Ao Senden Literature Board (ASLB), Lotha Literature Board and Sümi Literature Board have come out with a number of recommendations and resolutions with the objective of promoting Naga tribal languages and literatures.
The three literature boards held a consultative meet on November 9 at Mokokchung organized by the ASLB and adopted 10-point recommendations/resolutions after a long deliberation inviting the intervention of the concerned authorities.
In order to promote tribal literatures and languages, the three literature boards resolved to request the state government to create the post of language teachers for every government school in the state in line with creation of the post of Hindi teacher and its deployment system. The three boards suggested that, in future, no one should be appointed as language teacher unless they were qualified to teach the concerned languages passing the examinations conducted by the respective Tribal Literature Boards recommended by them. It was also suggested that recommendation/consultation of the respective Literature Boards should be made before appointing new Language Officer/Language Assistant.
Stating that it was immensely important to introduce respective vernacular subject as compulsory subject from lower level to higher secondary level both in government and private schools throughout the state, the three literature boards resolved to appeal the state government to issue directives from the concerned department so that this was implemented beginning from 2011 academic session.
Further, they said it was “highly necessary” that under the three language formulas, teaching of mother tongue subject should be made as second preference (not alternative English) in the schools level and class room teaching for second language (vernacular) should be in mother tongue creating facilities for those non- tribal students who might not like to opt vernacular subject as second language.
They also said that the present rate of grant-in-aid given by the department to the respective literature boards was not encouraging as it was not given on regular basis. They said the amount was too meager which was given in a flat rate without assessing the work load of the literature boards.
Since the work load of many literature boards are becoming heavier than before and their activities are ever increasing year by year, it was resolved to request the department authority to enhance the amount of grant-in-aid and sanction every year to enable the literature boards constituted by state government to function more effectively from now on.
It was suggested that before granting grant-in-aid, the performance level of every literature board be assessed first and the amount of grant-in-aid be given proportionately according to qualitative assessment of the respective literature boards. In this regard, the three boards said every literature board should prepare and submit their budget proposals every year to the concerned department through respective district education officers.
It was also pointed out that the present system of printing of vernacular text books and distribution system by the department was creating a lot of inconvenience not only delay in supply of textbooks and inadequate numbers etc., but creating enormous mistakes in the text books.
In order to deliver required goods to the people on time and to overcome such unwanted mistakes, it was suggested that the printing of school textbooks as approved by the department in vernacular subject be allowed for three communities namely Ao, Lotha and Sümi for which printing cost be sanctioned by the department.
The three boards resolved that the respective literature boards should revised and update the existing school textbooks in consultation with the concerned authority and make the text book available in the market.
They said that the Language officer and language assistant appointed by the government were stationed only in Kohima while their works were lying in their respective districts/villages and that maximum works were carried out by the respective literature boards in the district level. In this regard, they resolved to request the concerned authority to deploy language officer/language assistant to their respective district headquarters from time to time at least one or two weeks time per month so they could assist/monitor respective literature boards for promotion of the respective tribal literatures especially the school text books.
Appreciating the establishment of Institute of World Languages at Kohima, the three literature boards suggested that Nagaland University be moved to establish a full-fledged Center for Indigenous Languages and Research as a part of University programme in order to promote tribal languages and literatures in the region creating facilities to offer Certificate/Diploma and above and carry out continuous research programmes on regular basis.
With regard to a new Naga script and language, the three literature boards said that though there was a need for it, it was “too late rather too early” to have such a scheme that needed further debate with the support of linguistic experts keeping in view that it doesn’t disturb the growth and development of respective indigenous languages and literatures as initiated by the respective literature boards. However, they appreciated the commonly accepted terms of certain words adopted by Naga national workers during the fifties.
Having found the discourse of the meeting “very fruitful and useful,” the three literature boards resolved to continue meeting every year.
Respective board chairman and secretary were entrusted to peruse the matters of these resolution/recommendations. These recommendations and resolutions were endorsed by Sümi Literature Board secretary, H.S. Rotokha, Lotha Literature Board chairman K.R. Murry and Ao Senden Literature Board secretary, Prof. A. Lanu Ao.