Efforts are underway for inclusion of Khasi and Garo languages, widely spoken in Meghalaya, in the eight schedule of the Constitution of India.

This was informed by chief minister of Meghalaya Conrad Sangma on Wednesday.

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma was speaking at the 61st session of the Bodo Sahitya Sabha in Tamulpur district of Assam on Wednesday.

“In terms of preservation of languages of tribes and communities, Meghalaya too is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring the inclusion of Khasi and Garo (languages) in the Eight Schedule,” said Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma.

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He added: “Language is our identity to a tribe and a community and plays a great role in national integration.”

“Though from two different tribes, Bodo and Garo languages are alike and I am glad to share this beautiful similarity, which only shows how tight-knit the Northeast really is,” the Meghalaya chief minister further said.

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma also said that inclusion of languages belonging to different tribes and communities in the eight schedule of the Constitution will strengthen national integration.

The Meghalaya chief minister said that languages of different tribes and communities of the Northeast region should be promoted and protected for best interest of the people.

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The Eighth Schedule to the constitution of India lists the official languages of India.

Although there are hundreds of languages spoken across the country, the eighth schedule recognises a total of 22 languages as the official languages.

Meanwhile, Khasi is an Austroasiatic language spoken primarily in Meghalaya by the Khasi people. It is also spoken by a sizeable population in Assam and Bangladesh.

Although most of the 1.6 million Khasi speakers are found in Meghalaya, the language is also spoken by a number of people in the hill districts of Assam bordering with Meghalaya and by a sizeable population of people living in Bangladesh, close to the Indian border.

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Khasi has been an associate official language of some districts within Meghalaya since 2005, and as of May 2012, was no longer considered endangered by UNESCO.

There are demands to include this language to the Eighth schedule to the constitution of India.

On the other hand, Garo is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken in India in the Garo Hills districts of Meghalaya, some parts of Assam, and in small pockets in Tripura.

It is also spoken in certain areas of the neighbouring Bangladesh.

According to the 2001 census, there are about 8,89,000 Garo speakers in India alone; another 1,30,000 are found in Bangladesh.

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