Parliament debates on Koshali language
SHRI SRIBALLAV PANIGRAHI (DEOGRAH): Mr. Chairman, at the outset, I thank you for giving me an opportunity to participate in this debate. I also thank Mrs. Dilkumaroji, for having moved this Bill demanding inclusion of two languages-Nepali and Manipuri in the eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
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Sir, there has been no opposition to this Bill In substance.
There is only one dissentIng voice that we have heard and that is of our learned friend honourable Shri InderJit. He, in fact, laboured hard to prepare his speech and put his argument for a different name.
But, as you know, Sir, there has been no opposition to this demand that these languages-Nepali or Gorkhall or Gorkha Bhasha-should be included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. These lan- guages should be Included In the Constitution as quickly as possible.
It is rather over due.
You know, Sir, Dr. Sunit Chatterjee was the famous linguist of our country. He was also the President of Kenddya Sahitya Akademi for quite some time. In his Report on the Official Language Commission, Dr. Sunit Kumar Chatterjee commendect inclusion of other Indian Languages. Now, I will quote what he had said: ‘The other Indian languages are to be added in this Eighth Schedule following the wishes of their speakers and their Importance, viz. Sindhi and Nepali.
‘These two languages were recommended to the given berth in the Eighth Schedule. But, in 1967, Sindhi could be Included and Nepali was left out. I do not want to go into the details. Nepali has been given recognition by different organisations including the Sahitya Akademi in 1974. When Sahltya Akademi accorded its recognition to the Nepali language as a major literary language and when there was merger of Sikkim with India, this language could also have been given this Constitutional status, visit could have been included in the Eighth Schedule.
In 1911, the Allahabed University had introduced Nepali as a vernacular subject. In 1921, the Calcutta University had introduced this. Later on the Banaras Hindu University Introduced it. It offers Nepali as a subject for Post Graduat and PhD studies. There are several other Boards in other places which have provided this facility in education Take
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the example of Central Secondary Education Board. Not only this, thereafter, the importance or significance of Nepali is well- established by the fact that, it is the principal language of Gangtok and kurscong Stations of all India Radio. A special programme is being broadcast by the Guwahati Station of All India Radio and an internal service news in Nepali is broadcast by the New Delhi Station also. The Calcutta Doordarshan Kendra telecasts a 15-minute Nepali programme every day and a few Nepali feature fitnes are telecost, New Delhi at times. The News in Nepali are broadcast by BBC, Beiging, Moscow and Bangladesh Radios. So, the significance of this language is established. This is an old language. We had our first Census in 1871.
The predominant population of Darjeeling was shown as Nepali speaking population. Sahitya Akademi, West Bengal and also North East University, have set up Nepali sahitya Akademi.
About more than 10 million people we have got in our country who speak Nepali either as their first or second language; it has rich literature. And particularly, as you know, language is a very sentimental subject, very sentimental issue. It is spoken in our border areas, hilly areas; and that also has its own strategy and significance. Sikkim. West Bangal, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, all the Hindi States, Assemblies have unanimous passed resolution for constitutional status to be given to this language. And I also quoted from Sunity Chatterjee’s Report. In this background, it is now overdue that Nepali language should find a place, should be included in the eighth Schedule.
In this connection, I would like to know from the hon. Minister that, when the Constitution came into being, in the Eighth Schedule we had first 14 languages included; and later on the 15th member in this family was the Sindhi; Sindhi Language joined this group in 1967.
What was the criterion of selecting these languages.
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As you know, India is a unique country; It is a country of very large population, large area and also so many communities, castes.
religions and languages; that way, it cannot be just called a country; it is much more than a country; it is a sub-continent; it is more than a sub-continent; I call it a mini world; India is a mini world with all varieties, culture, languages, It is our prime duty, all of us, to keep the country together in the midst of such diversity; to maintain unity, to ensure unity is a great problem. We have also got to address ourselves to this.
Language is such a sentimental issue that our leaders immediately after independence also had to think about it; and there was Reorganisation of States; on the basis of language. Of course, the wisdom behing it is now disputed by some. The wisdom that we should have gone for Reorgainsation of States or formation of States on the basis of language. It gives rise in certain cases to lingual troubles and all those things. Therefore, the wisdom is disputed sometimes.
But, anyway, we have given due importance to the language issue; and I would like to quote-I cannot resist my temptalon to quotea famous Orieya Poet of my area. Swabre Kavi Gangadhar Meher has written Matra Bhoiome Matru Bhasha Reya hirudy Mamta Janarninai Taku Yadi Giani Panara Ganiba; Agyana Rahibe Kanhi. Although it is in Oriya, it is very lucid, very clear. One cannot claim himself to be educated, to be learned who does not develop liking, love, respect for, (1) Motherland and (2) mother tongue; Motherland and mother tongue are very dear to us, very close to our heart. Therefore, we all love our mother tongue; and in a country of India’s size and with so many languages. it is our duty to develop a spirit of tolerance to a I languages, not only tolerance but also to create a situation so that we respect also other languages.
