From A Reporter
SHILLONG, May 5: The demand for inclusion of the Khasi language in the 8th schedule of the constitution of India was echoed by everyone who spoke at the 175 years celebration of the existence of the Khasi language at a public rally held in the city on Friday.
Braving the heat of the day, more than 3000 students from different schools and colleges in the city along with placards participated in the public rally organised by Khasi Author Society (KSA), which started from Jaiaw Shyiap Durbar Hall and concluded at Student field Jaiaw.
Former KSA president Dr. B R Kharlukhi while addressing the gathering at Student field said, “In my own understanding the Khasi language is a gold crown and the heart beat of the indigenous Khasi community and its like a cloth which identifies us as Khasis, hence we need to protect our language.”
According to him there is also an urgent need for the Khasi Language to be included in the 8th schedule of the constitution of India.
“The state government and all our representatives from Meghalaya in the Indian Parliament should take up this issue as it concerns the interest of the indigenous Khasi community,” he said.
He added, “The flames to demand our own state was ignited when we understood that exterl powers were planning to make us utilize another language which was not our own.”
Informing that in the year 1959 the institute of culture in Kolkata had published a book titled ‘The Culture and Heritage of India’ in IV volumes, he said, “In the book there is also a language map of the number of languages in the country and in the North East the book only indicated two languages that is the Khasi and Assamese language.”
“The number of Khasi speaking people in the state at that time was 2, 90, 982 lakh and in the year 1981 Khasi language was included as a subject in the North Easter Hill University (NEHU),” he said adding at present the number of Khasi speaking people is 10, 91, 087 lakh.
He informed that the state government has constituted a Special Committee in which he is also a member and the Committee has forwarded its finding to the government in which it will later send the findings to the central government to examine it.
“Before any language gets included into the 8th schedule, the constitution of India should first be amended and this is the responsibility of our local representatives in the Assembly and especially those in the Parliament,” he said.
Observing that every household should use the Khasi language to communicate with one another, he said, “It is however saddening that in this present day and age from the same tongue we communicate in Khasi, English and Bazar Hindi.”
In a similar opinion, representing the Khasi Student Union (KSU) Truelywell Lyngdoh said that there is an urgent need to include the Khasi language into the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution.
“The main reason to demand our own hill state and to separate form Assam was due to the conflict of language as the passing of the Assam official Language Act in the year 1960 made our leaders back then to demand a separate state,” he said.
Lyngdoh said despite countless demands from various social organizations to include the Khasi language in the 8th schedule however till date there is no progress in the matter.
HYC general secretary Robert June Kharjahrin said, “If it the state of Kerala which has achieved almost 100 percent literacy can make their own language Malayalam as a compulsory subject then how hard can it be for the Meghalaya government to make Khasi as a compulsory subject in both Secondary and Higher secondary education.”