The simultaneous push to include the Garo language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution is hurting the Khasi language’s chances, Shillong MP Vincent Pala has told Highland Post.
Stating that the Khasi Authors Society (KAS) met all the criteria required by the Union Home Ministry for the language’s inclusion, Pala said, “I don’t know how well prepared the Garo authors are to meet the criteria of the ministry. I think the push for the Garo and Khasi languages should be done separately because, even if we are from the same state, the two languages differ and Garo has their own language, authors, writers, etc.”
Eighth Schedule inclusion allows prospective candidates to sit the Union Public Service Commission exams in the Khasi language. It will also help entitle Khasi speakers to central academy awards, including grants and funding.
The MP said that he has raised the issue of Khasi’s inclusion several times in his previous term and even prepared legislation and met concerned ministers but just at the time when the cause was gaining momentum and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had given his assurance to Pala on the matter, there was a demand to back Eighth Schedule inclusion for Garo and that mixed up the issue.
“If we pass a resolution for both languages’ inclusion at the same time in the house, then if one fails to meet the criteria the cause of both weakens,” he stated.
The MP also pushed for both Khasi and Garo to be used more in the state Assembly, as he had faced some questions about whether they truly deserved recognition in the Eighth Schedule given that English is practically the only language used in the legislature.
“I again suggest that just like in Parliament, Meghalaya should equip itself with translators so that the members can speak in Khasi, Garo or English in the Assembly,” he said.