Arunachal Tribal languages facing serious threat of extinction

[highlight highlightColor=”highlight-salmon” ]Image courtsey: Zolar Yuto[/highlight]

The tribal languages of Arunachal Pradesh are becoming endangered. Over 82 tribal languages spoken in the state are on the verge of being extinct, according to the survey and fact-findings published in the state English daily Arunachal Times.

The growing influence of Hindi language among the majority of young Arunachalee tribal today is causing a serious threat to the indigenous tribal languages. As the state’s younger generation prefer to converse in Hindi, even at their own home and many of them do not know how to speak in their own native dialects.

According to the 2009 UNESCO Atlast of the World’s Languages in Danger data, 26 languages of Arunachal Pradesh have been identified as endangered. In the list, smaller communities like Meyor and Bugun face the biggest threat. Even languages of largely populated tribal groups like Adi, Galo and Nyishi have been categorized as unsafe by UNESCO.

List of endangered languages of Arunachal

(List of Endangered Languages of Arunachal Pradesh)

If the issue is completely ignored, or if the present trend continues, most of the tribal languages will get extinct in the next 50 years, says linguistic experts.

[highlight highlightColor=”highlight-blazeorange” ]Hinduinization of State[/highlight]

After 1962 Indo-China war. Having tasted bad defeat at the hands of Chinese in the war and facing political rebellion in other NE states like Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur. Then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru initiated the process of Indianizing the state of Arunachal. Where a large number of Hindi speakers along with Hindi teachers was pushed into the state and with that the process of slow death of tribal culture began.

Another major step which contributed to the worsening of situation, the government of Arunachal in the 80s introduced Hindi as main language right from the primary school level under the directive of Central government.

MORE: Solutions for Survival of Arunachal Tribal Languages

While other North Eastern ethnic groups like Mizo, Naga, Meitie, Kuki, Khasi, Boro, Mishing etc have managed to safeguard their language and culture.

Sadly the sense of patriotism towards own culture and language is missing in Arunachal. “It is great to learn Hindi and English as these are official languages spoken in India. But one needs to preserve their mother tongue and should be proud of their culture. Too much of outside influence is diminishing the great tribal culture and tradition of Arunachal,” said Prof Scott C Delancey, head, department of Linguistic, Oregon University, USA who recently visited Rajiv Gandhi University, Doimukh.

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