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Language to feature in meet

The Asam Sahitya Sabha office in Guwahati

Guwahati, May 8: Assam’s biggest literary organisation, Asam Sahitya Sabha, will seek help from different sections of society on how to implement the Assam Official Language Act, 1960.

The Sabha will hold a two-day convention here from May 25 where representatives of various organisations, literary organisations of different indigenous communities and vice-chancellors of universities who have been working to implement the act, will take part.

The convention will be held simultaneously at Lakhiram Barua Sadan, on the premises of the Sabha’s Guwahati office, Rabindra Bhawan and District Library, Guwahati auditorium.

“We have invited different organisations, university vice-chancellors and representatives of literary organisations of indigenous communities to the convention. We will try to find out ways so that we all can work together to implement the act,” said Prahlad Tasa, the general secretary of the Sabha.

The Sabha is dissatisfied with the alleged lackadaisical attitude of the state government in implementing the act, which was enacted more than half a century ago.

The literary body has very often raised the issue that because of the negligence of the state government that English and Hindi are used more in the state than Assamese.

A few months back, the Sabha launched a campaign in different parts of the state to erase English and Hindi words from billboards and posters as part of their efforts to pressurise the government to implement the language act at the earliest.

It also sent letters to different organisations and government offices urging them to use Assamese.

“We have taken up various programmes since 2007 to put pressure on the state government to implement the act and safeguard the mother tongues of different indigenous communities of the state. We have sent several memoranda to the state government requesting it to take measures to implement the act,” said Tasa.

In June 2012, the Sabha, along with leading literary bodies of indigenous communities, women writers’ association, college teachers’ association, met chief minister Tarun Gogoi and submitted a memorandum demanding to implement the act.

Tasa said although Gogoi promised to fulfil their demand, nothing has happened till date.

“Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 346 and 347 of the Constitution and subject as hereinafter provided, Assamese shall be used for all or any of the official purpose, of the state of Assam provided that the English language, so long as the use thereof is permissible under Article 343 of the Constitution, and thereafter Hindi in place of English, shall also be used for such official purposes of the Secretariat and the offices of the heads of the departments of the state government and in such manner as may be prescribed,” the act said.