Bhujel [NEW]

Samar Sinha, Coordinator of the Centre for Endangered Languages at Sikkim University, informed us:

Bhujel is one of the endangered languages in Nepal, but extinct in Sikkim and Darjeeling. Historically, they had no script. But one of the community members, CB Bhujel, developed a Bhujel script (in India), which was hardly in public domain and use.

“One of my MPhil students, Bishnulal Bhujel, worked on the language attitude and script for the Bhujel language with an eye on revitalisation in 2015. Based on the data from the Nepalese side (Dan Raj Regmi, professor, Tribhuwan University) and data collected from Nepali by Bishnu, we devised an orthography based on the Devanagari script as it was suggested in Nepal too (most orthographies of the endangered languages either Tibeto-Burman (TB) or others in Nepal are Devanagari based).

“Since Bishnu is also one of the community leaders in Sikkim (his community which is OBC in Sikkim is now demanding ST status) went for language recognition to the state govt. of Sikkim. The minister objected about the Devanagari script since Bhujel is a TB community and a TB language. So the community went back to reinvent a script of their own, and found the one developed.

“Bishnu and his friends have developed a dictionary based on the Devanagari script for Bhujel. After the minister’s foolish remarks, the community came out (since election in approaching) with a new book and script in it. All I know is that the script was developed initially by CB Bhujel, digital fontforging was done by Rupesh Rai (a friend of mine currently working in LDCIL, CIIL, Mysore, India) and Bishnu. It has 6 vowels and 28 consonants. Though I cannot read it, but it seems it is more of Akshara system like the Devanagari.”

Update, April 2023

The character set for the script (now being referred to as Bhujel Kharpa) has been finalized, and textbooks and a primer in the script are under development. As a consequence, the Sikkim government has listed the language as one of the State Indigenous Languages, and it is now included in the school curricula.

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