IMPHAL, Oct 21: A team of the Thadou Students’ Association, General Headquarters (TSA-GHQ) met Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh on October 19 and submitted a representation objecting Kuki Literature Society, Manipur (KLSM)’s alleged secret proposal submitted to the Government of Manipur for recognition of the Kuki tribal dialect in schools up to Class-VIII, conveyed a statement issued by TSA Ghqs secretary general James Haokip.
A memorandum stated that the Education Minister has approved the proposal and the Chief Minister has also agreed to place the matter before the Cabinet.
It also stated that Kuki population in Manipur is a meagre 28,306 with 55 villages and 55 schools.
TSA objects the proposal in the strongest term for there is no Kuki dialect/language as such, and Kuki is a generic term, originally generally referred to hill tribal peoples of Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh, for various related or unrelated ethnic groups of peoples and has no particular dialect or language, whereas Thadou is an indigenous tribe of Manipur and a specific group of people with distinct language/dialect, traditions, costumes, culture, customs and identity, it asserted.
The history of Thadou language has been recorded since the 13th century and Thadou literature and grammar as far back as 1857. There are a number of publications on Thadou literature and grammar and a list has been attached to the representation.
The name of the language spoken by the Thadous and the name of the tribe has always been Thadou since time immemorial. However, a section of people with vested interest within Thadou tribe, speaking the same dialect/language (Thadou), falsely claim the name of the dialect/language as Kuki, instead of Thadou, and eventually the matter landed in the Court.
Following a ruling of the Guwahati High Court, the Government of Manipur issued an order dated 12/05/1987 to the effect that the name of the dialect/language shall henceforth be known as ‘Thadou-Kuki’ for the purpose of literature or Major Indian Language (MIL) subject until further orders. Thadou-Kuki has been offered as an MIL subject from Class-VIII up to graduation level.
Thadou-Kuki Literature Committee is the only legitimate body responsible for the advancement of Thadou literature and language. The Governor of Manipur issued an order on August 30 this year whereby Thadou-Kuki Literature Committee was re-constituted with new members as recommended by the Thadou Inpi General Headquarters, the apex body of Thadou tribe.
Another literature committee for MIL subject for the same language/dialect (Thadou) under a different name is absolutely unnecessary, and if there is any, it is illegitimate or fraudulent and should be treated as null and void, it asserted. Any arrangement for a new Thadou-Kuki MIL subject has to be within the parameter of Thadou- Kuki Literature Committee with the approval of Thadou Inpi. Otherwise, it would be unlawful, breach of Court and Government orders and it would amount to inciting communal tension and violence, added the memorandum.
Thadou, allegedly the largest tribe in Manipur, has been recognised as a Scheduled Tribe by Government of India on October 29, 1956, and its population in Manipur alone is 2.16 lakh as per 2011 Manipur Census.
There is a slot of daily programme in Thadou named ‘All India Radio Thadou Program’ for Thadou tribe at All India Radio, Imphal station for the whole of Manipur and at Churachandpur station for the district.
It then demanded that the Government of Manipur reject the proposal submitted by Kuki Literature Society Manipur, or any other body for recognition of Kuki tribal dialect/language and maintain status quo.
Should the Government fail to meet the demand, then the Government would be held solely responsible for any untoward incidents arising out of the issue.
“We trust that the Government of Manipur will uphold justice and fairness and take up necessary action to avert any undesirable situation in relation to the issue”, it added.
Source: The Imphal Free Press