Aizawl: Hmar will finally be introduced as a medium of instruction in Mizoram following a High Court order.
The step comes 27 years after the signing of a peace accord directing the introduction of the Hmar language as a medium of instruction at the primary school level.
During “the first phase of the workshop for translation of Mizo medium textbooks of class I to V in Hmar Language” held in Aizawl on Monday, the State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT) director Laldawngliani Chawngthu said Hmar language would be introduced as a medium of instruction in all primary schools primarily within the Hmar-dominated Sinlung Hills Council (SHC) areas from the next academic session.
The Hmar medium will be introduced from classes 1-5, and all Mizo textbooks will be translated into the Hmar language, she said.
Initially, the Hmar medium will be introduced at class-I for the first academic calendar (2022-2023) and up to class-II in the next academic session (2023-2024) and so on, she said.
She said that the government appointed five experts from the Hmar community to undertake the translation task. The translation of class-I textbooks is scheduled to be completed by this week, she added.
Following a writ petition filed by Vanlalsiama, president of the SHAIDC, on May 25, 2016, the Aizawl bench of the Gauhati High Court had issued a judgment order on September 4, 2017. It directed the Mizoram government to implement clauses 5.1 and 5.3 of the memorandum of settlement (MoS) signed between Lal Thanhawla-led Congress government and the erstwhile underground Hmar People’s Convention (HPC) on July 27, 1994, preferably within one year from the date of receipt of the order.
Clause 5.1 of the MoS states that the Mizoram government will initiate measures Hmar language as a medium of instruction up to primary school level and recognition of the Hmar language as one of the major languages of the state. Clause 5.3 says a new civil subdivision will be opened at Sakawrdai and sub-divisional offices of different departments will be established at a convenient location. The primary health centre at Sakawrdai will be upgraded into 30-bed community healthcare, the MoS added.
Government counsel Samuel Vanlalhriata Chhangte had told the high court that a survey has to be conducted and things have to be done systematically to fulfil clause 5.1.
In respect of clause 5.3, he said the government had already implemented the accord except for the establishment of sub-divisional offices of different departments, which can be done depending on the need-base of the areas and finance of the state government.
The government, however, failed to comply with the court order in respect of the clauses within a stipulated time which expired on September 12, 2018.
Subsequently, in May 2019, the high court served a contempt notice to the Mizoram government for not complying with its order as regard to implementation of the Hmar accord, which prompted the state government to take measures for the introduction of Hmar language as a medium of instruction up to primary level.
After a series of parleys with SHC, a Hmar-dominated council constituted as a result of the peace accord signed between the Mizoram government and Hmar People’s Convention- Democratic (an offshoot of HPC) in April 2018, the state government has finally taken measures to introduce Hmar language as a medium of instruction up to primary level primarily within SHC area.
There are 31 villages within the SHC area in the north-eastern part of the state adjoining Manipur.
However, the government is still silent about the recognition of the Hmar language as a major language of the state.