IMPHAL, Dec 16: The Council of Tribal Languages & Literature Societies, Manipur (CTLLSM) has expressed its concern that the “tribal languages education” is likely to phase out soon in Manipur due to lack of State’s patronage and gross negligence by the State Government.
“It seems that the tribal languages are taken as tribal specific by the State Government and therefore they are always sidelined by the State Government in the State’s Budgets since the inception,” the CTLLSM alleged on Sunday.
According to the CTLLSM, Manipur is a multilingual State inhabited by 38 recognised communities, of which 35 are tribal linguistic communities. “These linguistic communities need a common future along with other language groups in the State of Manipur. Therefore, promotion of tribal languages in the State is for the common good of Manipur as a whole and it should not be viewed as tribal specific,” the CTLLSM said.
It pointed out that in a State like Manipur tribal languages education is of paramount importance for many reasons. The CTLLSM cited some of such reasons as strengthening unity and integrity of the State; for ushering in a common future for all communities in the State and; also, language is the repository of custom, culture, knowledge system and history of a community. “So promoting tribal languages in the State is to enrich the culture of Manipur,” it added.
It can be noted here that, so far, 18 tribal languages have been approved for introduction in school education system and 17 are yet to come up.
“Approval of a language is supposed to entail fund allocation in the State Budget. Fund should be earmarked in the Plan and Non-Plan with Recurring and Non-Recurring expenditures for continuity of the language education. However, unfortunately, there is no fund for tribal languages education in the State’s Budgets since the inception,” the Council said.
“It seemed that tribal languages are nobody’s languages in Manipur. No one has concern for them—neither the State Government nor many of the elected people’s representatives have concerns for tribal languages education”, the CTLLSM rued, adding, “And still the State’s apathy towards tribal languages education is continuing even with the new State Government in the State”.
The Council said the situation is now going from bad to worse with the cut of TRI fund for tribal languages education since 2017 onwards.
It cautioned that the State government’s “apathy” towards tribal languages may affect the State’s integrity and it may force the tribal communities to seek alternative arrangements from the Centre/Delhi for promotion of their mother tongues education in the State. “Because the tribal languages are the life, identity, pride, aspiration and future of the tribal communities,” the Council said.
(Newmai News Network)