---- Editorial ----
Wait for Hollongi Green Field Airport continues
Finally there is something to cheer about as commercial flight from Pasighat ALG
is all set to begin. Vinod P Kavle, Secretary Civil Aviation who visited the newly
constructed civilian terminal shared the good news. It is also reported that Arunachal’s
first civilian airport being constructed by Airport Authority of India which is coming
up at Tezu is on the verge of completion and operation will start soon. The operationalization
of Paisghat ALG and Tezu civil airport will change the dynamics of eastern Arunachal.
This will improve the air connectivity and accelerate economic development in the
As one part of state rejoice the starting of air service, the people of capital complex
are still struggling to understand the cause for delay in construction of Hollongi
Green Field Airport project. After much controversy the technical committee constituted
by the ministry of civil aviation selected Hollongi over Karsingsa as site for constructing
the airport. But almost a year has passed since that decision came but till now
there is no news regarding the airport. State government does not seem sincere about
starting the Hollongi Green Field Airport. Allegation have cropped up that airport
project is being deliberately delayed by present saffron government as some of the
Congress leaders stands to benefit from land compensation at Hollongi. The political
differences should not come in the way of development. Itanagar is the only capital
in whole of North East region not to have airport of its own. This is not something
to cheer about. Hopefully better sense prevails so that work for Green Field airport
starts at the earliest.
---- Readers Forum ----
Let’s not adopt script in hurry
This is in response to the story “Tani Lipi In School Curriculum” published on August
24 and other such similar stories published in your esteemed daily from time to time.
While it is commendable that various organisations are concerned about the status
and future of the indigenous languages of the state, their demands for introduction
of a completely new script to promote the languages is unscientific and will do more
harm than good.
As per my knowledge, Tani Lipi is a script devised by a single individual, without
any wide ranging or long term study involving linguists or experts of the native
languages it purports to serve. It is a hobby of an individual raised to the status
of an issue by organizations that have not done any serious thinking on the subject.
Esteemed readers may well ask, “But why not have a script of our own?” The answer
is that pride in possessing a novel script should not override the practicalities
in having one.
First of all, there are a limited numbers of scripts in the whole world. The entire
western world, with their dozens upon dozens of languages, has just three scripts:
Latin, Cyrillic (Russian and Eastern Europe) and Greek. Closer home in India, scores
upon scores of languages are written in just about a dozen scripts. The reason is
that scripts evolve over a period of centuries through adoption, adaptation, modification
and renewal. Most changes occur through the labours of the intellectuals and men
of letters. Thus, imposing a completely new script, whose credibility and legitimacy
is unknown, is hardly wise.
Secondly, simply imposing a new script in schools will not improve the status of
the indigenous languages. The fact of the matter is that our young generation has
simply stopped speaking their mother tongues and our older generations have abdicated
their responsibility in teaching them. Furthermore, even institutional efforts to
promote indigenous languages have so far failed. For example, books in Nyishi (“Nyishi
Agam Kitab”) have been introduced for primary students, but they are lying unused
in school store-rooms. The reasons are unfamiliarity with the hurriedly adapted script,
dialectical differences across districts, absence of trained teachers and lack of
sustainable frameworks. Now imagine what will happen if the confusing blend of Assamese/Bengali
and Devanagari scripts and random squiggles that is Tani Lipi is introduced in schools.
There is a reason our children are weak in Hindi. Although Aruna-chalees speak Hindi,
our written skill is way below par. The likely cause is the challenges posed by the
Thirdly, almost all languages without any written history or script have adopted
already existing scripts, in whole or modified for their special purposes. The reason
is that existing scripts are already familiar to most would be users. In our own
north eastern region, Manipuri adopted the Bengali script, Bodo adopted the Devanagari
script and hill communities like the Mizos, Khasis and Naga tribes adopted the Latin
script.. This has in fact helped the growth of these languages to the extent that
Masters Degrees and PhDs are now being obtained in Khasi and Mizo literature.
