Bhasha initiated the The People’s Linguistic Survey of India in 2010, which is a nationwide survey on existing languages across India, which seeks to answer the question ‘How many living languages does India have?’ As a natural extension to this project, Bhasha also initiated the creation of Bhasha Van, literally ‘a forest of languages’, on the campus of the Adivasi Academy at Tejgadh.
Planted in 2010, Bhasha Van has been envisioned as an actual and metaphorical forest, representative of both the diversity of flora and languages of our country. Since language is oral before it is written, Bhasha Van introduces its visitors to the languages of India through the means of audio guides, taking the visitor through the physical area of the Van while moving through the tales of its linguistic traditions.
The outdoor displays at Bhasha Van consist primarily of trees representing languages and language families of India. Visitors are encouraged to wander through the Van, approach the trees and listen to their stories. Some of these trees are hung with plaques on which tri-lingual information about little known languages are presented. There are also five rest-stop designed to allow visitors to rest their feet and engage with interactive displays on language families, scheduled languages, non-scheduled languages and even contribute narratives in their own mother tongues.
Tribal art, in the form of paintings, pottery and wood work installed at various locations forms an integral part of this Van. Located in the land adjacent to The Vaacha Museum of Voice at the Academy, Bhasha Van as a thriving forest of linguistic diversity complements the diversity of living traditions and material cultures housed within the Museum building.
The transformation of what was previously a plantation area, into the outdoor display of Bhasha Van has been done with great care. Not a single tree has been cut or transplanted and minimal metal and cement has been used. The displays on the trees have been secured with rope, made from natural fibers as opposed to nails, to accommodate the future growth of these trees.