Save tribal languages

Chief Minister Pema Khandu while attending the Sarok festival of the Aka community recently announced that the state government will establish an “Aka dialect and preservation centre” in order to preserve the Aka language and culture. It is a welcome step and, if properly implemented, will definitely help to save the Aka language. However, the situation is so bad that the government may have to open such centres for all the tribes of the state in order to save the dying tribal languages. Today almost all the tribal languages of state are dying a slow and painful death.
A large chunk of the tribal population cannot converse in their mother tongues and prefer to speak mostly in Hindi and, in some cases, in English. The UNESCO has declared a majority of the tribal languages as endangered. If this trend continues for another few years, most of the tribal languages will be lost. Unfortunately, the successive governments in the state have not taken any drastic steps to stop the slide. The politicians, particularly the lawmakers, always speak about the importance of preserving tribal languages but never initiate any serious step at the policy level to truly save the languages. Their speeches remain only rhetoric. The present government under the leadership of Chief Minister Pema Khandu is also committing the same mistake. The identity of any community is through its language. If we fail to protect the dying tribal languages, with it our tribal identity too will die.