SHILLONG: The Union Government on Thursday has expressed concerns over recent reports released by UNESCO which stated that over 27 languages in India are on the verge of extinction.
“India is a diverse nation with over 700 tribes out of which 500 of them speaks separate dialects but it is sad to note that that 27 languages in India are almost extinct,” Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram said while addressing a two-day international seminar on ‘Understanding the tribes of Asia’ at Synod College Shillong here on Thursday.
The seminar was organized by Synod College, Shillong in collaboration with PA Sangma Foundation at Synod College here in Shillong.
Advocating on the need to preserve the protect the tribal languages of the country, Oram said that the fact that 27 languages in India are facing extinction threats, the government is very concerned and it is adopting ways and means to preserve and protect these languages through documentation and the likes.
Meanwhile, stating that language has no boundary, Oram said that some languages spoken in India are similar to those spoken in other neighboring countries like Nepal and Bangladesh. “North East in particular speaks similar languages as spoken by communities living in neighbouring countries. The beauty is that though nations are separated by boundaries, yet a language is something that transgresses all man-made boundaries,” he said.
Earlier, a detail presentation on the early tribal society of NE India was presented by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Burdwan, West Bengal Prof Smriti Kumar Sarkar. Highlighting the objective of this seminar, Prof Sarkar said that there is a need to identify common technological entry points and to identify the connectivity between tribes inhabiting in a particular geographical set up even as he maintained that the region is too diverse yet less exposed.
“The problems faced by many scholars in as far as documenting the region concerned is the fact that the region is less exposed to historical events, the reason being poor connectivity and lack of lower level sources,” he maintained.
Stating that the North East Region is the most diverse region in India ‘culturally’, Prof Sarkar informed that the region is home to nearly 200 fascinating tribes with multiple languages, dialects and religions.
Speaking on the sideline of the event, Tura MP and chairman of the seminar, Conrad K Sangma said that this is the first time that an international seminar focusing on the tribes of Asia is being held in the city adding that this is a significant step in the backdrop of a growing need to connect to the tribes of India and the neighbouring countries even as he maintained that not much study has been done on the tribals of India and NE in particular.