Fourthly, in this digital age, how on earth would Tani Lipi be used in computers
or printed on paper? Even a rich language like Assamese, with its long history of
a separate script, is yet to be accorded recognition by the Unicode Consortium which
would allow for the script to be used in computers. Now, what is the way forward?
The best strategy would be to adopt an already existing script, preferably Latin
script which is used for English and hundreds of other languages worldwide. The reason
is its familiarity, flexibility and wide usage. Even an older person from our communities
who is not conversant in English can read English words with varying expertise. In
the case of related languages like the Tani languages, a single modified script based
on Latin can be used for writing all the languages. At present, Nyishi, Galo, Adi,
Apatani and Tagin have different modified versions of the Latin script. This can
be unified so that a Nyishi student in Galo areas can study the Galo language and
an Adi student in Apatani areas can study the Apatani language. This will promote
appreciation for the other community and may even lead to formation of a common language
down the line.
The objective of the community-based/student-based organizations should be easy accessibility,
widespread usage and growth of our languages and not a silly and misplaced pride
in possessing a unique script.
In order to save our languages it is very essential that all community based organisations,
or at least organisations of related communities like the Tanis form a Language and
Script Council composed of experts and linguists without any further delay. The council
can debate, deliberate, carry out studies and evolve a common modified Latin script,
aid in publication, coordinate with and advise the Government bodies and promote
the introduction of indigenous languages in schools and promote their widespread
usage in the communities. This is the only way forward for our endangered languages.
Govt of Arunachal is working for Tibetan or Arunachalees?
Our present governments seem to be working with the motto of “Government of the Tibetan,
by the Tibetan and for the Tibetan”. Forgive if my quote is wrong but that’s how
I see the present situation. I belong to deeply under-developed district also known
as ‘disturbed’ district of Tirap. We are struggling for survival and have always
felt let down by the successive governments in Itanagar. When I see present BJP government
care more for refugee like Tibetan than the indigenous tribe it hurts my soul.
Now that 12 cabinet minister including Chief Minister Pema Khandu has pledged to
work for Tibetans, my question to them is will you guys contest from Tibetan settlement
area or from your respective assembly constituencies? You guys have lost the right
to be called as Arunachalee and I would suggest all the cabinet ministers to surrender
your ST certificate and instead acquire refugee certificate. The days have passed
when people use to accept whatever decision imposed by the politicians. Now everyone
is aware of their rights and for sure we will oppose adoption of Tibetan Rehabilitation
policy act tooth and nail. Every Arunachalee should rise to the occasion and fight
for early recall of the said Act. It has been keenly observed that MoS Home Kiren
Rijiju and our CM Pema Khandu seem to have affection for Tibetans due to their closeness
with Tibetan spiritual cum political head Dalai Lama. I ask both, are you two leaders
of Arunachalee or Tibetan? Lastly hope unions and associations, who don’t hesitate
to declare bandh call even for minor issue, will take up this issue and fight for
the people of Arunachal. We are especially hoping on AAPSU to spearhead the fight.
History will not forgive us if we allow government of Arunachal to adopt Tibetan
Rehabilitation policy act.
N Wangjein, Tirap
Opposition voice getting stifled
The cold-blooded murder of innocents in the name of ’Gaumata’’, annihilation of
secular rationalists like MM Kalburgi and Govind Pansare, character-assassi-nation
of Kanhaiyas as “anti-nationalists” for not swimming with the saffron tide, banning
the release of the documentary on the humanitarian Amartya Sen for his “sin” of condemning
rabid Hindutva, what a deluge of “brilliant” piece of news in India of “Good Days.”
So now the situation has come to such a dreadful pass in this democratic country
that even the voice and freedom of speech of the Chief Minister of Tripura Manik
Sarkar is also being throttled. Leader of a “tiny” “dead” party presiding over an
equally tiny “marginalised” state yet he gets perceived to be such a “threat” that
the Who’s Who of the “mighty” party ruling over the nation are working overtime to
see to it that his Independence Day speech do not get telecast!
Again this proves what immense strength is possessed in all things true, sane and
Manik Sarkar the embodiment of a secular humble true gentleman.
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