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chalni -kaLatni 27-7-18


(11 - 17 JULY 2018)

-Report by Govardanan Laguduva

Sourashtra Heritage Chair at Saurashtra University, Rajkot, Gujarat, organized a National Workshop on the Development of Sourashtri Vocabulary in collaboration with the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore, and Sourashtri Sahitya Sadas, Madurai, from 11 to 17 July 2018.


It was a confluence of three development-oriented streams with the lofty goal of compiling a host of new Sourashtri words from Sourashtri literature in addition to the extant vocabulary.


Saurashtra University, with Dr. Ravisinh Zala as coordinator of Sourashtra Heritage Chair as well as the workshop, provided the spacious venue for the workshop and the magnanimous hospitality for the resource persons and the other incumbents.


CIIL, Mysore, with Dr. L.R. Premkumar as coordinator, offered the financial assistance for the workshop.


Sourashtra Sahitya Sadas, Madurai, an organisation for promoting Sourashtri language and literary studies, roped in 26 Sourashtri experts and enthusiasts (16 of them with their spouses) from Madurai, Trichy and Tanjore to carry out the task envisioned.


The inaugural ceremony on 11 July started at the serene Vyas Seminar Hall with an invocation to “Sourashtra Maathaa” sung by the Sourashtra women from Madurai, followed by lamp-lighting by the dignitaries.


Dr. Ravisinh Zala welcomed the gathering. 


Dr. Avdesh Kumar Singh, Vice-Chancellor of Auro University in Surat, delivered the inaugural address. Briefing the centuries-long migration history of Sourashtras with immense zeal, the professor narrated the “silk-route” from Saurashtram to South India that had turned Sourashtrians into the most endeared and admired of silk-weaving experts, whichever region they settled in. Dr. A.K. Sinh all the more adored the Sourashtrian grit that had preserved the language and culture of the motherland for centuries despite multiple influences on the community in the migratory process. He felicitated his South Indian “relatives” for coming all the way to Rajkot to carry out the vocabulary- development project.


Dr. Singh also mentioned the invocation to “Jaya jaya Sourashtra maataa” as an “emotional and exhilarating” experience unprecedented in his life.


“BhaaShaa Sammaan awardee” Dr. T.R. Damodaran, in his Guest-of-Honour address enumerated the efforts of Sourashtra Sahitya Sadas to widen the Sourashtri literary studies and literacy in “our own distinct” script. He described how certificate courses had been conducted in different TN cities with prescribed texts so that both youngsters and seniors could learn to read and write in Sourashtri in a short period. He also mooted a proposal for the Saurashtra University to conduct the Sourashtri Certificate courses and the examinations too. Sourashtri Sahitya Sadas, Madurai would provide trained teachers and the candidates for these courses. Likewise, the University could conduct certificate courses in Gujarati as well in which Sourashtrian youth would participate.


Mr. Murali Rao, IRS, Customs Commissioner at Bhavnagar, Gujarat, in his special address highly admired the sincere endeavours of the Sourashtrian enthusiasts from the South to augment their mother-tongue vocabulary through the proposed workshop.


CIIL coordinator Dr. L.R. Premkumar proposed the vote of thanks.


Next the participants from Sourashtri Sahitya Sadas, Madurai, Bhasha Vruddhi Mandal, Tanjore, and CIIL, Mysore, geared up the activities. With Dr. T.R. Damodaran, Dr. L.R. Govardanan, Dr. T.S. Krishnaram, Mr. T.G. Dwaraganath, Mr. Surya Gnaneswar as coordinators, five groups of resource persons started collecting new Sourashtri words. The delegates’ spouses also attended the workshop and assisted the team members in choosing Sourashtri words and determining their meanings.


Since Gujarati lexicons with appropriate semantic equivalents were to be added to the Sourashtri vocabulary, several learned faculty members, research scholars and post-graduate students from Saurashtra University and its affiliated colleges joined hands to enlarge the vocabulary.


T.M. Ramarai’s “Valmiki Sourashtra Vachana Ramayano Samshepu” served as the basic literary work for the process of compilation. Words were selected from the book by each team under five captions: relationship words, Nature, characters and qualities (nouns), verbs, adjectives and adverbs, etc. Lexical selection by each team centred on each of these categories.


Printed cards with spaces to fill in with new items were used. On the left side, new Sourashtri words selected from the book, their phonetic scripts (Roman), followed by Tamil, Sourashtri and Devanagari scripts, along with illustrative sentences in Sourashtri were filled in. On the right side, equivalent Gujarati words, their phonetic scripts, followed by Tamil, Sourashtri and Devanagari scripts were filled in. An approximate total of 2500 words were collected thus.


The lexical additions, which continued with lots of interesting discussions and discoveries on each day till 17 July (the concluding day), were adjourned for further enhancements later.


In the Valedictory Ceremony on 17 July 2018 all the dignitaries present Dr. Nilambari Dave, Vice-Chancellor of Saurashtra University, Dr. Kamalesh Joshipura, former Vice Chancellor of the University, Mr. Kishorekumar, IPS, DIG of Andhrapradesh eulogised the Sourashtrian “brothers and sisters” from Madurai for preserving Sourashtra language and culture and for dedicating themselves to the task of vocabulary enhancement of their mother tongue. They also lauded the passionate involvement and coordination of the faculty members from various departments of Saurashtra University, the research scholars, the post graduate students and the volunteers in achieving the goal of the workshop. The National Workshop concluded with the hearty vote of thanks by Dr. Kamal Mehta, Senior Professor in the Department of English and coordinator of this historic workshop.


Enduring memories:

The unqualified feelings of friendship, regard and love all our hosts the Vice Chancellors of the past and the present, the learned faculty members, the student volunteers showered on their relatives from the South.

The wholesome hospitality provided on the Saurashtra Uniiversity campus especially with special attention to the South Indian victuals the “brothers and sisters” are so fond of.

The exhilarating weekend pilgrimage to the shrines in and around Somnath and Dwaraka along with faculty and student representatives from the university.

The warm fraternal feelings with which Prof. Zala, faculty members and students from various departments received and sent us off at Rajkot junction in their own cars.

The exciting greetings of Sourashtra Maha sabha Seva Sangam organiser Mr. Lakshmana Nagarajan and his friends at Salem junction, cheering us up with fruits and bottles of drinking water on our first day journey.


Unforgettable hours:

The 18-hour late arrival at Rajkot on the first day owing to the round about route our direct train had to take in the wake of rails flooded by rainwaters.

Lots of inconveniences and uncertainties the entire team had to face due to the cancellation of our direct return train to Madurai.

However, what if there were a few sad travelling experiences, when there were so many rich experiences on the Saurashtra University Campus?

surat, Auro University Vice chancellor Prof. Avadhesh Kumar Singh delivered in the inaugural address. Mr. Murali Rao, IRS, Customs Commissioner at Bhavnagar, Gujarat, in his special address highly admireble.
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