PREPAK greets language martyrs on world language day

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IMPHAL, Feb 20: The underground People`™s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak, PREPAK, extended the party`™s revolutionary salute to all patriots who had given up their lives in the defence of the mother tongue, on the eve of the world mother tongue day.

In a release, the PREPAK said in the break neck competition between different linguistic groups in the modern world, many languages spoken by numerically weak communities are increasingly facing the danger of extinction.

It said the UNESCO has declared at least half of the world`™s 6800 languages are today in danger of complete disappearance. With this in mind, the UNESCO declared on November 17, 1999, that February 21 will be reserved as world mother tongue day. The inspiration for this was the fight for the Bengali language in the erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, it said.

When Bangladesh was still part of Pakistan, Urdu was declared as the national language on March 21, 1948. The struggle for salvaging the Bengali language in the country began on this day, it said.

The widespread public agitations included teachers and other government servants relinquishing their services, it said adding, starting from February 21, 1952, street agitations by the public on the issue began turning violent. In police firing four people, Rafiq, Barkat, Jabbar and Salamgi, lost their lives.

Following the event, on February 29, 1956, Bengali was recognized as an official language not just in East Pakistan, but the entire Pakistan, it said.

But the seeds of sovereignty sown by the language agitation did not end there. In the course of the years, it transformed into the freedom struggle which ultimately led to the formation of a new nation, Bangladesh in 1971, independent of Pakistan.

It said the crisis the indigenous language of Kanglei began facing was flagged off in the beginning of the 18th Century with the arrival of Ramandi missionary, Santadas, and the forceful conversion of the kingdom to Hinduism, and with it the transition of the base of the Kanglei language to Sanskrit-Bengali. The landmark and tragic incident which marked this era was on October 5, 1732, when the sacred books of the Keinglei, Puya, were made bonfire of.

The resistance against this invasion began with Naoriya Phulo and Lamyanba Irabot, it said. Their fight was to preserve the indigenous cultures and language of Kanglei, it added.

The release also charged that the inclusion of the Kanglei language in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, on August 20, 1992, is a ploy to Indianise the indigenous language. This is a colonial design to make the language neither here nor there, and deprive it of its `classical language`™ status.

The Kanglei language is widely distributed in South Asia and South East Asia, and it is for this reason this language is considered by the US Department of Education as one of the 169 `Political and Strategic Language` and in Europe it is considered as `Critical Language in Regional and International Level`.

The release said this being the case, it is absolutely necessary for the Kanglei language to be developed and promoted in consultation with intellectuals and experts in the field.

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