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Protest against fee hike at HPU Summerhill 24 june 2014

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Protest of HPU students under the banner of SCA at HP University against fee hike….

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Himachal Records 16 COVID-19 Deaths Including a 16-Year-Old – Highest in a Day This Year

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COVID-19 update himachal pradesh april 20

Shimla-The fatality rate due to the COVID-19 spread is witnessing a sharp increase in Himachal Pradesh. Yesterday, the state had reported 13 COVID-19 deaths, but today the fatalities rose to 16 in a day. A total of 1340 new cases were recorded today till 7 pm. Kangra district reported the highest six deaths, followed by Shimla (4), and Una (3).

Find more details about the deceased below:

Highest covid 19 deaths in himachal pradesh

The infection claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl in Una district. According to the state health department’s official report, she developed severe pneumonia and was a patient of Diabetes Mellitus Type-1. Other deceased aged between 36-78 years.

Earlier today, the Deputy Commissioner of Una, Raghav Sharma, had issued orders to keep markets/shops closed on Sundays and issued timings for the remaining days. A prohibition was imposed on all sorts of events and social gatherings. The orders would come into effect from April 22, 2021.

Also Read: Himachal: Govt Announces More Restrictive Measures, DC Una Closes Shops on Sundays, Issues Timing for Other Days

Further, Chief Minister Jairam today announced more restrictive measures as an attempt to contain the spread (Watch Video Below).

Solan district reported the highest 265 cases, followed by Una (173), Shimla (164) and Sirmaur (155).

Find more district-wise details below:

Himachal pradesh daily covid-19 report april 20

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Himachal: Govt Announces More Restrictive Measures, DC Una Closes Shops on Sundays, Issues Timing for Other Days

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hp govt's new restrictions in himachal pradesh

Una-Deputy Commissioner of Una district, Raghav Sharma, has issued an order for the imposition of new restrictive measures from April 22, 2021, in wake of the ongoing spike in COVID-19 cases and fatalities in the district. The DC also expressed fear of community spread and ordered that markets would remain closed on Sundays in both rural and urban areas of the district.

However, these orders would not apply to drug stores, hotels, dhabas, and restaurants. Further, shops selling dairy, vegetables, fruits and meat would also remain open on Sundays from 7 am to 8 pm. Saloons and barber shops would also be allowed to operate on Sunday between 9 am to 6 pm.

All shops would remain open from Monday to Saturday within the given time period, which is 7 am to 8 pm for fruit, vegetable, meat, and dairy shops, and 9 am to 6 pm for saloons/barber shops, and 9 am to 6 pm for remaining shops.

Also Read: With Neighboring States Going to Curfew, Himachal’s Tourism Sector Again Comes to a Halt

A prohibition has been imposed on the organization of all sort of cultural, religious, political, sports and other gatherings in the district. For attending marriages and funerals, the permission of the district administration would be required.

Today, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur also told the media that the number of people allowed in social gatherings, like marriages, has been reduced to 50 for both indoors and outdoors.

For government employees, working days have been reduced to five days a week and staff capacity to 50 percent. Public transport would operate with only 50 percent capacity.

For marriages or any sort of other social, cultural, political events, prior permission of one week would have to be obtained by applying online at the official portal.

The inter-state transport would remain operational, the government said. People returning from high load states were advised to carry COVID-19 negative reports and obey home-quarantine rules strictly.

Orders for Government Employees from Department of Personnel

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2021 Census in England and The Quest of Pahari Speaking People to Preserve Their Linguistic Heritage

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Western pahari language

By- Vishal Sharma who holds an LL.M. in Legal & Political Aspects of International Affairs from Cardiff University (UK). He is currently working under Dr. Serena Hussain as a Visiting Researcher at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University (UK).

This piece has been published in collaboration with The Wire.

