupati Prasanna Sree. She has been honoured with Nari Shakti Puraskar in recognition of her endeavour to preserve tribal languages. Prof Prasanna Sree has evolved alphabets for 19 tribal languages.

The languages include Bagata, Gadaba, Kolam, Konda Dora, Jatapu, Porja, Koya, Kotia, Sugali, Savara, Erukula, Goudu, Kammara, Rana, Mukha Dora, Mali, Dhruva and Gond. She received the Nari Shakti Puraskar from President Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi on Tuesday on the occasion of International Women’s Day, Prof Prasanna Sree who hails from an ST community, is a multilinguist.

Speaking to TNIE from Delhi, Prof Prasanna Sree said she was very happy to receive the national award. “The culture of a tribe vanished when the lone survivor of that primitive tribal group of Andaman and Nicobar Islands died in 2004. Moved by the incident, I wanted to preserve tribal culture and languages for posterity. Many tribal dialects and languages are facing extinction threat due to lack of script,’’ she said.

Prof Prasanna Sree developed alphabets for tribal languages as a small initiative and it has turned out to be a big help to tribes. She said generally tribals do not have writing skill, but they can communicate well. “The oral tradition has become a barrier that prevents tribals from coming into contact with the outside world. Hence, I embarked on a mission and my first set of tribal language alphabets were accepted in 2009,’’ she said. As part of her endeavour to promote tribal languages, she travelled extensively in Agency areas of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.

She said tribals are facing discrimination in society now though they are the first people of the land. “Developing alphabets for 19 tribal languages, each consisting of a different set, depending on culture and group, is a tough job,’’ she explained. The AU professor is the first Asian and Indian to be included in the Atlas of Endangered Alphabets. She is the recipient of 15 State awards, including the Best Teacher, Best Academician, and nine national awards.

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