Dictionary, booklets of tribal dialect now a reality

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 Nov 2017 10:24:58


By Partha Sarathi Behera,


The ground-breaking work done by the TRTI has earned Chhattisgarh distinction of being the first state to come out with dictionaries of tribal dialects

Significance is that separate dictionaries have been published for separate tribal dialects

While the rest of the ethnological groups /states in India were pondering over how they can make effective use of their tribal dialects and preserve it by publishing dictionaries of these languages, Chhattisgarh has become the first state of the country to do so. Another significant achievement made by the state is that it has published separate dictionaries for separate tribal languages, thanks to the ground-breaking work done by the Tribal Research and Training Institute (TRTI) of Chhattisgarh government. So far, the TRTI has published five Hindi-Tribal language dictionaries and dictionaries of the remaining two languages were in the making, said TRTI Deputy Director G M Jha.

“It looks easy, but not that exactly. The team of TRTI, including Research Assistant Dr Anil Varulkar and others, had to reach every individuals of Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) living in dense forest and remote corners of the State,” said Jha. The tribals covered under the research, held twice in 2005-06 and 2015-16, are Kamar, Baiga, Abujhmadia, Birhor and Pahadi Korba, Jha said.
The main objective of publishing dictionaries of the tribal languages is to make state government’s plan to introduce tribal language in primary education possible and help government schemes meant for tribals get effectively implemented.

Moreover, the dictionaries can help officials, employees of lower rung and security personnel combating naxalism to communicate with the tribals in their local dialect. The advantage of communicating in local dialect is that the innocent tribals can be prevented from being diverted by the naxals who usually use local dialect to brainwash, said Jha.

“We have forwarded CD, photographs of the anthropological study on tribals of Chhattisgarh and dictionary to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi, so that any other agency/organisation can be prevented from indulging in mischievous act,” said Jha.

“Kudukh Boli Vartalap Sankshepika (booklet on Kudukh conversation), Hindi-Parja Dictionary, Hindi-Bhatri Vartalap Sankshepika (booklet on Hindi-Bhatri Conversation), Hindi-Halbi Dictionary and Hindi-Bhatri-Dictionary have been
compiled and sent to the Central government. A total of eight dictionaries will be prepared. The remaining dictionaries to be published are Sadri dialect, Hindi-Gondi dictionary, Hindi-Gondi conversation booklet, Parja conversation booklet and Hindi Dorli dictionary,” said Jha.
Dictionaries of tribal dialects, Halwi, Kuruk, Bhatri, Gondi and Parja have been brought out recently. “We are also in process to come up with dictionaries in several other tribal dialects in a few months as field work in the area is almost over,” Jha revealed.

Tribal dialects spoken in day-to-day life are mentioned in the dictionaries, he added.
All the three regional offices of TRTI at Jagdalpur, headquarters of Bastar, Ambikapur, divisional headquarters of Sarguja and Bilashpur in Chhattisgarh are contributing to the compilation of spoken tribal languages in their respective regions.

Retired tribal teachers and government officials have also been roped in to come out with best dictionaries. Other objectives behind bringing out tribal dialect dictionaries was to preserve tribal language and culture by passing on the dialects to the current and the next generation of tribals. The move will also help save many endangered tribal dialects from extinction.

Chhattisgarh is home to 46 different tribes. At least three tribal languages such as Binjwari spoken by Binjwar tribes, Kharwari spoken by Kharwar adivasis and Kamari language of Kamar tribe have almost disappeared.