Bhasha Van represents 6K languages on SPPU campus

ST Correspondent
Saturday, 29 September 2018

“It’s a matter of pride for me to be present for the PEN National Congress in Pune. While speaking to Dr Devi about the tree plantation, he had assured me that the trees would be secular. We would all love to come back to see the Bhasha Van again,” Clement said.

Pune: Trees representing around 6,000 languages in the world were planted by delegates from around the world on the campus of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) at of the International Centre for the creation of ‘Bhasha Van’, that is literally the ‘Global Language Park.’

The initiative was carried out as a part of the 84th PEN International Congress in celebration of the survival and struggle of the world’s languages.

Ashok Vajpeyi, Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, Ashis Nandy, GN Devy, Vice Chancellor of SPPU Dr Nitin Karmalkar, Halina Cieplinska-Bitner, Vasant Abaji Dahake and PEN International President Jennifer Clement were amongst the dignitaries who had gathered during the event. Dr NS Umrani, Pro-Chancellor, SPPU, Dr Prafulla Pawar, Dr Vijay Khare of International Centre were also present.

“It’s a matter of pride for me to be present for the PEN National Congress in Pune. While speaking to Dr Devi about the tree plantation, he had assured me that the trees would be secular. We would all love to come back to see the Bhasha Van again,” Clement said.

Addressing the presentees, Karmalkar said, “Along with science and social sciences, SPPU also offers courses in several languages. Also, we have a huge number of foreign students coming to our university for studying. We will certainly preserve the trees planted today and the languages that they represent. Bhasha Van is a heritage for the coming generations, and I am sure, many would visit our university to see this one-of-its-kind initiative.”

Bhasha Van will be available for the public by January 2019. The park, a walkway lined with trees, is equipped with a bespoke audio tour that helps visitors to journey through this one-of-a-kind experience. The tour will allow visitors to engage with the world’s linguistic diversity through audio samples in the form of songs, poems, folktales, sayings and jokes drawn from different languages of India.

The 84th PEN International Congress is being hosted by PEN South India, and Savitribai Phule Pune University is its knowledge partner. The annual PEN International Congress is an opportunity for contemporary literary voices, both leading and emerging, to celebrate literature, discuss pressing threats to freedom of expression and exchange ideas and stories.

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