The outcry over Meghalaya Governor Ganga Prasad’s Hindi speech on the first day of the Budget Session on Friday took an interesting turn on Monday when Congress legislator Ampareen Lyngdoh spoke in Khasi.
Lyngdoh, a former minister, on Friday, had registered strong protest against the Governor’s Hindi speech and had staged a walk-out from the Assembly on Friday to send across the message that Hindi is an alien language in Meghalaya and an imposition on the tribals.
In a quick tit-for-tat, to everyone’s surprise, the former Congress minister started speaking in the assembly on Monday in Khasi. Lyngdoh continued to speak in a mixture of Khasi and English languages, which the Garo members in the house did not understand.
As Meghalaya has three indigenous tribes – Khasi, Jaintia and Garos, it has always been a tradition in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly to speak in English.
People have already started to react on the social media over Governor Ganga Prasad’s Hindi speech and Ampareen Lyngdoh’s knee-jerk reactions with a lot of enthusiasm.
“Not a healthy trend at all. We are a small state with rich culture. But, by doing this, we are dividing ourselves,” Daniel M. Thangkhiew said in Facebook. Similarly, Benison Kamar said in Khasi, “Biang Bha (Its good).”
The Governor’s use of Hindi can also be seen as a desperate attempt by the BJP to brand this Meghalaya government, which is led by the National People’s Party (NPP), as their own. Or, is it that the Governor cannot speak English?
Interestingly, within 24 hours of the Hindi speech controversy, Governor Ganga Prasad on Saturday insisted that Hindi should be promoted as connecting language across the county.
Talking to a Hindi satellite news channel in Patna, where he participated in a Hindi Sahitya Sammelan Programme, Prasad said, “No one even opposed me speaking Hindi in remote villages. Instead, people admire when I speak in Hindi.”
Prasad, a former Bihar minister was also criticised for calling the Garo Hills ‘Gora Hills’.