By: Shokoor Khan advocate
Gilgit Baltistan is the cradle of many languages and cultures. Languages spoken in Gilgit Baltistan are Shina, Balti, Brooshaaski, Wakhi, khawar etc. Brooshaaski is spoken in YASSEN (Yasin) Nagar, Hunza and some parts of Oshkandas, Danyor and Gilgit city with different accents and dialectic features. This language courted a considerable attention at international level. European, American, Canadan and Russian scholars have carried out extensive research on Brooshaaski language. DLR Lorimer, political agent in Gilgit had done research on Brooshaaski language as well as German scholar Berger who wrote, that Brooshaaski is totally different and had no resemblance with other languages spoken in the neighboring areas. He also researched on accents of Yassen, Hunza and compiled a dictionary in collaboration with (late) Allama Nasir Uddin Hunzai. According to professor Sergei Starostin, a Russian Linguist, scholar of the university of Moscow, Institute of Oriental Studies: ‘Brooshaaski language has affinities to old Chinese, Tibetan, Basque and Chechen languages’. His book: “Dene-Sino-Caucasian language” was published in Germany in 1991. A Geneva based American linguist, scholar Dr. Charles Graves writes, ‘the Ainu in northern Japan (Hokkaido) have similarities with Siberians and Burushu, indicates that their origin is Siberia and eastern Kazakhistan Balkash lake (the Caspiansea).
According to History of Iran: The Caspians or Burushu were in Kashmir in the period of 6th to 2nd century before present era. They were the indigenous tribes which held Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan, etc. Chinese called to it as Kasparia or Kashmir and it included the mountain passes of Hindukush, continued under the Burushu people until first century of our present era, including Gilgit, Hunza, Nagar,Yasin, Wakhan and adjoining Pamir plateau. Further mentioned that Burushu were the first and indigenous people in Kashmir and can be traced to 12000 years from today. Dravidian might have come to Kashmir about 2500 years before present era. Indo-Aryans, some Rajisthanies and Gujraties penetrated the Ganges planes at about 1500 years before present era. Moreover, German professor Hiltrud Herbers (Hilli) and Tiffou, a Canadian, had also published extensive research works on Brooshaaski language.
A tribe namely Burusu is living in Borneo region near Celebes sea, Indonesia, also the name of language, they speak, is “Burusu” they are only 5200 in number, their religion is Animism Especially Rituals for the dead. Ancient Burushu migrated to North America through across “Bering Straight” from Chukchi Peninsula, Siberia in Russia to Prince of Wales, Alaska, North America Bering Straight distance is only 82 kilometers. According to a report of National Geographic, Brooshaaski language has its ten thousand years back history. According to some historians, the genetic relationship of Brooshaaski to other language is not clear, hence, is a linguistic isolate. The nature and origin of Brooshaaski remains mystery still considered it an unclassified. There are numerous words in the major languages of the world i.e. Persian, Russian, English etc which are common in Brooshaaski language with the exact same meaning. It is not coincidence; rather it is the result of Burushu migration. Ancient Burushu migrated from their origin to other continents in primitive time. That is the reason that the major languages of the world and Brooshaaski language have countless common words with the exact same meaning as mentioned above.
Few scholars of GB have done rare as well as scholars of neighboring states are still silent. One Mohd Wazir Shafi advocate, a Yassen native has written a booklet on Brooshaaski grammar in Yassene dialect. An exhaustive, significant work, has been done by Abdul Hamid Khan of Yassen. A book compiled by him consists cultural, traditional and linguistic work. He also included thousands of Brooshaaski words and sentences with Urdu and English meanings, as such, can be considered as the first dictionary of Brooshaaski into english and Urdu in Yassen dialect. Unfortunately, the first addition has been confiscated by police under the directives of federal government of Pakistan and its revised addition again has been seized by GB police on behest of secret agencies of Pakistan. The person in possession of books, the publisher and all concern have been booked under criminal charges and now are prisoners in central jail Gilgit. This was the only research based multipurpose work on accent, dialect, vocabulary, tradition, horticulture and folklore of Burushu dynasty of Yassen. A Brooshaaski dictionary of the same author/compiler, is in pipe line and script is ready for publishing while police also ready again for its confiscation. The person, in possession of dictionary, if arrests by police, definitely would face sedition and ATA charges and ultimately he goes behind the bar. In such circumstances, no one of GB native dare to publish, distribute, sale or transfer Brooshaaski dictionary to indigenous Burushu people, who have still nothing to study in their access regarding their own language! are most deprived people, of backward, ignored region, have been deprived again of their only book.
Let us to see that what sort of matter this confiscated book contains, is the issue of importance to be adhered. This is a dictionary including some historical and linguistic research on Brooshaaski language, like other common books, available everywhere in book shops, nothing else, but, what about the author/compiler Abdul Hamid Khan, it makes a sense. Author, is an activist, a nationalist from Yassen (Yasin) valley, has been living abroad since 1999 and working for the rights of the politically reprieved people of Gilgit Baltistan for a long period of 29 years. According to the Pakistani stance, his political struggle whatsoever, is against the interest of Pakistan. That is way, the book and its revised addition both have been seized by the government. If anyone is involved in criminal activities, and offence proved against, must be punished. Maintaining of law and order is an essential requirement for GB people, being a sensitive area of the region. But a fair hearing should be given. The significance of ensuring adequate measures for access to justice to all suspects cannot be emphasized enough. Anyone violating any law must be afforded full due process rights. A book which contains only historical and cultural matter and vocabulary shouldn’t be seized by administration while there is still nothing alternate on the subject regarding history, linguistics, and vocabulary of Burushu race. This book is the need of time, for intellectuals, students, for educational institutions and for everyone who himself is Burushu or has some relation or interest with Burushu tribes their region, culture or language.
