Guwahati: The Council of Tribal Languages & Literature Societies, Manipur(CTLLSM) has once again expressed its concern that “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.
The organisation in a memorandum to Chief Minister N Biren Singh, the CTLLSM said that "all the 35 indigenous languages of Manipur have become endangered languages in Manipur due to absence of State's patronage.
The CTLLSM alleged that “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 stated that Manipur is a multilingual State inhabited by38 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 States for the common good of Manipur as a whole and it should not be viewed as tribal specific,” the CTLLSM added.
The organisation also pointed out that, in a State like Manipur tribal language 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 mentioned that, so far, 18 tribal languages have been approved for introduction in the school education system and 17 more 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”. TheCouncil then said that the situation is now going from bad to worse with the cut of TRI fund for tribal languages education since 2017 onwards till today.
The organization also warned 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 the 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.
The CTLLSM further claimed that it had been submitting representations and memoranda for allocation of fund in the State’s Budget since 2009.
“It is the desperate and heart rending appeal of the CTLLSM that it is imperative that a decision is taken by the State Government to earmark fund regularly for tribal languages education commencing from the Revision of Budget Estimate (RE) for 2018-19 and Budget Estimate (BE) for 2019-2020,” the CTLLSM added.