Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Magpie

The Bactrian Magpie is a local bird that chatters when agitated. It was also the name of a weekly newsletter that was the closest thing Ladakh had to a newspaper, till it was discontinued a few months ago.

Here is the kind of news item it might have carried if it were still in print.

December 20, 2007.
Ladakhis Demand Official Status for their Language

Last Thursday, several thousand Ladakhis staged a demonstration in the city of Jammu to demand that Ladakhi be added to the list of official Indian languages. Dressed in traditional costumes, over 2,000 people, carrying placards and flags, shouted that Ladakhi, also called Bhoti or Bhodi, should be included on the eighth schedule of the Indian national constitution, which lists the 18 official languages of India.

....Bhoti is an archaic form of Tibetan, and while it is not normally understood by the people of Tibet, its dialects are mutually understood by people in Leh, Kargil, Zangskar, and other regions of Ladakh—and to some extent beyond. According to Rizvi, scholars have been trying to develop a written form of Bhoti to correspond to colloquial Ladakhi, but as yet, the written form of the language is still Tibetan.

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