Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Saturday proposed a three-month course for those willing to study the dialects and languages of different communities of the state, while observing that it will encourage interaction among the people and help in building unity and nationalism.
Biren was speaking at the state-level celebration of the 31st Manipuri Language Day at the auditorium of Maharaja Chandrakriti, Palace Compound, Imphal on Saturday.
To safeguard the indigenous communities of Manipur, he had directed the department concerned to start a short-term course to learn different local dialects of various communities, including Kuki dialect and Tangkhul dialect, he said.
Biren also assured that the funding for stipend will be provided from the Planning department.
He then compared the present condition of the Meitei community to that of the endangered Sangai.
He paid respect to those who were involved in the movement for inclusion of the Manipuri Language in the 8th Schedule of India.
“There are not many good published works of our history, on our forefathers’ struggles,” he said.
He further appealed to intellectuals, scholars, historians, etc of the land to do the needed research and to publish their work based on truth and facts. He stressed on the need to protect what has been left by the ancestors.
“We have to safeguard, protect the indigenous land, identity and language. We need to educate the younger and future generations of our history, nationalism, nation-building concept, the obstacles faced by the forefathers, etc,” he said.
He expressed concern that many non-locals have started publishing various books based on Manipuri history with irrelevant information and they could be misinterpreted among various ethnic communities with wrong information.
The state government will form a committee to monitor such historic books before they are published to control such activities, he said. He also proposed schemes to develop local language dictionaries and help in developing and protecting the languages and dialects.
To make the people become more aware of the historic events of Manipur, the state government has started the work to produce films on the historic event and figures of Manipur, such as the ‘Seven Years Devastation’ and the life history of Maharaja Kulachandra.
The history of Manipur will be shown to the people with the help of the movie which is to be produced with state film makers in collaboration with a filmmaker from Mumbai, Biren added.
Education minister, Th Basanta Kumar Singh who is also chairman of the celebration committee said that Manipuri language is the third largest spoken language among the Northeastern states next to Bengali and Assamese. However, UNESCO had declared that Manipuri language was in a vulnerable stage, he said.
He said most of the youths have been neglecting Manipuri language from speaking it at public places other than at their residences. This could be a factor for the language to become vulnerable, he added.
The government has been continuing its efforts to include Manipuri language as the 7th classical language of the country, he added.
MP Rajya Sabha Leishemba Sanajaoba, attending as a guest of honour said that the matter concerning the promotion of Manipuri language was tabled on the Parliamentary floor with the guidance of chief minister N Biren Singh.
With cooperation from the Central leaders and state leaders, the Central government has given a positive response regarding the inclusion of Manipuri language as 7th classical language of the country, he added.
He further said that most of the students while appearing at competitive examination had been facing problems in choosing Manipuri language as they were instructed to write the examination in Bengali script instead of Meitei mayek. He had urged the officials concerned to include the option of Meitei Mayek in addition to Bengali script as Manipuri language, he said.
Works Minister Govindas Konthoujam also took part in the function as a guest of honour.
The programme began with a state song ‘Sana Leibak Manipur’ which was written by lyricist late B Jayenta Kumar Sharma. The song was performed by artistes of AMMIK at the auditorium. The participants including the dais members stood up from their seats in honour of the state song.
The celebration committee comprises of different 17 local organisations which included Manipuri Sahitya Parishad; The Cultural Forum Manipur; Naharol Sahitya Premee Samiti; Manipuri Language Development Committee; EPATHOUKOK; LEIKOL; SATHOULUP; IMAKHOL; Manipur State Sumang Leela Council; Writers' Forum Manipur; Manipuri Literary Society; AMMIK; Film Forum Manipur; Arts Society Manipur; Theatre Centre Manipur; Patriotic Writers' Forum and Writers' Union.