The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly on Thursday approved a resolution asking the Centre to include Khasi and Garo languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
The two languages are understood, spoken and used by the over 23 lakh Khasi and Garo tribals and are considered the associate official languages in the state.
The resolution tabled by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma was passed by the assembly unanimously.
“This house resolves that the Government of India may be requested to take necessary steps as early as possible to include the Khasi and Garo languages in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution of India,” the resolution said.
Tabling the resolution, Conrad said, it has been a long pending demand.” There is no opposition to this move and all people in the state have been waiting for this resolution...”
As Speaker Donkupar Roy put the resolution to vote for approval, there were unanimous ‘Ays’ followed by thunderous thumps by MLAs supporting the resolution.
Backing the claim, the resolution said both the languages have rich and unique traditions which are different from other languages in India.
There are nearly 14 lakh Khasi speakers and over 9 lakh Garo speaking people in the state (Census 2011). These people are facing hurdles as the languages are not a medium of instruction in the higher secondary and higher education, according to the resolution.
Since 1900, the Khasi language has been recognised by Calcutta University as a subject up to the entrance level and degree level since 1919, while the scholars in the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) were permitted to present their theses and dissertations in Khasi since 1981.
As for the Garo language, the Calcutta University recognised it as one of the Modern Indian Languages at Matriculation level in 1923 while the Gauhati University recognised it in 1947 and the NEHU introduced the language in 1996.