GUWAHATI: The Indigenous Tribal Sahitya Sabha of Assam (ITSSA) will bring out a multi-lingual dictionary comprising 11 languages in 2022.

The dictionary will have 10,500 words of eight tribal languages – Bodo, Mising, Karbi, Dimasa, Tiwa, Deori, Rabha, and Garo apart from Assamese, English and Hindi.

The dictionary project will cost around Rs 1 crore. Eight Autonomous councils will contribute to the ITSSA fund for compiling and publishing the dictionary. The Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) has already released Rs 25 lakh for the project.

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The ITSSA is a conglomeration of different tribal Sahitya Sabhas and has been working for the development of languages and literature of all indigenous communities of Assam. Formed in the year 2015, ITSSA has a common agenda to stand united for the preservation and socio-economic development of civilization, cultural entity in general and language and literature in particular of the indigenous tribal people represented by these eight sahitya sabhas.

 “The multilingual dictionary will pave the way for healthy language and literary uplift of the tribal people,” said Sikari Tisso, advisor of Karbi Lament Amei (KLA- Karbi Sahitya Sabha).

In the interest of publishing a rounded dictionary that caters to the linguistic needs of all the eight tribes, 24 language experts from eight Tribal Sahitya Sabhas have been engaged in the project.

The ITSSA formed an editorial board comprising three editors from each of the eight languages. Besides, the group includes Bodo Sahitya Sabha (Boro Thunlai Afad) president Bisweswar Basumatary as chairman and former Karbi Sahitya Sabha working president Sikari Tisso as the chief editor.

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“We cannot let any of our indigenous tribal languages go extinct. It is our responsibility to preserve and promote our language, literature, culture and tradition. It is in this context that more than 70 percent work of the dictionary is over. We hope to complete the remaining 30 percent work by next year,” ITSSA’s secretary general Kamalakanta Mushahary told EastMojo.

He added that the multi-lingual dictionary will have eight languages – Boro, Deori, Dimasa, Garo, Karbi, Mising, Rabha and Tiwa, besides English, Assamese and Hindi as the link languages.

The work on the dictionary has resumed after a gap of almost two years, stalled because of the pandemic and lockdowns. After their first workshop in Kokrajhar in 2019, a second three-day workshop on the compilation of multilingual dictionary began on November 18 at the Karbi People’s Hall at Taralangso in Karbi Anglong district.

Altogether 24 language experts from eight Tribal Sahitya Sabhas have been engaged for the same. The workshop was formally inaugurated by Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) chief executive member (CEM) Tuliram Ronghang.

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Representatives from eight tribal Sahitya Sabhas of the state, including Bodo Sahitya Sabha, Dimasa Laireiding Mel, Deuri Chhuchheba Chhengchha, Garo Sahitya Sabha, Karbi Lammet Amei, Mising Agom Kebang, Bebak Rabha Kraurang and Tiwa Mathonlai Tokra, were recorded in participation.

The Mongolians, who came to the Brahmaputra valley in successive waves, brought their language and culture to the region much before the advent of the Ahoms, while a reasonable part of this region was ruled by Karcharis.

Among the Tibeto-Burman people who entered into the Brahmaputra valley, the most important group was represented by the Bodos, also known as the Kacharis, who built up strong kingdoms with varying successes and held sway over one or the other part of the province during the historical times.

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