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Gujjars urge to safeguard their fast-vanishing folklore, tribal traditions

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Jammu, May 19: Stressing that broad-based initiatives are required to document the dying tribal traditions includes fast-vanishing Folk-lore and oral traditions– the members of Gujjar-Bakerwals tribe today demanded urgent steps for preservation of the folk-literature , oral history and old culture of Gujjars by using printing, digital video, audio and photography as a precious tools.

In a statement issued here, they stated that it should be done on priority as the nomadic heritage of their community is vanishing rapidly under impact of globalization.

“In a programme organised by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation-on “Oral Traditions of Tribal and Nomadic Communities of Jammu and Kashmir” the members of the community demanded global access to centuries old tradition of Gujjars,” reads the statement.

“Noted tribal researcher Dr. Javaid Rahi who presided over the programme stated that the untouched and threatened shades and aspects of Oral tradition includes Oral History must be documented on priority. He said that the oral-lore about different areas, religious places, rivers, mountains, artifacts, kings and rulers, myths, legends, knowledge about livestock, animals, birds, water, creatures and others requires thorough studies, dissemination and preservation,” the statement said.

“He impressed upon the tribal scholars to work jointly for preservation, documentation and making of indexes and to share all preservations with rest of the world through internet taking advantage of online technology to create a collaborative record that people will want to contribute to,” it added.

Speakers of the programme hoped that in first step we have reach out at “crowd-source” information from all sides available in Gojri including folk tales, songs, myths, oral-lore and other traditions and other vocabulary.

They said we have last a huge treasure of our heritage and oral lore but now it’s a time to act fast. “A big part of our rich heritage is at the verge of extinction due to globalisation, rapid social and economic change, it needs urgent preservation and propagation at all levels” they added.

The speakers express urgent need to document and make accessible these spoken traditions of tribal and nomadic communities before they are lost without record.

The member of the community pleaded that the State Government and civil society should think optimistically towards the issues of tribal development.

Those who spoke on the occasion, includes Ishtiaq Misbah, Khadam  Hussain, Din  Mohammad , Mohammad Shrief Khaki , Wazir  Mohammad Banya, Shabnum Rafeeq Bajran, Ali Hussain Khatana, Bashir Bajad, Haneef Lodha and others.

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