Second language status for Santhali, Bengali demanded


Ranchi : The demand for second language status to Santhali (a tribal language) and Bengali has gained momentum in Jharkhand after the state government notified Urdu as the second language on the eve of Ramzan.

Support TwoCircles

Several tribal and Bengali associations have slammed the government’s move, describing it as a “political gimmick”.

“It is indeed sad other languages are being accorded status of second language in the state,” said Ram Dayal Munda, former vice-chancellor of Ranchi University and a tribal leader.

“In Jharkhand, tribal languages are ignored and the development is not good for the tribal people,” he said.

Munda Tuesday met Chief Minister Madhu Koda and demanded inclusion of all nine tribal languages in the second language category.

Santhali is among the nine languages spoken in the state, where tribals constitute 27 percent of the 27 million population.

The Adivasi Dharam Parisad held a meeting Wednesday and demanded inclusion of tribal languages in the second language category.

“We will boycott all ministers if tribal languages are not included in the second language category,” said Mangra Oran, a member of Adivasi Dharam Parisad.

Even the Bengali associations have stepped up their demand. The Congress has also extended support to the Bengali-speaking people.

The Jharkhand Mahila Congress Wednesday demonstrated near Birsa Chowk in Ranchi against non-inclusion of Bengali in the second language category.

“We welcome the move to accord Urdu the second language status, but Bengali should also be included in the list,” said Pratibha Pandey, former president of Jharkhand Mahila Congress. The Jharkhand Bangla Samittee also participated in the demonstration.

“Politics is the main driving force behind accordance of second language status to Urdu. Bengali speaking people in the state are many more than those speaking Urdu,” said Dipankar Banerjee, a member of the samittee.

According to 1991 census, 10.06 percent of people in the state speak Bengali while only 6.75 percent speak Urdu.

“My government had initiated the process to accord second language status to languages spoken by one per cent people in the state. The Koda government wants to take political mileage by according Urdu second language status,” said Arjun Munda, former chief minister and BJP leader.

Reacting on the issue, Jharkhand United Progressive Alliance (UPA) convener and Jharkhand Mukti Morch (JMM) chief Shibu Soren said, “Bangla and Santhali will be included in the list of second language. The process has been started and the state government will notify the second language status to these two languages soon.”