Organization - Bhasha Research and Publication Centre

Bhasha Research and Publication Centre
Basic Information
English Bhasha Research and Publication Centre
Local language Bhasha Sanshodhan Prakashan Kendra
Country India
Category UNESCO-Accredited NGO
Domain Oral Traditions and Expressions
Performing Arts
Social Practices, Rituals and Festive Events
Knowledge and Practices Concerning Nature and the Universe
Traditional Craftsmanship
Function Research
Documentation
Established year 1996
Objectives

Bhasha is established with the following key objectives:

  • to undertake Study and Promotion of Indian languages, literature, culture and arts,
  • to create awareness among citizens for the preservation of tribal languages, art-practices and imaginative life of tribal communities in India
  • to establish a campus for creating an institution for promotion of tribal languages, literature, arts and culture with a view to initiating formal education in the area of conservation of tribal imagination.
  • To undertake documentation of linguistic, literary and artistic heritage of adivasi communities in India and to publish documented materials
  • To establish a national institution for the promotion of adivasi languages, literature, arts and culture with a view to initiating formal education in the area of conservation of Adivasi imagination
  • To undertake activities related to social and economic development of adivasi
  • To collaborate with national academies of art and literature and research institutions engaged in the area of Adivasi related imaginative activity for the purpose of undertaking or encouraging research in adivasi art and literature
Introduction

‘Bhasha Centre’ is a voluntary organisation established in April 1996. ‘bhasha’ which stands for ‘voice’ or ‘expression’ , works for safeguarding marginalized languages and cultural diversity. Bhasa’s special interest has been the adivasis and the nomadic denotified communities. It is engaged in bringing a greater appreciation of the cultures of these two social sectors and ensuring their entitlement to constitutional gurantees and cultural dignity.

Bhasha’s work area include promotion of non-scheduled languages, study and conservation of adivasi imaginative expressions, education, healthcare and empowerment of adivasi  communities, protection of human rights of the Denotified and Nomadic Tribes ( DNTs) and policy level interventions in the interest of diversity,rights and empowerment. To overcome this huge challenge the Centre strives to reduce economic deprivation as well as changing social attitudes beset with stereotypes.

Bhasa encourages the pursuit of both lines of action for social transformation and self-reliance by nurturing the energy and imagination of the adivasis. The organisation’s work in the areas of languages and culture is spread across India while its social interventions are primarily based in Gujarat.

The Centre has both a national network of community representatives, scholars, writers, artists spread across all States and Union Territories of India and an international network of indigenous scholars, writers and artists from across 30 countries across the globe. ‘Bhasha Centre’ believes in creating social leadership and more than eighty percent of its staff belongs to adivasi communities.

Major Activities

Bhasha has created the Adivasi Academy for education, research and extension work, several Community Based Organisations for development work and the Budhan Theatre as a platform for creative expression of nomadic communities. In recent years, Bhasha has extended the scope of its language and cultural activities to cover other ethnic communities through initiatives such as the People’s Linguistic Survey of India and Community Ethnography. Bhasha has also initiated work towards a Global Language Status Report. The details of the activities are given below.

Peoples’ Linguistic Survey of India

Bhasha,  already working for the promotion of Adivasi languages and successful in revitalizing the Bhili group of languages, decided to intervene to slow down and reverse the process of language endangerment. Since there was lack of clarity on how many languages are actually spoken in India, Bhasha decided to undertake a nationwide survey of the living languages in the country. Titled as the Peoples Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI), this is the first national survey of languages in post-Independence India.

It encompasses people’s perception of their speech varieties and covers communities across all States and Union Territories. The survey was conceptualized and led by Prof. G. N. Devy, the Chairman of the PLSI series. Following the survey, the Central Government has started several new initiatives for protection of Non Scheduled Languages.

Adivasi Academy

The Adivasi Academy is conceived as a people’s institution, devoted to developing tribal studies as an academic discipline and social action field. Bhasha chose Tejgadh, an Adivasi village on the borders of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, for locating the institute. The Adivasi Academy is unique in that it combines direct contact with adivasi villages as well as a continuous dialogue with the best minds in India and other countries. The Adivasi Academy designed innovative study programmes between the years 2000 and 2011 in areas of Museum and Culture Studies, Sustainable Development, Well-being and Healthcare, Languages and Oral Traditions and Publishing for under-graduate and post-graduate students.

The Academy has a Multilingual Training Centre, Vasantshala, for out-of-school Adivasi children on its campus. It has designed a context-based curriculum for Adivasi children that has helped to retain children in school and facilitates their complete schooling. The Academy runs learning centres in villages for ‘pushed out’ children and has over the years integrated over 15,000 children to government schools.

Adivasi Academy – Vaacha

Known as Vaacha Vaacha’, denoting ‘voice’, the Museum at the Adivasi Academy is a space for expression of Adivasi imagination and creativity. Bhasha has prepared for the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, the National Consortium of Tribal Arts and Culture, which connects through the use of digital technology and multimedia, the collections of eighteen Tribal Museums through films, photographs, songs and stories reflecting the richness and diversity of adivasi life.

Vaacha has embarked upon an open-source Visual Archive collection of lectures, videos and nearly 40,000 photographs, of and by Adivasis, providing a glimpse of adivasi life and society in transition. Over the years the Vaacha has put together digital documentation of performative practices of over 140 Adivasi and nomadic communities Bhasha’s publication unit has published a hundred titles including little magazines, books and journals in 32 adivasi languages. Vaacha has a craft outlet promoting the artwork of adivasi artisans.

Most significantly, Vaacha is preparing a National Digital Corpus of Adivasi Music. Already, the adivasi music of Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Assam is documented and the corpus is being extended to cover music of other states.

Bhasha has instituted the annual Kaleshwari Mela at Kaleshwari at Panchmahals. Held every Mahashivratri, this lok mela brings together 12000 nomadic and adivasi artists from Gujarat and the neighbouring states in a visual spectacle of traditional theatre, songs, music, dance, epic narratives and acrobatics.

Bhasha Van

In celebration of the survival and struggle of these languages of India, the Adivasi Academy has created on its campus, a special area designated to be known as Bhasha Van.

Bhasha Van, a walkway lined with trees, is equipped with specially prepared audio tour that helps visitors journey through this one of a kind experience. The audio tour allows visitors to engage with India’s linguistic diversity through audible language samples in the form of songs, poems, folktales, sayings and jokes drawn from different languages of India.

‘Bhasha’ thus combines research with social interventions and grassroots activities with policy making.

Contact Information (Organization)
Website
Address 37 Shreenathdham Duplex, Opp. Shrinagar Society, Behind Dinesh Mill, Vadodara 390007, Gujarat
Tel +91 265 2331968, 2359059
Fax +91 265 2359059
E-mail bhasharesearch@gmail.com

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