Friday, September 22, 2006

She Left United States for India to Teach Her Children Their Mother Tongue

Washing feet is Indian tribe's 'hospitality tradition'

They meet guests near the door. The guest is invited sit down and the host drops to the floor removing the shoes of the visitor and begins washing the feet with water. Then they are dried with care.

In the home of Nijhar Jharia Minz' family this is a tradition amongst her community and her tribe, a group of Indian tribal people. Minz came to the Karasjok consultation from India, and she said the feet washing ceremony has been saved over generations. It is meant as a gesture of open hospitality from the host.

Nijhar was born in Chicago, in the United States. When she was six weeks old, she moved with her parents to their homeland in India.

She grew up in a Christian family there and attended college. Later she went back to the US where she got a job at the Luther Seminary in Minnesota.

The main reason I decided to return to India as an adult was to open a theological center, where I could work and teach pastors. My husband and I also wanted to restore our traditions to our children so they could learn about their roots. And," noted Nijhar, "we also wanted to make sure they would not forget their mother tongue."

She said that Indigenous People in India who are also called Tribal Communities number about 460.

"The most important for saving traditions in India is saving languages, because in India we have about 70 official languages, but also some 1,000 dialects," she said.

Elle a quitté les USA pour l'Inde pour que ses enfants apprennent leur langue maternelle

Nijhar Jharia Minz est né à Chicago, mais c'est en Inde qu'elle a grandi à partir de l'âge de six mois, avant de retourner aux États-Unis, à l'âge adulte, pour enseigner la théologie au Luther Seminary du Minnesota. Son mari et elle ont choisi de retourner en Inde récemment.

"Nous voulions restaurer nos traditions pour nos enfants, et qu'ils n'oublient pas leur langue maternelle." En Inde, où les communautés tribales représentent 460 groupes ethniques, la préservation des cultures traditionnelles passe par la sauvegarde des langues - 70 langues officielles, mais plus de 1.000 dialectes!

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