The influential students’ body of Meghalaya, the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) on Monday asserted that it is about time for the Khasi legislators of the State to speak in Khasi language, their mother tongue, in the state Assembly. This, it said will pave the way for inclusion of the language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
KSU president, Lambokstarwell Marngar asserted the matter while speaking at a function to commemorate Khasi poet, Soso Tham’s 77th death anniversary at State Central Library, now known as the U Soso Tham auditorium in Shillong on Monday.
Marngar recalled the literary contributions of the poet to the Khasi language.
“We will support the Khasi Authors’ Society’s demand to recognize Khasi language in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution,” the KSU president said.
Congress MP from Shillong Vincent Pala had recently informed that he was suggested by former Finance Minister in the UPA government P Chidambaram that Khasi language has to be spoken in the Meghalaya Assembly as a first step towards its recognition.
Hynniewtrep Youth Council general secretary, Robert Kharjahrin said the Khasi community should love and preserve their language while looking up to Soso Tham as an inspiration. Members of People’s Democratic Front also paid homage to Soso Tham.
The party’s president, Ivanbanlum Marbaniang drew reference from Soso Tham’s poems of U Diengbilat (The English Pine) and Sah beit ia u prek, (Drive the nail aright), stressing the words of wisdom in the poems.
On the bard’s 77th death anniversary on Monday, Sylvanus Lamare, state representation to the Sahitya Akademi, referred to the great poet’s words to present a picture of the modern time and the vanishing traditional values.
Speaking on Soso Tham’s life and works which symbolized his prophetic ability, Lamare expressed concern that the number of students opting for Khasi MIL has reduced drastically in classes X, XI, XII and degree level.
“Our territory is becoming smaller and our boundaries unresolved. Our customs and traditions are being challenged and there is no real protection,” he added.