What's in this name?


As a name for an initiative concerned with language, ICT, and rural development in a rapidly changing society, the name Bisharat was felt to resonate in three different ways.

First, although Bisharat is not formally connected with the Bahá’í Faith (or any other religion), this initiative draws inspiration from the Bahá’í teachings, in particular the simultaneous call for the adoption of a single world language which everyone everywhere could learn to communicate with anyone else, and acknowledgement of the importance of maternal languages. One of the Bahá’í scriptures that mentions the importance of a universal auxiliary language is entitled "Bishárát."

This initiative which bears the same name is premised in part on the recognition that enhanced status of mother tongues and worldwide acceptance of an international lingua franca may indeed be two sides of the same process.

Second, bisharat , with a meaning of “good news” or “glad tidings,” comes from the Arabic root
ب ش ر (ba - shin - ra) which can also express the sense of “human being.” It thus has a range of meaning that seems interesting in the context of linking people's traditions with new technologies for development.

The third way is actually a play on words between English and Arabic. In development work there is a lot of talk of “grassroots,” such as "grassroots initiatives” for example. And in referring to rural Africa, the term “bush” is commonly used. The “bush” also happens to be where indigenous languages of Africa are used most extensively. Development with a focus not only on fostering local initiative but also on respect of language and culture rooted in rural community life, might be termed "bushroot" development.