Pahari (Western Pahari) surprisingly is one of the largest minority languages in the United Kingdom. Close to a million people living in the country speak dialects of the language which is mostly  spoken in parts of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir as well as the areas of bordering Pakistan, which together lead to the formation of the Western Pahari Belt. The recent efforts of the Pahari speaking people of England to have this significant community language recognised in the UK, through encouraging people to state their language as Pahari in the national census, deserves praise and the people of the entire Western Pahari Belt, especially Himachal Pradesh, can also learn from this move in order to preserve our linguistic heritage.

Western Pahari Language System

Western Pahari was classified as a language category by renowned linguist Sir George Abraham Grierson for languages spoken in what can be referred to as the Western Pahari Belt, which includes parts of present day Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and areas of Pakistan. Due to migration, the language is also spoken in the United Kingdom. Western Pahari dialects were written mostly in the Tankri script before the 19th century, but now uses multiple scripts. Its written form is said to have originated in Sharda. Dialects of Western Pahari include Pahari-Pothwari, Mirpuri, Poonchi, Hindko, Gaddki, Chambeali, Kangri, Mandeali, Kulluvi, Bilaspuri, Mahasu Pahari and many others. 

Pahari speaking people of the United Kingdom

Dialects of Pahari (Western Pahari) are spoken by nearly a million people living in the United Kingdom, which is reported to be the second most spoken mother tongue in the UK after English.  The Pahari speakers of the United Kingdom mostly comprise of people who originated from the Mirpur District of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir princely state, currently administered by Pakistan. They started settling in Britain in the 1960s, transferring their workmanship on British merchant navy ships to the industrial needs of the growing British economy. The migration fast-tracked after the construction of the Mangla Dam in 1966, in the Mirpur district due to which massive flooding left many villages submerged, leading to the displacement of over 100,000 people. Simultaneously, Britain was experiencing an acute labour shortage in many sectors due to the aftermath of World War II, and thus visas were offered to those who would fill positions. Many of the displaced Mirpuri Paharis travelled to England for work, having already established links during the days of the Merchant Navy. They would, generally, travel back and forth to their homeland every few years or so. However, because of stricter immigration laws, their families joined them in the UK and both the opportunity and necessity to travel was decreased as children commenced schooling and communities became more established. As a result, by the end of the 1970s it became common for Mirpuri Paharis to be settled in the UK, leading to a massive increase in the number of people from the community living in the United Kingdom. Today, their population stands at 1 million with many members of this Pahari community serving in influential positions of the country.

Preservation of Pahari language in the United Kingdom and the 2021 Census

The Pahari speaking people of the United Kingdom have worked for years on the preservation and promotion of the Pahari language in the country, which has also resulted in a number of a lot of language initiatives including, the Alami Pahari Adabi Sangat, established by Adalat Ali, a well-known Pahari writer; and scholarly studies on the sociological and linguistic aspects concerning the Pahari language, such as the works produced by British academicians like Dr Serena Hussain and Dr Farah Nazir. Also, organisations like Portmir Heritage Foundation which was founded by Reiss Haider have come up aiming to preserve the cultural heritage of British Paharis. Furthermore, numerous social media influencers like Ruksar Naaz known for her Award-winning YouTube Channel Browngirl problems1 , and Tehseen who runs the Tik Tok and YouTube favourite the Nana G Show have also worked on promoting the language through Pahari language content.

However, the current 2021 Census has taken the efforts of the Pahari speaking people in the United Kingdom to an all-new level. Taking place every 10 years, people in England are currently filling in the census forms, which will be mainly online for the first time since it started in 1801. The Census asks questions on topics such as a person’s age, ethnicity, language, occupation, and relationship status. In that connection the Pahari community is seeing this Census as a golden opportunity for them to make their voices heard concerning the preservation, promotion and who knows a possible official recognition of their Pahari (Western Pahari) language.

Online campaigns are being run to create awareness amongst the community especially youngsters who mostly have no clue upon as to what name shall be given to the language they speak with their parents and family members on a day-to-day basis. British Pahari social media influencers are also creating videos to raise awareness on the issue and are being well received by especially the younger second and third generation individuals who were born and brought up in the United Kingdom. Videos from  TikTok star Wafa Hussain (whose real name is Taiba) and The Nana G show, asking people to mark their language as Pahari in the Census form were trending all across the United Kingdom and are being well received.

