AHMEDABAD: Over the past 100 years, Gujaratis have settled in almost all corners of the world – from the Arctic Circle to New Zealand. These Non-Resident Gujaratis (NRGs) have taken with them their culture, including their mother tongue.
Balvant Jani, founder director of Rajkot-based Gardi Research Institute for Diaspora Studies (GRIDS), said the first generation settlers in a foreign land are the most attached to their mother tongue. “The first generation of emigrants from this state read and write in Gujarati,” he said.
“Language is part of culture and, hence, it is not surprising that most youths and children abroad learn Gujarati through initiatives of religious organizations or Gujarati Samaj,” said Jani.
He further said that in the past few years, they had trained more than 3,000 Gujarati teachers, primarily for western countries.
Religion played an important role Be it Jainism, Zoroastrianism or sects of Swaminarayan Sampraday and Ismaili Khoja, language has followed religion on foreign shores. All these religions have rituals that are performed in Gujarati and this helps the younger generation get acquainted with the language.
For example, some foreign nationals, all followers of Aga Khan, learn Gujarati to follow ‘Ginan’ or religious discourse. Parsis are also synonymous with Gujarati. Swaminarayan Sampraday runs a number of centers along with temples that teach Gujarati and Indian culture.
Read full article on The Times of India com