East Tripura MP Rebati Kumar Tripura with Union minister of state for tribal affairs Renuka Singh in New Delhi Credit: EastMojo image

Agartala: Tripura East MP Rebati Kumar Tripura met Union minister of state for tribal affairs Renuka Singh to demanding the introduction of Kokborok as a subject in the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) curriculum in the state.

In a memorandum submitted to the Union minister, the MP referred to several demands raised by the Kokborok Phuarnai Bodol, a society working for the development of the natige language in Tripura.

“The Kokborok speaking people of Tripura, the indigenous people, are encountering difficulties in keeping the Kokborok language alive in the state. Before the merger with India on October 15, 1949, 184 Maharajaa of the Tripuri community ruled the state of Tripura using Kokborok language in their office functioning,” the memorandum said.

The memorandum also said that in post-Independence India, people in Tripura were outnumbered by the unregulated influx of Bengali refugees in Tripura from the then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. The Tripuri people were turned into a minority from majority. Bengali, the language, was adopted as an official language instead of Kokborok. Consequently, from there on, the Kokborok language started getting neglected,” the MP added.

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During the 1960s, some student organisations and political leaders demanded Kokborok language as the official language of the state. After a long struggle, the language was recognised in the state as one of the official languages on January 19, 1979.

By the initiative of then education minister Dasarath Debbarma during 1980s, some Kokborok teachers were recruited in the primary schools. “But even after 41 years of recognition of Kokborok as an official language in the state, no remarkable steps have been taken for its development from junior school to higher education level,” the memorandum noted.

“Since 1993, no Kokborok teacher has been recruited in schools in Tripura. Same is the condition in colleges and university level here. About 1,334 schools, primary to higher secondary schools, have introduced Kokborok as per government records, but in reality, Kokborok is taught only in a few schools with the teacher who can speak in Kokborok without recruiting trained Kokborok teachers. Kokborok language cannot be developed unless teachers are recruited in schools for development of the language,” the memorandum said.

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