In this connection, I had the opportunity to talk to an individual who is at the realm of affairs in all of this, British academician Dr. Serena Hussain under whom I am also working as a Visiting Researcher in the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University. She is actively involved with the 2021 Census through a research funded project by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Dr Serena is one of the leading experts on the National Census, a topic on which she completed her PhD, therefore she is fully aware of its importance for identity and language recognition.  She gives an insight on what this is all about, “The Census is one of the most important ways that any community can gain recognition. Even if a category isn’t listed on a Census form there is an option to select ‘Other’ and write in the identity or language you want to be recognised by. One thing we know about the Census is that it’s usually a benchmark for all official government data collection exercises, so in other words, if a category gains recognition on a Census form, that category will make its way into other forms as well.

Dr. Serena Hussain

Dr. Serena Hussain

My research confirmed that Pahari is still very much alive in the UK, it’s one of the largest minority languages and the fact that young, British born people are speaking it after three generations, shows us that it is something which our community takes in pride and enjoys. They identified very strongly with their mother tongue, but also on a practical level, they discussed how it is important for Pahari to gain recognition.A million speakers are not insignificant, and we require interpreters for our growing elderly population in the UK, so that they are able to obtain the services and help they need, as many of them still only speak Pahari.”

How this effort of British Paharis can be of help to Paharis of J&K and HP

Pahari speakers of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh could do something very similar to what the Pahari speakers of United Kingdom have done, as a census like the one currently happening in England is about to take place in India this year which could also be online. In the recent years nothing significant has happened in Himachal Pradesh and J&K concerning the promotion of the Pahari language.

The Pahari language was removed from the list of official languages of J&K by the Indian government recently, after it was made into a Union Territory in August 2019. This was damaging for the Pahari community in J&K, who have asked for Pahari to regain its official language status. On the other hand, the people of Himachal Pradesh have been waiting patiently for Pahari to be officially recognised by the Indian government, under the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution. A resolution was in fact passed in December 1970, by the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly declaring Pahari as the language of the state, but nothing has happened since then. Thus, the people of J&K and Himachal Pradesh could do something similar to what British Paharis are; especially Himachal Pradesh as the dialects of the language system are spoken within most areas of the province and according to the 2011 Census, the populations of nine out of the twelve districts reported their mother tongue as dialects of Western Pahari. Districts like Kangra, Chamba, Mandi, Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Kullu, Shimla, Sirmaur, Solan, listed their dialects as Kangri Pahari, Chambeali, Mandeali, Bilaspuri, Kulvi, Mahasu Pahari and Sirmauri.

All this leads us to the fact that Pahari speaking people of Himachal Pradesh especially the academicians, poets, musicians and social media influencers can work towards the promotion and preservation of the language. Pahari social media influencers can be of a lot of help in this and can do a similar job like that of British Pahari influencers. YouTube channels can follow in the footsteps of  Kangra Girls, Kangra Boys and HI RAI, which are very popular and are loved by the youth of the province. This can help Pahari linguistic heritage in Himachal Pradesh to be preserved and a combined campaign centred around requesting individuals to mark their language as Pahari in the 2021 Census of India, which if successful, can even result in achieving the long-term goal of getting the language recognised under the 8th Schedule, which people across the political spectrum have mooted in the past decades. This would also fulfil the dream of the founding fathers of Himachal Pradesh like Dr YS Parmar and Dr Narain Chand Parashar, who always supported the promotion and preservation of the Pahari language, which later Chief Ministers like Dr Prem Kumar Dhumal and Virbhadra Singh also endorsed in some way or form.

In conclusion, the fate of the Pahari language in the United Kingdom, India and Pakistan is still unknown, but the efforts of Pahari speaking people in the United Kingdom needs to be cherished as they are doing substantially more than the people of the other Western Pahari speaking areas in the current times. Such active efforts should be prioritised in J&K and Himachal Pradesh also, as recognition of community languages is even more important in today’s India, where there is little official support for minority language empowerment movements.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Himachal Watcher or its members.

 

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