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School lessons now in Mog

Agartala, Dec. 22: Tripura’s Left Front government will introduce Mog language as a medium of instruction as part of a decision to preserve and protect the language and culture of fringe indigenous communities.

The language will be introduced for Mog students in 37 schools in Jolaibari and Bagafa block areas of Belonia subdivision and Sabroom and Karbook subdivisions of the state.

The language will be taught in Class I from January 2014 and will be gradually introduced till Class V. “The Mog language has no script so it is being introduced in a Bengali script. We have translated the primary school textbook Dipalika, written in Bengali, into Mog language by experts,” said B.K. Acharjee, deputy director of school education in South Tripura.

He said a two-day workshop on how to teach the language at the primary level was held at Jolaibari block community hall on Thursday and Friday. “We have completed recruiting teachers for 36 of the 37 schools to teach the Mog language. Textbooks for students up to Class II are also ready,” said Acharjee.

The president of the Mog Socio-Cultural Organisation, Suechala Mog, said their organisation had demanded the introduction of Mog language in 90 schools, including schools in Mog-dominated areas in Dhalai district. “It is a good beginning. I hope the language will be introduced in schools in all Mog-dominated areas in a phased manner. I thank the Left Front government.”

He also recalled the “martyrdom” of Dhananjay Tripura for introducing the indigenous Kokborok language in 1975.

Suechala said like the Chakmas, whose language is being used as a medium of instruction in 28 schools located in Buddhist Chakma-dominated areas, the Mogs of Tripura also originated in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. “It is our assumption that my brethren, just like the Chakmas, had entered Tripura from the Chittagong Hill Tracts in search of fresh jhum (shifting cultivation) land. Though the exact census figures of 2011 are still unavailable, we are at least 1 lakh in number in Tripura,” said Suechala Mog. He said the Chakmas have an original script, which will be introduced soon for the Chakma language, but Buddhist Mogs do not have a script.

“For the time being we have accepted a Bengali script but our efforts will be on to devise a distinctive script for our language with the help of experts,” said Mog.

In 1964, the Congress-led state government, headed by late Sachindra Lal Singha had passed a State Language Act, recognising only Bengali and English as official languages of the state, disregarding the claim of Kokborok people.

Within a year of coming to power, the Left Front amended the act on January 19, 1979, according recognition to Kokborok as a state language.

Kokborok is, however, mi-red in a script controversy as a large section of indigenous pe-ople prefer the Roman script over the “modified Bengali” script introduced by late linguist Kumud Kundu Chowdhury in the early seventies.

“The language is being studied in both Roman and Bengali scripts but efforts are on by the Autonomous District Council to devise a script for the language. Mog language might also get a new script,” said Monsjai Mog, executive member of the council.

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