New laws’ advocacy should take tribal languages into account


Arunachal Pradesh is a multi-ethnic state with a variety of languages. The speakers of major languages of the state according to the 2011 census are Nyishi (20.74%), Adi (17.35%, including Adi and Galo), Nepali (6.89%), Tagin (4.54%), Bhotia (4.51%), Wancho (4.23%), Assamese (3.9%), Bangla (3.65%), Hindi (3.45%), Chakma (3.40%), Apatani (3.21%), Mishmi (3.04%), Tangsa (2.64%), Nocte (2.19%), Bhojpuri (2.04%), and Sadri (1.03%).

It’s easy to see that the tribal languages account for the majority. The implementation of the new laws – the Indian Judicial Code, the Indian Civil Defence Code, and the Indian Evidence Act – is a great move and should benefit all people. But in Arunachal, the new laws have been translated only into English and Hindi, without taking into account the languages of the indigenous tribes.

Not everyone can understand English or Hindi. I think areas where indigenous tribes are concentrated should publish versions in indigenous tribal languages, or select officials who are fluent in indigenous tribal languages and have a command of English or Hindi to receive training on the new laws, so that all communities can be covered.

Aarna Gupta