By Our Reporter, Shillong News | Shillong, April 20, 2018:
Even after 46 years of statehood, the attempt of get the local languages of Meghalaya included in the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution is long over-due.
For the past many years, groups and societies have, time and again, called upon the government to take this matter seriously not only for the benefit of the indigenous people but also to keep their identity alive.
While the aspirations of the people are yet to be fulfilled, a cry for mass movement was resounded to wake the government as well as the people from their slumber.
It may be mentioned that the government had in 2017 constituted an Advisory Committee to seriously take up the matter to ensure that the demand for inclusion of the Khasi language into the Eight Schedule of the Constitution becomes a reality.
Hanging on to the belief that one day the local language finds place in the list of official languages, the Khasi Authors’ Society recently met Chief Minister Conrad Sangma to apprise him of the importance of the inclusion of the Khasi language in the 8th Schedule while seeking his quick intervention into this matter.
It was informed that the CM had assured the group that he will look into this matter seriously and will take up the same with his officers to find out the progress and outcome of the Advisory Committee.
He had also reportedly stated that he will cooperate with the chief ministers of all the northeastern states, whose respective state’s languages are yet to be recognized, before taking it up with the Centre.
Till date, there are 38 different languages including Khasi language from Meghalaya, Tenyidi from Nagaland, Mizo (lushai) from Mizoram, Kok Barak from Tripura, Lepcha from Sikkim besides others which are yet to be included in the 8th Schedule and as of now, they are still being reviewed by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“It may be reminded that the Khasi Authors’ Society had time and again been demanding from the government for the same since 1979. Even today, we will not sit still but will intensify our demand because once a language is recognised by the Constitution, the identity of the community also remains intact,” said KAS joint secretary, Ronald P. Kharshiing.
But the Khasis are not the only ones demanding for the inclusion of their language in the 8th Schedule. The Garos – one of the three major tribes of Meghalaya, have also come forward with this demand.
In a memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister here on Thursday, the Achik Students’ Welfare Association has called upon Conrad Sangma to ensure that the Garo language also finds a place in the list of official languages.
“For a very long time, various groups including us have been demanding for inclusion of our language and we pray that your government will take this matter seriously and fulfil the aspiration of the Garo people,” said Biswajit A Sangma, general secretary of the association.
It may be reminded that in 2017, a literary expert Ganesh N Devy maintained that nearly 10 per cent of the world’s 4,000 languages facing ‘extinction’ threat in next 50 years is spoken in India. However, Garo and Khasi languages are showing an upward trend because educated people in these communities have started using these languages for writing.