Itanagar: In a major boost to promote local dialects, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu launched eight textbooks of local dialects in Itanagar on the occasion of Teachers’ Day.

Releasing the books, Khandu said, “Saving language is preserving our culture and roots. Our root should not be forgotten and our unique identity should be kept alive.”

The dialects covered across the eight textbooks include Nyishi, Wancho, Galo, Tagin, Kaman, Taraon, Idu and Tangsa. These will be used as third-language textbooks in upper primary schools from the next academic year.

“Most of our younger generation do not speak their mother tongue even at home. Having a local dialect textbook will not only help these children to learn their dialect but also to preserve it. And if we do not preserve it, who will,” the CM said.

Khandu congratulated the community-based organisations (CBOs) of these eight tribes for preparing the textbooks and the State Council of Educational Research and Training for coordinating the works and invited all other tribes in Arunachal to contribute with their dialects.

Vice president of Tangsa Script Development Committee Kamjai Taism said, “More than 600 languages in the country are on the verge of becoming non-existent. Nearly 250 languages have become extinct in the last 50 years. The release of our local dialects textbooks gives us hope and a reason to celebrate.”

On the introduction of these books in primary schools, Wanglung Mossang, a Tangsa script promoter from Changlang district, said, “Learning the local dialects will revive our forgotten folklores and the rich tribal songs and customs. In the absence of a written script, preserving these was becoming more and more difficult. Now we have hope of protecting, preserving, and promoting our unique tribal identity.”

Nanman Jugli, a CBO Member from Tangsa tribe said, “It is a huge step forward in the right direction. It will give the much-needed life to our endangered dialects in Arunachal Pradesh.”

Education Minister Taba Tedir and Secretary for Education Niharika Rai too spoke at the event

There are 26 major tribes and more than 100 sub-tribes in Arunachal Pradesh, each having its own dialect. We need to preserve them all. The release of these eight textbooks is a first step in that direction and it augurs well for the future, said Banwang Losu, promoter of Wancho script from Longding district.

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