An official resolution tabled by Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma to urge the Central government to include Khasi and Garo languages in the Eighth Schedule was unanimously passed in the Meghalaya Assembly on Thursday.
After moving the resolution for passing by members of the House, Conrad termed it a historic moment as both sides of the House (ruling and opposition) were united on the issue.
He also said that every citizen of the state has been wanting this to happen and it has been pending for long.
Later the Speaker, Donkupar Roy called for voting in the House after the resolution was passed unanimously through a voice vote.
Prior to passing the resolution, Congress MLA from Mawsynram, H.M Shangpliang thanked the state government for tabling the resolution and said, “We will go all out to demand from the Centre to ensure that the two languages are included in the Constitution.”
Opposition Congress legislator, P.T. Sawkmie also lauded the government for bringing the resolution and said that the demand to include Khasi and Garo languages in the Eighth Schedule should materialize because “when a language survives, the race survives.”
The resolution said that the Khasi and Garo languages have fulfilled many of the required criteria. “Languages not having a script of their own also have been recognized such as Bodo. Hence, Khasi and Garo languages can be recognized,” the resolution said.
Khasi belongs to the Austro-Asiatic family in the Mon-Khmer group. It is widely spoken in Meghalaya and in parts of Assam and Bangladesh. The only language belonging to this family which has been included in the Eighth Schedule so far is Santali.
The Khasi Authors’ Society said that according to the 2011 census, there are 14,31,344 people in India who speak Khasi. Khasi, as a written language, has completed 176 years.
Khasi got due recognition from the Calcutta University upto the entrance level since 1900, and at the degree level since 1919 in the same university. The language is being taught from the primary school level up to the PhD level.
According to the census 2011, Garo has a language population of 9,36,496.
Garo belongs to the Tibets-Burman group of languages. At post graduate level, Garo was introduced as a subject in 1996, but it was recognised as Major Indian Language by the Guwahati University when it was established in 1947 and at a pre-university level in 1969.