“Sensitive and heart-touching!
Save your language to save your soul.“
—ANVITA ABBI, Linguist
“Scholars have played an important role in preserving the Kusunda language.“
“Preserves and immortalizes a language on the brink of extinction.“
—Ramil Mercado, Asia Matters For America
“Ms. Gyani Maiya Sen talked about the
heartbreaking situation: No one speaks Kusunda.”
—PHAN BẢO, Tuổi Trẻ
About the film
The Kusunda people were once a semi-nomadic hunter and gatherer community that settled in villages around the mid-western Nepalese district of Dang. They have long lost their native language Mihaq (Kusunda), to acculturation and other barriers to active use. The community also lost its 83-year-old elder Gyani Maiya Sen-Kusunda in 2020, the most and the only known fluent Kusunda speaker then. Filmed in Kulmor in the Dang District in 2018, this documentary is a memoir of Sen-Kusunda in her own words and a biography of her people who were forced to leave their language and cultural identity. Kusunda is being revived by Kamala Sen Khatri, Sen-Kusunda’s younger sister, and Uday Raj Aaley, a local researcher who is the key collaborator for this film.
This film was supported through a National Geographic Society grant.
Gyani Maiya (English)
ज्ञानी मैया (Nepali)
A formerly hunter-gather community stopped speaking their language for two generations, and linguists have predicted its death, declaring an 83-year-old the last living speaker. Will her lamenting revive the near-extinct language, her only identity?
CAMERAPERSON, RECORDIST, DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER
Subhashish Panigrahi, Uday Raj Aaley (Co-Writer), Sanjib Chaudhary (Co-Writer)
Gyani Maiya Sen-Kusunda (self)
Uday Raj Aaley (self)
COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION/ORIGIN
Kulmor, Dang district, Nepal
Year of Production 2018-2019
10 December 2019 (India—Limited Release)
25 minutes (appx.)
US LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CONTROL NUMBER (LCCN)
DIGITAL OBJECT IDENTIFIER (DOI/EIDR)
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