Gyani Maiya Sen-Kusunda was born around 1937 in the Dang district of Western Nepal. She was from a nomadic indigenous group called Kusunda/Mihaq that spoke the Kusunda/Gi Mihaq language (literally, the king's language). Through a long process of intermarriages, settling in villages, and cultural assimilation, the Kusunda people started losing their language over time. Sen-Kusunda and her younger sister Kamala Sen Khatri remained the only two fluent speakers of the Kusunda language which is currently a critically endangered language. After the critical state of her language was known thanks to wider publications, many researchers and documentary linguists have attempted to document the language. This includes Uday Raj Aley, an independent and local researcher who authored a comprehensive Kusunda-Nepali-English dictionary. Sen-Kusunda appears in the 2019 documentary "Gyani Maiya" directed and produced by Subhashish Panigrahi under a grant from the National Geographic Society.

Nickname(s): Gyani Maiya

Nepali 2019