The Meeting Place
The Meeting Place was the name of an extremely popular weekly radio programme with features in the Shina language which was broadcast in Gilgit (Pakistan) in the early 1980s. Shina belongs to the Indo-Aryan group of Indo-European languages, and is a predominantly spoken language. Attempts to develop a writing system based on the Urdu variety of the Arabic script go back to the 1960s but have led to only a relatively small number of literary works in Shina. The author of the radio features, Mohammad Amin Zia, is a well-known writer and poet of Gilgit who has published several books in Shina and Urdu and whose collection of proverbs and popular beliefs was published with a German translation in 2008. The Meeting Place contains a collection of seven scripts which were prepared by the author to be used by the speakers during the performance. These texts represent the first attempt of a native speaker of Shina to write about the situations and problems of everyday life in Gilgit, using a highly colloquial style which testifies to the state of the language as it was spoken in the 1980s. The features consist of discussions on various topics by three speakers who represent different members of Gilgit society: a young man, an old man, and a school teacher. The discussions touch upon the generation gap, religious and ethical standards, hygiene and environmental welfare and come with a topping of occasional humour. The text is given in Shina with an interlinear rendering in English along with a free English translation. The book contains a glossary of all the Shina words which occur in the texts.