Post Mortem

Make MIL policy a vibrant tool of preserving language

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 3/6/2019 12:10:03 PM IST

 The govt. of Nagaland has enthusiastically promulgated the tri lingual policy known as MIL local language through its cabinet Memo No. CAB-2/2013 dated 20-04-2017 to promote endangered Naga tribal languages. However sadly from the start in 2018 several hitch mired the policy by way of teething problems in its nascent stage in the form of misprinting, haphazard translation from English to local dialect, uncommon phrase especially scientific modern terms, misinterpretation and mixing up with others dialects that ultimately led to reprinting of many tribe’s textbooks. For instance class I textbook of Zeme was generously laced up with Konyak dialect and accordingly I’ve promptly submitted a complain letter to the Director of school education Nagaland. Comprehending the incongruous situation, the Director called for a combine meeting including me and the chairman D.S.Namrei Zeme Literature Committee along with the various L.O.s (Language Officers). There, the Director nonchalantly asked the L.O.s if their textbooks were correctly printed, then only many LO.s answered in negative. Infuriated with their silence for thus long, the Director almost lost his cool saying “Had it not been for the Zeme literature committee, you all are going to teach your children with those rotten textbooks, is it not” to which they couldn’t substantiate any clarification. Now, the textbooks for various tribes are being reprinted but still there are some grey areas of technical problems which I would like to put on record for further rumination by the concerned authority.

Points to ponder upon;

1. Under RTE (Right to Education) act of Nagaland 2009 implemented in 2012 Jan. promised to free and compulsory education to all age of 6-14, whereas, there are schools where in a class the enrollment is heavily mixed up with several sub tribes with sub multiple languages in variable accent such as Zeme, Rongmei, Liangmai and Kukis whose dialects are unintelligible to each other’s, whereas, here every sub tribe would opt for his/her mother tongue and invariably it was cited by some private schools that it is beyond their mean to appoint so many teachers for a class, that will translate in to 4X8=32 language teachers or should we arbitrarily impose Zeme dialect under Zeme jurisdiction and vice versa. Similarly, this problem could also be with others tribe as well and whereas, as per the protocol of the standing guidelines of the state govt. look impractical in the angle of teaching. Taking in to consideration of this complex situation we had a combine meeting of Zeme Council Nagaland and Zeme Literature Committee Nagaland on the 15th Feb. 2019 at Jalukie in the residence of Dr. Tumda Newme and had resolved to enforce Zeme linguistic entity under Zeme jurisdiction irrespective of other sub tribes in a school. However, as per my observation it can directly hurt the sentiment of other sub tribe and create alienation between the sub tribes. And, whereas if given to exercise option between Zeme and English, majority would opt for English as to defeat the very purpose of MIL studies.

2. Whereas, as per the govt. notification vide order No. DSE/ESTT/LANG/1-56/2015 DATED Kohima, the 10th May 2017 the promulgation and sanction was only for Class I to class VIII. Nevertheless, it was in 2008 the school education department invited all the tribal literature committee/boards’ meeting and resultantly the then commissioner & secretary of school education Nagaland Smti. Z.Banuo directed all the literature boards/committees to prepare textbooks in their own vernacular up to class X accordingly many literature committees printed their textbooks at their own expenses just to turn down by the NBSE at the last moment has created a very sorry records. Thereafter, as a matter of fact in 2012 some among the 13 aggrieved tribe who by that time studied up to class VIII could not proceed to the next higher level of class IX in the year 2013 because of the state govt. apathy attitude. And consequent upon the cold shoulder of the state govt. the Association of Nagaland Literature Board approached the authority concern for equal and just treatment at par with the major tribes i.e. Ao, Sema, Lotha and Angami who were allowed to pursue in their own language up to graduation and beyond but the authority prepare to turn a deaf ear to the rest of the tribes speaks volume of indifference on the part of the state govt of Nagaland. Here putting things into rationalization; a student who completed class VIII standard in MIL could not proceed further to the next higher level, would ultimately considered the subject as unviable since he has no chance to write his metric exam in MIL subject and thus thereby the very purpose has been badly defeated by its own shortcoming. Therefore, it is pertinent on the part of the state govt. to sanction up to class X MIL from the academic session of 2020 onwards as to streamline for the next higher standard.

3. No wonder, district tribal literature committee/board/association being a vital organ in harmonizing local dialects and its structures, the govt. authority too acknowledged the work of various literature committees for necessary editing and correction of the final text and proofing. However, in most case after the heavy exercise carried out by the respective literature committees, certain misprint frequently crops up from time to time it is observed. Therefore, in order to avoid unnecessary misprint, delay of printing, relay works it would be much easier and better for respective tribal literature committee to get the textbook printed at their own convenient. This can be done with the same amount allotted to the contractor/publishers and invariably the responsible would be entirely shouldered by the respective literature committees should there be any discrepancy or misprinting. Thereafter, the printed textbooks shall be directly handed over to the district education office who shall certify the receipt to the committee.

4. That the folk tale folk lore, topics for the various standards should be educative and interesting to the creative mine of the children and write up should be invited by the respective literature committee/board from the intellectuals of that community. Similarly, in order to develop local dialect, vernacular acceleration be encouraged from the grassroots level with certain incentives and awards for those genre accepted by the govt. of Nagaland. And to achieve this lingual orientation, the state govt. should from time to time sanction/allocate a lump sum amount to the various tribal literature committee/board/association. This is because, despite of heavy burden for procuring of office infrastructures such as laptop, desktop, printers, stationeries, conducting seminar and editing of school textbooks where most tribal literature committees are entirely depending on goodwill contribution from their own community but for how long can we go begging in this way when the state govt. has bright vision and enough resources.

5. That, for creation of teachers’ post for the local language subject MIL, post should be created not only for the govt. schools but for all the recognized private schools as well in the state at par with the Hindi teachers in the state. Similarly, conducting of TET (Teacher eligibility test) in local language be taken up by the respective literature committee/board and certify to the successful candidate, which will be accredited as the main criteria for MIL subject teacher. However, candidates who had cleared the B.ed shall be allowed to appear for TET as per the standing manual and guidelines of the state govt..

Therefore, in the context of this write up, other literature committees as well may come forward with corrective measure especially from the 13 aggrieved tribes to make the MIL policy a vibrant tool of preserving language and lingual probity for the greater glory of our posterity.

N. Haisoyi Ndang 

(General secretary Zeme 

literature committee Nagaland & joint secretary Zeme literature board North East India.) 

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