GUWAHATI: The Axam Xahitya Xabha (AXX) is apprehensive of the foreseeable future of the Assamese language, literature and culture, especially at the fall in the percentage of Assamese speakers in the State as shown by Census 2011.
Talking to The Sentinel, AXX president Paramananda Rajbongshi said: “The 2011 Census report has put Assamese speakers in the State at 48 per cent. We apprehend that it may fall up to 20-30 per cent in Census 2021. AXX’s internal research and study foresee such a bitter reality.”
Rajbongshi further said: “Earlier different ethnic groups in Assam did mention Assamese as their mother tongue. However, now they show their respective tongues as mother tongues during census. Assamese is going to be a minor language in Assam. Hindu Bengalis have made Assamese an endangered language in the State. This is glaringly visible in the Barak Valley. In the Brahmaputra Valley also it is becoming a reality now. Assamese schools are being closed in the State. The mushroom growth of English medium schools in the State too has a cascading effect on this.”
On the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the AXX president said: “The Bill is set to cast a shadow on the future of the Assamese language, literature and culture. We oppose the Bill. We’re averse to unroll the red carpet in Assam for the 1.5 crore Hindu Bengalis staying in Bangladesh. We’re not going to let religious polarization to happen in the State. Such a development will only pose a threat to the sovereignty of the nation. The people of Assam are apprehensive of the Bill which is being opposed by all parties and organizations. We want the JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee) to visit Assam again for hearing on the Bill.”
On what needs to be done at the present situation, Rajbongshi said: “We need to detect and deport all foreigners who have entered the State after March 24, 1971 as stated in the Assam Accord. Respecting the Assam Accord, all foreigners, regardless of their religions, should be deported from the State. We can feel secured only if the entire length of the international boundary which the State shares is totally sealed.”
When asked on a tentative route for the revival of the Assamese language, Rajbongshi said: “We need to follow a clear-cut language policy, education policy and an employment policy. The future of the Assamese language as the lingua franca is at stake in the State because of irregularities in these policies. All indigenous mother tongues have to get their dignity. In all examinations for employment in private and government sectors the question papers should have equal percentage of questions in mother tongues and official language (Assamese). The Official Language Act, 1960 has to be implemented in full in the State.”