A movement is gaining momentum in western Odisha for Inclusion of Kosli (also referred to as Sambalpuri) language in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Kosal Discussion and Development Forum (KDDF), formed to preserve the linguistic and cultural identity of the Koshali speaking people apart from acting as a catalyst for development of the region, has submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday. Copies of the memorandum were also submitted to the President of India, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, Orissa Governor, Chief Minister and the MPs from the State among others.

The memorandum stated that recognising the complexity of linguistic diversity in India, the Union government passed the 93rd Constitutional Amendment that enabled the government to have a fresh look at the possibility of inclusion of other Indian languages in the 8th Schedule. Consequently, four languages -- Bodo, Dogri, Santhali, and Maithili -- were included in the 8th Schedule. “We the people of Western Odisha hope that Kosli will be included as our situation is identical to that of Maithili,” it noted.

Mother tongue

Kosli language is the mother tongue of 10 districts of western Odisha -- Balangir, Bargarh, Boudh, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Sambalpur, Sonepur, Sundargarh and Athmallik sub-division.

Besides, a large population of Raipur, Mahasamund, and Raigarh districts of neighbouring Chhattisgarh state also uses Kosli language as their mother tongue, pointed out the memorandum.

The Kosli language and literature is rich and vast. It has publications in a wide variety of subjects such as architecture, astrology, medicine, music, arts, philosophy, and literature.

Its songs, dances, and drama have been popular across the world while its cinema has also gained international attention.

While there are newspapers and a large number of periodicals being published in Kosli, the national broadcaster All India Radio and various television channels are also airing programmes in the language, according to the memorandum.

A memorandum has been submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking immediate action on the issue