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Mising in language award list - Sahitya Akademi to recognise contribution from community for first time

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By SMITA BHATTACHARYYA
  • Published 16.06.11
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Jorhat, June 15: This year, the Mising community will receive its first Bhasa Samman.

The Sahitya Akademi, India’s highest literary body, will accord recognition to the rich literary traditions of the Mising community by awarding one of the six Bhasa Samman awards to a person from the community.

The groundwork to select such a person was laid at the two-day convention of the Mising Agom Kebang, literary body of the Misings, held in collaboration with the Sahitya Akademi for the first time here.

The convention concluded today.

The secretary of Sahitya Akademi, Delhi, Agrahar Krishna Murthy, said besides promoting the 24 recognised languages, there was a scheme to encourage other languages which were rich in folk songs and lore and may or may not have a script. It would try to bring them on a par with recognised languages.

“Mising is one such language which has a rich literary tradition though it does not have its own script but has adapted the Roman script. Through this convention, we will come to know who has worked in developing the language and literature, and the Bhasa Samman, which carries Rs 1 lakh prize money, will be a recognition of this effort,” Murthy said.

A linguist expert committee, which works within the Akademi, selects the non-recognised languages that have developed sufficiently to merit the award.

Murthy further said initially two Bhasa Samman awards were given annually but now this had grown to six.

“After selecting the communities for the award for one year, the system is to move on to other communities in the next year so that all such languages are given a chance to come up,” he said.

The regional secretary of Sahitya Akademi, Calcutta, Ram Kumar Mukhopadhyay, said the promotion also entailed translation and publication of a book on Mising folk songs into English as well as an ongoing translation into Bengali of another Mising book on folklore and songs which would be published soon.

He further said a book on Ankiya Bhaona by Narayan Chandra Goswami, xatradhikar of Uttar Kamalabari Xatra, would also be translated into Bengali.

A staff of the Calcutta regional office, Aruni Chakravarty, said there was a vast unexplored treasure trove of literature in different languages, which required to be brought into the limelight and understood, so that the entire literature of the country could be enriched.

The general secretary of Mising Agom Kebang, Dipok Kumar Doley, said till date there were only 40 Mising publications on various topics and that 20 more were on the anvil.

“The earliest Mising dictionary was written by an English missionary, John Herbert Lorraine. It was called the Dictionary of Agom Miri Language in 1910 and contained 12,000 words. Till now four dictionaries have been published and the latest contains about 15,000 odd words. Another missionary, J.F. Needham, had prepared Mising grammar in 1886,” he said.

At the two-day convention, papers on Mising people and language by Dipok Doley, bi-linguistic traits in the Mising language by Rajeev Doley and Mising language: A linguistic study by B. Bhaskar Sharma and Jyoti Rekha Hazarika were presented.

The Mising community, which traces its descent from Sino-Burma and had settlements in the Northeast since the 12th century has the second largest Scheduled Tribe population in the state at present, next only to the Bodos.