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Kohima: After Union Home Minister Amit Shah‘s controversial remark stating that the northeast states have agreed to make Hindi compulsory in schools up to Class X, drawing opposition from various quarters in the region, the Nagaland School education has come out to clarify its ground.

“The State of Nagaland follows three language formula up to class VIII and Hindi is offered as a compulsory language subject up to class VIII. In classes IX-X, students have the liberty to study either Hindi or anyone Modern Indian Language (Ao/Bengali/Lotha/Sumi/Tenyidie) or Alternative English as the Second Language,” Principal director Shanavas C said.

Shanavas also said that the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 advocates adopting three language policy up to secondary, but it does not impose any language on States. As per NEP 2020, the three languages learned by children will be the choices of states, regions, and of course the students themselves, he said.

While the timeline for the implementation of NEP 2020 is within 2030, he said that the Ministry of Education has not issued any instructions for making Hindi compulsory in the Secondary stage.

The clarification by the School education department comes after several political parties opposed the ‘imposition’ of Hindi as a compulsory subject till Class 10.

“The Rising People’s Party (RPP) stands for unity in diversity and any attempt to impose Hindi in the state/country is crass chauvinism and majoritarianism at play, and the RPP will oppose such policies tooth and nail. State educational policy falls under the prerogative of the state governments and any diktats by the central government on the issue is violative of the federal structure of the country and thus unacceptable,” the party said.

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The party also claimed that there is a lingering suspicion that the state politicians may have given personal assurances to Shah for him to make Hindi a compulsory up to Class X.

Making a comparison with the south of India, where it claims that the politicians fiercely guard the regional and linguistic identity, RPP said that Nagaland is being helmed by spineless leaders, and rank sycophants.

“It’s absolutely possible that union home minister Amit Shah indeed extracted the nod from our politicians to go ahead with his controversial statement,” the party accused. Slamming Shah’s statement, the party had demanded for clarification.

NPF president Dr Shürhozelie Liezietsu, also said that without putting in any effort to make people learn Hindi, if it is imposed on the people who do not  know the language,  it will amount to alienation which may not certainly  be in the interest of the  nation. 

“Even after 40 years,  Nagaland  still remains  almost in  the same position because we have not seen any serious efforts made on the part of the Central Government towards development of the language  whichever party is in power  in Delhi. We are not against Hindi.  But we cannot agree at the moment to use Hindi as an alternative to English in Nagaland because it is impossible in its totality.  This is the ground reality and we do not find any other option at the moment, “ Liezietsu, a pioneer of the Tenyidie vernacular language, added.

The controversy aroused after Shah made the statement while chairing the 37th meeting of the Parliamentary Official Language Committee.

“The nine tribal communities of the northeast have converted their dialects’ scripts to Devanagari while all the eight states of the northeast have agreed to make Hindi compulsory in schools up to Class 10. There is a need to give elementary knowledge of Hindi to students up to Class 9, and pay more attention to Hindi teaching examinations,” the Home Minister reportedly said in the meeting.

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