Himachal HC rejects plea to declare Pahari as state’s official language
The Himachal Pradesh high court has rejected a public interest litigation seeking a direction to the state government to declare Pahari (Himachali) as one of the state’s official languages on the ground that it lacks its own script and the dialect differs from one district to another and even within a district.
In its November 8 order on the PIL by Jwalamukhi resident Arsh Dhanotia, the division bench, comprising chief justice Mohammad Rafiq and justice Sabina, observed that such directions cannot be issued to the state government until it is established on record that Pahari (Himachali) language has its own script and that a common Pahari dialect is spoken throughout the state.
The petitioner urged the court to direct the government to promote research towards a long-term formal Pahari nuclear language structure and Tankri script to promote local languages as the medium of instruction in primary and middle schools, according to the New Education Policy, 2020.
He sought to include Pahari as a separate category for the 2021 Census and simultaneously undertake a campaign to create awareness among the masses, particularly the youth, to get Pahari marked as their mother tongue in the Census.
The court said that in response to the query, the counsel for the petitioner did not dispute that Pahari dialect differs from area to area.
Advocate general Ashok Sharma also submitted that not only would the Pahari dialects differ from one district to another but even in a single district.
“We, however, set the petitioner at liberty to approach the department of language art and culture with his demand for undertaking research to promote a common Pahari nuclear language structure and Tankri script,” said the court.
It would be for the authority concerned to consider the same in accordance with law, it added.