A two-day convention on Banjara language and culture by the Sahitya Akademi spotlighted the role of the language and its importance. “Children should be taught in their mother tongue. We learn better and think better in our mother tongue,” said K.Sreenivasarao of the Sahitya Akademi while speaking at the event held at Ravindra Bharati.
“We want to bring uniformity to the script. In this direction, we are promoting the use of Devanagari script for writing the Banjara language,” said director of Ministry of Culture, Ramchandra Ramesh Arya.
Other speakers at the convention stressed on how Banjara language has been ignored despite having a large population that speaks the tongue. Much of Banjara literature is in the shape of oral history, songs and stories in the absence of a script over many years. According to the 2011 Census, there are nearly 50 lakh native Banjara language speakers.
“Banjara language is not there in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution [which lists the official languages of India]. If it is due to the absence of script, we can go with either Roman or Devanagari script. Only such adoption will bring in line with New Education Policy goals,” said B. Vijaya, a native speaker of the language who teaches at Osmania University.
Interestingly, Telangana has introduced two textbooks in Banjara language for primary schoolchildren in 1,426 tandas (hamlets) in the State.