The Asur language figures in the list of UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger.

Who are Asur tribes?

  • As per the 2011 census, the tribe has a population of around 23,000.
  • Asur (particularly vulnerable tribal group) people are a very small Austroasiatic ethnic group living primarily in the Indian state of Jharkhand, mostly in the Gumla, Lohardaga, Palamu and Latehar districts.
  • Asur is traditionally iron-smelters. 
  • They were once hunter-gatherers. However, the majority of them shifted into agriculture. Now, 91.19 per cent are enlisted as cultivators.

Why is there a danger to Asur tribes' Language?

  • 50% of the population barely speak in Asur language.
  • Only 7,000 to 8,000 Asur tribals are left in the community who are well conversant in the language.
  • The new generation does not speak Asur language, while the middle-aged group speak in a broken tongue.

Community Effort to save language: 

  • Pre-recorded radio programmes have been aired on 16 different occasions the first transmission of a half-an-hour programme was organised near Netarhat on January 19.
  • Radio programmes are based on incidents happening in different parts of the world and the news relating to the community.
  • Youth from the community are also being encouraged to write poems in their language and older ones narrate their experience in their own language.


JV’s Prelims Snippets

Endangered Language: An endangered language is a language that is at risk of falling out of use, generally because it has few surviving speakers. If it loses all of its native speakers, it becomes an extinct language. UNESCO defines four levels of language endangerment between "safe" (not endangered) and "extinct".

“Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages of India”

  • Under this Scheme, the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore works on protection, preservation and documentation of all the mother tongues/languages.
  • These are languages of India spoken by less than 10,000 speakers keeping in mind the degree of endangerment and reduction in the domains of usage.

UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the world’s Language in Danger: 

  • UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger is intended to raise awareness about language endangerment and the need to safeguard the world’s linguistic diversity among policy-makers, speaker communities and the general public.
  • UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger is a tool to monitor the status of endangered languages and the trends in linguistic diversity at the global level.
  • For each language, the print Atlas provides its name, degree of endangerment and the country or countries where it is spoken.

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Indian National Commission For Cooperation With UNESCO (INCCU)