Nepali journalist Deepak Adhikari has won special recognition for his story on endangered language Kusunda in the regional Indigenous Voices in Asia (IVA) award 2013.
Adhikari, who works in Nepal with the French newswire Agence France - Press (AFP), was recognised for his story "Last of Nepal's Kusunda speakers mourns dying language" which he wrote and published in November 2012. The awards were announced coinciding with the International Human Rights Day.
"This is the first time my story has been awarded,” Adhikari told Nepalnews.com. “I’ve been working for fifteen years now - so of course I am very glad.”
However, he also spoke about "mixed feelings" about the topic of his article, the disappearance of the indigenous language Kusunda.
Kusunda is a special language spoken by a tribal community in Dang, western Nepal. The language possesses unique sentence structures and its origin is unknown. However, the usage of the language has dwindled, leaving 76-year-old Gyani Maiya Sen as the last native speaker. Adhikari spoke to Sen for his story.
Little is being done to preserve the language’s structure and vocabulary. This is a fate it shares with 61 other languages in Nepal listed as endangered by the UNESCO.
The award recognises contribution of media institutions and individuals in making the general public aware of, and perhaps sensitive to, the rights and issues of indigenous peoples at the national and international levels. The award was granted for "issues that has been overlooked" concerning the issues of indigenous people.