June 6: The Gauhati University unit of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) today submitted a memorandum to vice-chancellor Okhil Kumar Medhi demanding use of Assamese on signboards on the university campus.
The union informed Medhi that nameplates and other signs on the university campus were written only in English, neglecting the Assamese language.
“According to the Assam Official Language Act, 1960, using Assamese in all institutions in the state is mandatory. But we have observed that only English is being used on the nameplates and other signs of the administrative building and other departments. We request you to use Assamese on all signboards,” said the memorandum signed by GU AASU unit president Bhabajit Bezbaruah and general secretary Dharam Ranjan Roy.
A four-member delegation met the vice-chancellor around noon today, which included the president and general secretary of the AASU unit of University Law College, Mriganka Saikia and Debabrata Saikia respectively, besides Roy and Bezbaruah.
“The vice-chancellor has assured us he would ask the registrar to take necessary steps in this regard. He said it would take some time but Assamese would be gradually included on the signboards and nameplates in the administrative building as well as other departments,” said Roy.
He said Assamese was missing from signboards in the Women’s Studies Research Centre, regional centre of the Indian Council of Historical Research and the economics department.
Roy said, “We have no objection if English is used on the nameplates and signboards. But at the same time, Assamese should not be neglected.”
He said they will “wait and watch” to see whether the vice-chancellor fulfils his promises. He said Medhi’s response to their demands was positive.
“In fact, he praised us for bringing the matter to his notice. Now, we will wait and watch whether he fulfils his promise or not,” Roy said.
The union’s appeal has come at a time when the Asam Sahitya Sabha has intensified its agitation across the state for the use of Assamese in government and private organisations.
Despite being an influential body, the organisation has failed to get a good response either from the state government or from NGOS.
It must be noted that most of the signboards and billboards in the city are in English only.