There is no apprehension of chaos or unrest situation in GB due to a book totally neither political nor controversial? This foul action of local police doesn’t make a sense. Nearly four lac Brooshaaski speakers of GB have no sufficient material in printed shape which could enhance their historical knowledge, traditional values or vocabulary of their language. Hence, this isolate language indeed is now seriously endangering.
GB government and its police is under command and control of federal government of Pakistan and the secret agencies of federal government, functioning in GB, are unruly horse and beyond the law. The investigation and prosecution branch teams have probably mis-leaded the courts during their briefing regarding impounded books, as saying falsely, without showing, the relevant controversial part if any, that such books contain subversive matter. It is the duty of courts to inspect properly the case property, and to determine that whether such books, seized by police, contains any subversive matter or otherwise. In the light of the ongoing circumstances, as stated above, the trial courts may require to inquire into and check properly also the list of prohibited items, liable to be seized. The matter in controversial, impounded by the police (the book aforementioned) is liable to be seized (if illegal) or not so, if not violated of any existing law of the land or such kind of books are not in list of prohibited items, courts may not hesitate to issue an order of releasing such books before spoilage and fell into decay.
Yassen(Yasin) is a far flung valley of high altitude in the Hindukush range, located extreme North of GB, adjacent to Broghol and Yarkhun valleys of district Chitral KPK and near to Wakhan corridor (little Pamir) of Afghanistan and Great Pamir of Tajikistan. People have limited sources of income. How they could launch a research work to enhance and develop their culture and language. People have expectations that government to come forward to support every aspect, for economic, social, traditional, cultural, educational, infrastructural developments and so on. Despite, supporting, if government comes forward to confiscating their own creative endeavors of the poor tribesmen, is regretful. The only elected member of Yassen for GBLA, is the only representative of PTI in GB, hence, being opposition member in provincial assembly has no influence while the PMLN being ruling party of GB, pays no heed on this constituency rather it prefer to work in constituencies of its own elected members.
A precise gist hereby given, as the Book name is “YASENE Brooshaaski” means a Brooshaaski book of Yassen dialect, published by D.J Mathal, a prominent journalist and editor-in-chief of daily Bang-e-Sahar and weekly Bang (English). He is a Yassen GB native, (both newspapers are still banned and the publisher himself is behind the bar due to publishing newspapers, his cultural and linguistic work for Burushu people through a Brooshaaski book aforementioned. The book has been inaugurated in degree college Yassen in the presence of an overcrowded people consisting chosen notables of Yassen valley whereby nearly all of the prominent figures, social, political leaders were in attendance as audience as well as speakers. The author of book requested to the speakers not to speak on topic of religion or politics, but to speak only on culture, tradition and Brooshaaski language. Request appreciated and accepted by the audience and speakers throughout the programme. The situation was thrilling and the audience were overjoying and enthusiastic. The author has been appreciated unanimously on his glorious endeavor toward their language, culture and tradition.
I, myself readout this book as a whole, thoroughly and revisited time and again to find out some political text material whatsoever but found nothing except research based works, e.g. articles on ancient Burushu religion, their origin, culture, tradition and mostly linguistic works written by Doctor Abdul Majeed Khan, similarly, an exhaustive article on Brushu people by Doctor Charles Graves, an American scholar and some essays on rituals of Brushu by native scholar Doctor Faiz Aman. Book contains Some grammar, vocabulary and countless pictures of natural beauty of Yassen valley, as highland meadows on planet. nothing else.
A prominent scholar, author, writer of Baltistan Shakir Shamim said: the efforts made by Abdul Hamid Khan is a first and effective step. I hope he will continue to enrich the GB literature being a pushing and intelligent personality of the region whose services are unparalleled. 2. Abdul Hamid Khan, the author of Yassen Brooshaaski is a native Brooshaaski speaker, his endeavors towards Brooshaaski linguistic works on the subject and his intention to enriching native tongue is highly appreciable. Sher Baz Ali Barcha. 3.This book should be in all university language department libraries, since the content is so real, genuine, and well presented. Tourists going to Yassen can be helped popular vocabulary, camera shots of picturesque mountains, valleys wildlife and especially valuable for language scholars, being multipurpose. Doctor Charles Graves. An American scholar.
To realizing the evil intention of some elements and their vested interests, I remembered the historical barbarism of in 1258 AD of the Mongol emperor Halaku Khan and one of his advisor,his asset Al-Alqami, a Muslim foul traitor, same time as minister of khalifa Al-Mansoor being native and advisor of Khalifa Mansoor, acted as spy against khalifa of Baghdad and paved the way to Mongol invasion, as a result, the Mongols invaded into and destroyed Baghdad, the huge library, the great wisdom, the countless treasure of knowledge has been inflamed. The remaining books and the ashes of books flung to the Tigris river. The water of Tigris got blacken due to the ashes and the ink of the precious books, later on, the river again got reddish due to the blood of the great philosophers and the writers of manuscripts and books of that era. As a result, the magnificent hallmark development in knowledge of the great Muslims of Baghdad, after their climax, they again descended back into the dark age.
What has been written above, is that a creative work must be encouraged, should not destroyed, nevertheless, who is the creature of it! if that is a beneficial to a society. We are using the advance technology, which mostly has been invented by Jews and Christians, then why we creating hurdles to the creative work of our own brethren, through one pretext or the other. I request to the literary societies of Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistan, the members of the writer forms, intellectuals, civil societies, students, the lawyers, especially advocate brethren who are members of GB Bar Council as well as their respective Bar Associations and the readers, please come forward and to act for the preservation of the literary work of the isolate, the orphan language, being at the mercy of aliens, is really endanger.