Sahitya Akademi is all set to host a two-day tribal literary festival focusing the north-eastern region as part of its annual festival of letters from February 12 to 17 in New Delhi.
Fourteen among the 34 tribal poets attending the festival represent native languages of the north-eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura and Sikkim.
Significant among the languages that will be represented for the first time at the festival include Maram and Mao from Manipur, Nyishi from Arunachal Pradesh and Toto, with only about 300 speakers of the language left in the country and ‘Bhotia’ from Sikkim.
The attempt to ‘Look East’, a departure from usual norm, the Akademi is going to organize the two-day celebration of oral and tribal literature by roping in over 30 tribal poets, many of who represent languages with less than 300 speakers in the country.
This, observers feel, is a deliberate attempt by the BJP-led government in the Centre looking to woo the voters ahead of Assembly elections in Meghalaya and Tripura as well as Nagaland.
The campaign by the saffron brigade in Meghalaya and Tripura bears testimony to the fact that the party is desperate to grab power in the two north-eastern states.