GUWAHATI: “In Assam, the Assamese language will get the first priority. Assamese is the official language in Assam and there will be no compromise with the Assamese language,” said Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma while trying to allay fears in Assam after Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement at the 37th meeting of the Parliamentary Official Language Committee in New Delhi recently.
Chief Minister Sarma said, “Assamese is the mother tongue and medium of instruction in Assam. If the government makes provision to teach Hindi in schools, why should there be objection? Arunachal Pradesh has approved Hindi as the medium of instruction and Nagaland has appointed Hindi teachers in schools. Assam has already prepared the four-language policy after discussion with the Axam Xahitya Xabha (AXX) and other tribal Sahitya Sabhas. However, we have not yet implemented the language policy following objections from the Bodo Sahitya Sabha (BSS).
“Amit Shah had spoken about giving elementary knowledge of Hindi to students up to Class X. He never said that people should give up education in their mother tongue. In fact, the New Education Policy (NEP) advocates that medium of instruction until at least Grade 5 should be in the mother tongue. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken of imparting medical education in Assamese during a programme in Tezpur. In this connection, a university is working on coming up with medical papers in Assamese. Dedication towards Hindi language does not imply that we are moving away from our mother tongue.”
The Chief Minister was talking to media persons during a programme to release the poll manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the forthcoming Guwahati Municipal Polls (GMC) today. He added, “The Centre has not given any instructions regarding language, and will never do so as language is a State subject. Shah had only suggested that students should learn Hindi till Class X. There was once a debate in the Assam Assembly regarding the need to learn the Arabic language. There was no hue and cry over this but there was an uproar over Shah’s comment on learning the Hindi language.”