Resuscitating dying Kusunda languageGyanimaya Kusunda and her sister Kamala Kusunda, who are among the handful of people who can still speak their native language in its original form, were delighted to see a group of people from their community learning their language in a classroom of Aadarsha Secondary School in Lamahi, Dang, on Thursday.
Gyanimaya Kusunda and her sister Kamala Kusunda, who are among the handful of people who can still speak their native language in its original form, were delighted to see a group of people from their community learning their language in a classroom of Aadarsha Secondary School in Lamahi, Dang, on Thursday.
The class, which will be held regularly from now onwards, was organised by the Language Commission in a bid to preserve the dying Kusunda language. The commission has assigned 80-year-old Gyanimaya and 43-year-old Kamala as the resource persons for the language class.
Lav Dev Awasthi, chairman of the commission, said the Kusunda sisters will each get Rs 3,000 monthly allowance for their support to the class.
Uday Raj Aaley, an author and researcher of Kusunda language, has been appointed as the facilitator and the language teacher.
The 360-hour long class will be conducted in four phases.
“Each phase has 90-hour class. One will be able to speak Kusunda language perfectly after completing the four parts of the course,” Awasthi said.
At the moment, 20 people from the Kusunda community are taking the language course, but Awasthi said the class was open to anyone who wanted to learn the language.
According to Aaley, the students enrolled in the class to learn the Kusunda language range from children to adults.
“Everyone of them seems excited to learn the language. By running these classes, we hope our endeavour to preserve the Kusunda language will succeed,” said Aaley, the author of “Kusunda Jaati ra Sabdakosh”, the book that details the history, language, cultures and traditions of the Kusunda tribe.
Gyanumaya shared a similar optimism as Aaley.
“Our language will survive if many people were to learn it,” she said.
The number of Kusunda language speakers is said to have dwindled to the point of extinction due to lack of integrated settlement. “The Kusunda people are scattered in various parts of the country. When you have no one in your neighbourhood and community to speak your native language, it is only natural for your native dialect to go extinct,” said Dhan Bahadur Kusunda, the chairman of Kusunda Development Society.
The Kusunda people have been found to be residing in Gorkha, Arghakhachi, Pyuthan, Rolpa, Dang, and Surkhet districts, among others. Their population number, according to the 2011 census, is 273, while Aaley’s 2017 book puts the number at 150.