We respect other languages. It is a question of co-existence of all languages. They should have their due place in the country, in the Constitution, in the Kendriya Sahitya Akademi, everywhere. So, I would
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say. about the name, lot us not do something in a hurry.
Shri Inder JR has also come forward with his arguments. Nepali, It is also the ancient name, probably it is also Gorkhali, but It had got momentum after this agitation.
SHRI INDER JIT: Originally it was the ‘Khas’ language.
SHRI SRIBALLAV PANIGRAHI: The present nomenclature may be
different. It is not a big thing.
The hon. Home Minister should sort out his problem and this cannot be allowed to go on for a long time; nor can we do something which will distance another section of the community. We have about ten million people who speak Nepali language. There is always a solution for any problem. The language can be Nepali, Gorkhali, or Gorkha Bhasha, anything. For language there is no opposition. Shri Inder Jit the hon. Member from Darjeeling has also supported this.
There is no question about it. This problem can be sorted out.
Again, about Manipuri also there is no problem. It is the main language, or the official language of manipur. It is the first language of Manipur, we may say.
Similarly, Konkani also. Although there is no reference to it in the Bill Konkani is the main language of Goa. That also deserves consideration for Inclusion in the eighth Schedule.
What was the criterion for including languages in the Eighth Schedule? Of course, the main languages are spoken by a sizeable population. Even on that consideration Sindi must have been considered. But now neither there is a Sindh Province in India not is it the official language of any State. But there are a large number of people who speak that language.
Similarly, there are other languages, which on the same analogy, deserve consid-
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oration for inclusion in the Eighth Schedule.
I will now conclude by mentioning one more point. As I said, about language, we should not be rigid. About the policy of the Government of India there should be some criteria. There should be some basis for consideration. Otherwise also, I am pained to understand that there is an agitation being carded on now, to pressurize the Government for inclusion of Manipuri. Who is sup- porting It? But at the same, I am afraid, a section of the population also is for another nomenclature, not Manipuri, but they are suggesting something else.
Therefore, there can be some discussion on this question and this can be sorted out and this language may be included.
Again, there are languages like Mythily. Our hon. friend Shri Bhogendra Jha had also mentioned it. Also about Nicobari language also there was a reference by our friend, Shri Manoranjan Bhakta. It is time now to give a fresh look at these Things, these things cannot directly go to the Eighth Schedule. The Kendriya Sahitya Academy and the concerned State Sahitya Academy have to accord recognition to these languages first. It has to go stop by step, ladder by ladder, phase by phase.
On Orissa, we have a language called “Sambalpuri language’ . It may be called ‘sambalpuri language” or ” Kosali language”. Every body talks about Sambalpur saree, Samba1purl music, etc. this language has got a rich Literature About 10 million people speak nepali and we are discussing about its inclusion in the Eighth Schedule. The Sambalpuri language also spread over large areas, five to six districts. And about one crore population speak this language. This language is different from the standard oriya language.
Now we are talking about removal of illiteracy and universalisation of primary education. the child ‘is to be
Taught, is to be given education at the
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primary stage, in his own mother tongue, which is naturally not the standard language of that place. In the taribal areas , many children are not attracted to schools and they treat the standard language as a foreign language. In the tribal belts, we should make arrangement for Imparting education In their own mother tongue.
The Sambalpuri language is spoken by one crore population, spread over five western districts in Orissa. This language has a good and a rich literature. This language also should be treated as a separate language. The concerned authorities should give recognition to this language. First to start with Sahitya Academy should give recognition to this language.
I do not want to make a lengthy speech because several Members are Interested to give their viewpoints on this.
Sir. language is a very sensitive issue and It is something which can be Instrumental to strengthen our national solidarity. It is like atom. If not properly handled. it can do a lot of harms. The language issue is a very emotional issue and a sensitive issue. So, It is time to give a fresh look at these things.
According to Science of language. at a distance of every one hundred Kilometres, there is some change in the language. Eventhough substantially the same language is spoken, there are some variations. you may call it as dialect or something like that. But it is not the same language that is spoken throughout the State. And wherever is spoken by a large number of people, but it has a literature behind it, it has a distance features, of a separate language. then it is entitled to be called a separate language. Therefore, the concerned authorities should liberally consider these things. And In the process, our literature, our language and our much sought national solidarity. will be strengthened and not weakened.