Mapping Indian languages

Unity in diversity

Mapping Indian languages

Lalit Kala Akademi recently hosted a one-of-its-kind event ‘Mapping Indian Art, Culture and Languages’ that brought together many organisations focussing on the linguistic diversity of India.

The event displayed not just languages but the myriad colours and culture of India as well.

The three-day event which started on September 5 highlighted the fact that culture is the reflection of a country and it has to be practiced and preserved. The cultural expression of a country is conveyed not just through language but also performing  and visual arts, craft and music.

For this event, The People’s Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI) had conducted a survey on the linguistic diversity of the country. The show mooted by KK Chakravarty, Chairman, Lalit Kala Akademy was the first one showcasing the diversity of Indian culture and will be carried to the Triennale 2014 in Delhi.

“Globalisation is killing diversity and a large number of dialects are on the verge of disappearance. Language changes with different eco-cultural zones and when we introduce a global language, the local dialect is lost. Therefore such surveys on languages will help recognise them in various parts of India,” explained Chakravarty.

The highlight of the event was the colourful array of masks created by 124 artists each of whom was given an identical white mask as canvas to express their creativity. The result was stunning.

A mask is an important medium of cultural expression and can also be said to be the face of a culture. Mask as a tool is both popular and a sophisticated theatrical form which helps in portraying socio-cultural themes such as mythological figures. The epics of Mahabharata, Ramayana and Lord Krishna are mostly expressed through masks for performances in Assam, Bengal and Odisha.   

Delivering keynotes, Dr K K Chakraborty referred to the fact that the Indian linguistic scenario is like the academic world which is colonised by western categories and therefore, there is a need to replace them with indigenous cognitive categories. This task would become a reality with the work done by PLSI.

The inaugural session was followed by different sessions on translating languages, ethnography and eco-cultural mapping and an open forum, which was chaired by Padamshree Prof Shekhar Pathak, Dr Badrinath Tiwari and Ramnika Gupta.

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