In the spirit of honouring the rich dialects of India which have managed an indigenous life of their own, the third edition of the Gateway Litfest (to be held in Mumbai on February 25 and 26 at the NCPA) is going to have a session on script-free languages; with the torchlight on Ahirani, along with Konkani, Santhali, Bhojpuri and Khasi. “Much along the lines of last year’s panel on Languages Facing Extinction, this year we want to create a buzz around regional, rather sub-regional, spoken idiom whose future rests on its speakers. Had it not been for the emotional investment of people and committed literati, these tongues wouldn’t have evolved,” says Mohan Kakanadan, Gateway festival director. Politician-poet Kanimozhi, filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Jnanpith awardee Kedarnath Singh and Bengali writer Subodh Sarkar are expected to speak on trends in regional writing.
Ahirani will be represented in the festival by its fiercest advocate Dr Ramesh Suryawanshi (62). The writer of 10 books on Ahirani grammar and phraseology, he is the first to bring out its official lexicon and a pictorial Ahirani dictionary of farmers’ tools-implements in Khandesh. He asserts, “Ahirani is not an inferior variant of standard Marathi; it pre-dates Marathi. Marathi’s pending demand for a classical status can be fulfilled only when it draws from the 42 robust lifelines like Ahirani, Varhadi, Agri, Dhangari and Jhadi Boli.” His faith in Ahirani’s prowess has come out strongly in the five-odd Ahirani meets held in colourful milieus of Khandesh. The Kannad-based writer has researched extensively on the niche bolis of the Adiwasi Thakars (Aurangabad district) and the Bhils; he is currently undertaking a comparative study of Ahirani and the Gavali dialects (Melghat).
Read full article:- Mid-day