Pala says govt cannot mix Khasi language with Jaintia tribe and history

Conrad & Paul defend state anthem

Shillong,Jan 23: Chief Minister Conrad  Sangma and Cabinet Minister Paul Lyngdoh defended the state anthem on Tuesday without Jaintia dialect by saying that Khasi (not Jaintia) and Garo are the  associate official languages besides English being the official language as per the gazette notification issued in 2005.

However, the Jaintia sentiments are beyond the language as Jaintia is recognised as a tribe by the government, Shillong MP Vincent Pala told reporters in response to the stand of the government.


“You cannot mix a language with tribe, history and culture of the people. You can’t deprive people just because of the official language.The district councils are three- Khasi, Jaintia and Garo. So the things are not on language but on representation of the people. Existence of Sixth Schedule is related to Jaintia Hills and when the government gives statehood day awards , they are giving based on Khasi ( U Tirot Sing), Jaintia ( U Kiang Nangbah) and Garo ( Pa Togan Sangma) categories”, Pala said.

He said in state central library, the monument represents three sections- Khasi-Jaintia and Garo. “It is not the question of language, it is a question of tribe  and representation of the people of Meghalaya. Hence, I would say the government should immediately rectify it, otherwise the gap between the tribes will widen”, Pala said.

He pointed out that if the government can justify the appointment of a deputy chief minister representing Jaintia Hills, it can rectify the state anthem.

According to the government, the provisions are based on the Acts, laws, or rules.

“We have gone purely on the basis of that and we have given the languages (in the anthem) on the basis of the official language and associate official language, if we are deviating from that then we don’t have any reasons to give for others, who may demand tomorrow. Tomorrow we have Bhoi saying that we want one word of Bhoi should be there or one word from different tribes that are there they will say please give also – if you are going to justify saying that we can’t they will say you have given to this language or that language and hence justification becomes very difficult for government so government cannot arbitrarily do things”, Conrad reiterated.

Arts and Culture Minister Paul Lyngdoh said the state cabinet is guided by the existing rules, laws and acts that are in place and the official state anthem of Meghalaya has to be based on certain acts and rules adopted by the state.

Paul said the Act clearly stated that the English language shall continue to be the official language of the state of Meghalaya and that the Khasi and Garo languages maybe used as the associate official language for all purposes in the districts, sub divisions and block level offices of the state government located in the districts of the Khasi Jaintia and Garo Hills regions.

“The Act is the basis on which the state anthem has been conceived and composed. It is not somebody’s wish or ill will towards any community but as what was stated by the Shillong MP stating that why Jaintia language was not included in fact this language Bill was introduced in the Assembly  by the Congress led government under the leadership of DD Lapang as chief minister in 2005 when the Congress was in power and the MP at that point was also from the Congress party,” he added.

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