Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Sunday exhorted the state’s youth to learn Hindi to be able to “cross the language barrier” and get employed in other parts of India, lamenting that Hindi does not get the attention that it deserves in many Northeast Indian states.
Speaking at the inauguration of a new building of the Shillong centre of the Central Institute of Hindi, Sangma said in Hindi, “In many states in the Northeast, Hindi does not get adequate attention… As long as we are not able to cross the language barrier, employment will be a problem… Hindi will put you (the youth) in an advantageous position.”
Sangma, whose National People’s Party which is a part of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance, also requested the Centre to include Garo and Khasi languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. Describing local languages as the “identity” of the people of the region, he pitched for the use of technology for the preservation of local languages.
Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who was also present at the occasion, said, “What do the youth need? Pride? Self-esteem? For that, one needs to be economically independent, which comes with a job that needs a person to understand things.”
He added that the National Education Policy, 2020 lays stress on the mother tongue and Indian languages.
Sangma’s comments on Hindi come days after Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah, requesting a Mizo-speaking chief secretary, asserting that the state’s top bureaucrat will not be efficient without a working knowledge of Mizo.