Saturday, March 22, 2014

Indian Languages - Khasi

Khasi (khaa-see) is the language of the eponymous tribe of the North Eastern Indian state of Meghalaya, with some speakers also in Assam and Bangladesh. It is the official language of the state with 1,128,575 Khasi speakers according to the 2001 Indian census. Khasi proper is the language and dialect spoken in Sohra.
The language had a rich oral tradition of songs and folklore, some of which has been forgotten for lack of a script. It was up to missionaries like Wlliam Carrey, who arrived there from 1813, to create a script and introduce literacy. Thomas Jones, regarded as the Father of the Khasi Alphabet, arrived in 1841 and set about putting together the First Khasi Reader with 21 alphabets in the Roman script. John Roberts, with his translation of religious texts and extensive language Readers, is considered the Father of Khasi Literature.
Renowned names in Khasi literature include Jeebon Roy Mairom and his son, Sib Charan Roy Dhikar, Rabon Singh, Radhon Singh and Soso Tham.
An edited version of the article was published in Culturama's August 2012 Issue.

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