Assam Official Language Amendment Bill

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Bodo language

The bill to make Bodo an official language of the state has been passed by the Assam Cabinet. The bill is framed in accordance with the Bodo Peace Accord which is signed between Assam Government, the Government of India, two bodo organizations and four Bodo rebel groups.

The official language in Assam

  • The official language of the state of Assam is Assamese.
  • The other official languages of the state are Bodo and Bengali and Bodo.
  • Bengali is an official language in three districts of Barak Valley and Bodo in Bodoland territorial Council areas.

Official Language in the Country

  • India has no national language.
  • The article 343 states that the official language of Union is Hindi in Devanagari. Everything in Indian Parliament is transacted only in two languages, Hindi or English.
  • English language shall be used for official purposes including communication between Central Government and state government,
    parliamentary proceedings and Judiciary Communications in the country.
  • Constitution recognizes 22 regional languages. These 22 languages includes Hindi but not English.

Assamese Language Movement at a Glance

  • The demand for making Assamese the official language of the state, started after Indian independence since 1950, following the States Reorganization Act, 1956, the official language movement gained a new momentum.
  • The official language struggle of Assam started in 19th century when Assam was under the British rule. The Assamese opposed Bengali language as a language of courts and for official purpose.
  • Two resolutions were passed by Assam Sahitya Sabha, one in 1950 and the other in 1959, which stressed the need of making Assamese the official language of the state.
  • The April 1959 resolution that demanded that Assamese to be made the only official language in Assam- led to political reactions.
  • In the year 1960, Assam official language Act was passed which recognized Assamese as an official language in the state. The act also comprised of provisions to save the linguistic minorities in Assam.
  • In the year 2019, the Assam Cabinet agreed and approved to give Assamese the status of state language.

Medium of Instruction Movement

  • In the year 1970, the Gauhati University decided to make Assamese as the medium of instruction all the colleges that come under its jurisdiction, expect some colleges in Manipur, Cachar, Nagaland, the NEFA and the then newly proposed Meghalaya.
  • English was used as an alternative and there were no deadline set to make a shift to Assamese.

Wrapping Up

There are more than 14.16 lakh Bodo language speaking people in the state of Assam, as per the Census 2011. Bodo speaking people of the state account for 4.53 % of the total population of Assam.

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