A Roman Script

In September 2000 a Reader’s Digest article stated that the Kalasha had no alphabet. Puzzled by this claim, Elsa arranged a meeting with all Kalasha teachers and elders to discuss the concept of Kalasha literacy. She contacted Taj Khan, a Kalasha student, who connected her with a Hungarian anthropologist, Anna Haraszti. Anna had just spent the previous summer in the Kalasha Valleys and was inspired by Injinier Khan, the first Kalasha teacher, to develop primary school readers which preserved Kalasha stories. Injinier had independently developed a Kalasha alphabet - the phonemes of which concurred with the Trail/Cooper analysis. This was a mutual confirmation, which strengthened confidence in the orthography. However, unfortunately, Injinier's script was not suited to ease of printing. Also, the Kalasha Dictionary (Trail and Cooper 1999) had just been published, with both Roman- and Arabic-script renderings. As a result of many intense meetings that following Autumn, with Taj as facilitator, the teachers (including Injinier) decided to switch to a Roman-script based orthography.