Fifteen years after Dogri was included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, it has found place on the signboards of the Jammu railway station.
Dogri, which is the mother-tongue of people in Jammu, was given the status of official language by the Centre in 2003 by including it in the Eighth Schedule. Dogri was the 22nd Indian language to be given such recognition.
The signposts at the railway station with ‘Jammu Tawi’ written in Dogri script has triggered enthusiasm among particularly the youngsters who were in large numbers sharing it on the social media.
This is for the first time that any government organisation has used the Dogri script.
The then Dogra ruler, Maharaja Ranbir Singh had introduced the modified Dogri script and in 1884 AD the first book in Dogri alphabets was published.
However, over the years, the modern times Dogri writers adopted the Devanagari script for penning the literature as a result of which the ancient Dogri script went into oblivion.
The movement for recognition of Dogri was launched in 1960s when some lovers of the language raised their voice for this purpose. Dharam Chandra Prashant, a journalist and Dogri writer, gave push to the demand when he was elected a member of the Rajya Sabha where he kept raising the issue.
In the meantime, historian and journalist BP Sharma through his strenuous efforts dished out of the state archives pages of the ancient script of Dogri. This came helpful when these documents were produced before the Parliamentary Committee and the Home Ministry for proving that Dogri was an ancient script and language and as such it deserved to be included in the Eighth Schedule.
Although the language has been given recognition at the central level, but there were allegations of the Jammu and Kashmir government giving it “step-motherly” treatment. Adequate steps were not being taken to teach the language at the school and college levels.
Some positive steps were taken when Naeem Akhtar was education minister of the state, but things returned to the square one when the portfolio was given to some other minister by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.