Gov’t to set up Advisory Committee on Khasi language

SHILLONG, OCT 12: Chief Minister Mukul Sangma today said that the state government will constitute an Advisory Committee to speed up the process for inclusion of Khasi Language in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution of India.

The assurance was given to a delegation of the Khasi Authors’ Society (KAS) which met Sangma to seek his intervention into the two-point demands which also include making Khasi compulsory in higher secondary schools, here on Thursday.

“He (Sangma) has assured us that an advisory committee will be constituted by the state government to further speed up the process for inclusion of Khasi language in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution,” KAS president Dr DRL Nonglait told reporters after the meeting.

He said that proposed committee will also include representatives from the Society and different communities of the state. “But what is more important is that the government should have a political will without which the matter cannot be fulfilled,” Dr Nonglait said.

Asked, he said though the official committee constituted earlier in 2014, by the government had already submitted its report which is now pending with the political department, but it is still lacking in view not many experts have been included.

In its memorandum submitted to the chief minister during the meeting, KAS also urged the government to move the Prime Minister, Home Minister and Members of Parliament to include Khasi in the 8th Schedule.

“It has been an inspiration of the Khasis since the bifurcation of Meghalaya from Assam in 1972 that their language be given the recognition,” Dr Nonglait said.

He said while other tribal languages of the region like Manipuri and Bodo have been included in the 8th Schedule, the unfortunate reality lies in the fact that Khasi which has had a longer history in terms of academic development is yet to be given its due recognition.

Stating out of 29,66,889, the population in six districts of Khasi –Jaintia Hills is 16,42,435, he said almost cent per cent of the schedule tribe population in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills region are Khasi speakers.

“The estimated total number of Khasi speakers inside and outside the state is more than 20 lakh,” he said.

Meanwhile, KAS also demanded the government to quash the September 5, 2013 – notification of the MBOSE making Khasi (MIL) an optional subject in classes XI and XII in the Arts, Science and Commerce streams.

“The government should quash the notification and revert to the previous system by making Khasi a compulsory subject in classes XI and XII of Arts, Science and Commerce streams,” he said.

According to Dr Nonglait, the survival of any minority culture and language would ultimately depend upon a government that takes up the initiative to protect the fabric of diversity that is the very spirit of the constitution of the country.

By Our Reporter

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