Preserve and promote tribal languages

In what can be termed as a piece of refreshing news, teaching of the Tagin language has started in the schools in the Tagin inhabited areas of Upper Subansiri district. The classes began on 16 June in various schools in the district. For now, the Tagin language is being taught in government schools, but the district administration is encouraging private schools to start teaching Tagin. Hopefully, soon the teaching of other tribal languages too will start in other parts of the state. In April this year, the state government conducted an orientation programme for third language teachers in their respective tribes’ languages/scripts.

About 700 teachers attended the orientation training. The UNESCO has listed all tribal languages of the state as endangered. Some of the languages, especially of the minor tribes, are on the verge of extinction. Languages like Hindi, English and Assamese have dented the tribal languages. In particular, Hindi, which is the lingua franca of the state, is the biggest threat to the very existence of the tribal languages. Today a generation of tribal children is growing up who cannot converse in their own mother tongue and prefer Hindi over tribal languages. The move of the state government to introduce tribal languages in the schools will somewhat help in trying to save the dying tribal languages. However, for now, the tribal languages will be taught only at the secondary level. The state government should try to introduce it from the primary level for it to have maximum impact. For now, let us rejoice in the start of the teaching of the Tagin language in Tagin inhabited areas of the Upper Subansiri district. Hopefully, this will be the start of a new era in the effort to preserve and protect the dying tribal languages of Arunachal Pradesh.