Enthused by Prime Minister Narendra Modi praising their efforts to preserve their language in the latest edition of Man Ki Baat, the Rung tribe of Dharchula in Uttarakhand has decided to hold a literature festival in January.
The Rung community resides in three valleys of Darma, Vyas and Chaundas of Dharchula sub division that lies close to the Indo-Nepal border.
"We are now going to organize a Rung Lvu literature festival in January next year," said N S Napalchyal, a former Uttarakhand chief secretary.
Lvu is a word in Rang which means language, he said.
Around 20,000 people in India and 1,000 in Nepal speak the language at present, he said.
"The prime minister has mentioned that as the year 2019 is being celebrated as international year of indigenous languages by the UN, efforts made by people of Rang society to preserve their language and script should be lauded as people aged between 22-84 years are involved in this purely people's initiative," said Napachyal, also a founding member of Rung Kalyan Sanstha, a Dharchula-based NGO working for the promotion of the community's culture.
"The efforts to preserve Rung language actually were initiated some 40 years ago when, Nandan Singh Lala, a member of Rung society from Nepal, donated Rs 1 lakh to develop the script of the language," he said.
According to people of the community involved in efforts to preserve the language, it was the foresight of their ancestors who made it compulsory to use the Rung language on every ceremony related to birth, marriage and death besides other social gatherings which has kept the language alive.
"We have been organizing a Rung festival every third year for the last 20 years in which speaking of the language is compulsory for participants. Even the curators have to speak it," Rung Kalyan Sanstha secretary Ram Singh Hyanki said.
"We are highly enthused by the prime minister lauding our efforts to preserve the language," he said.
Another Rung language enthusiast and former IPS officer Mohan Singh Bangyal said Rung Lvu has been described by linguists as a language of the Tibeto-Burmese group of languages.
"It has a vast dictionary, a grammar besides a vast preserve of proverbs, idioms and puzzles, which enhance the beauty and depth of the dialect," Bangyal said.
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