Essence of celebrating Manipuri Language Day

THOUGH its lyricism and precision might not yet have contributed anything substantial to the worlds of philosophy, science and arts in-spite of having an enviable history, it’s a matter of great pride that Manipuri is among the few Indian languages to be included in the 8th Schedule. Notwithstanding sporadic emotional outbursts from certain sections of the society who are seemingly averse to the idea of being associated with Manipur, for reasons best known to them, it would be flimsy claim and pretentious if anyone tries to deny the fact that Manipuri has been the lingua franca of this tiny state since time immemorial. As Manipur has been a multilingual and multicultural society, it is understandable that emotional disenchantment overtakes sanity when mother tongue of a particular community gets recognised and is commonly used as the medium of communication. While cultural and linguistic diversity is something that makes Manipur more colourful and interesting, it has also been a bone of contention. Speakers of different languages might have a different view over mother tongue of a particular community recognised as the state language for it is natural for people to get emotional when his/her unique language or identity gets diluted as everybody loves their mother tongue and every language is indeed unique, beautiful, worth learning and preserving. The large number of indigenous languages and dialects spoken in the state might be one of the reasons for those opposed to the idea of wide usage of Manipuri and inclusion of Meetei Mayek as an educational curriculum.

Notwithstanding the saying that every language is a galaxy and every word is a star, lack of acceptance to Manipuri as the official state language could be comprehended from a recent demand raised by an organisation that either the number of Manipuri items be cut down from the All India Radio programmes or a separate station be established exclusively for other non-Manipuri speakers, aptly signifying that there are no easy solutions to the linguistic and ethnic problems that exist. Leaving aside such sceptics, it was evident during celebration of the 27th Manipuri Language Day on Monday that in-spite of getting the constitutional nod as a scheduled language, Manipuri language still has vast room for improvement and further development to reach the level of other major Indian languages. At different venues of celebration where there was an air of nostalgia, speakers were unanimous that Manipuri language is yet to get the right place it deserved. Fears that the language would die prompted attempts by activists and politicians, the former in particular, to launch vigorous movement to revive it and make the authorities stand up and listen to genuine voice of the people. When an ancient language is on the verge of dying; Manipuri sadly was facing such a dire situation on account of native tongue getting gradually diluted, it is foreseeable that someone stands up and shoulder the responsibility to neutralise the threat, which in the context of Manipuri language was the students’ body – AMSU. Though the movement spearhead was technically bereft of a definite strategy to resurrect it, the overwhelming involvement of the state masses to demand inclusion of the native language showcased power of the people which all language and script proponents must respect by shedding off their differences and endeavour for further refinement of both the language and the script.

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