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'Bhojpuri, Rajasthani must get official status'

August 31, 2010 01:24 IST
A demand for inclusion of Bhojpuri and Rajasthani languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution came into focus in the Lok Sabha on Monday through a calling-to-attention motion.

Minister of State for Home, Ajay Makan assured the agitated House that recognition to the two languages is under the government's consideration on the basis of the report of the Sitaram Mahapatra committee report of  2004 which was set up .

While the Eighth Schedule now has 22 languages recognised under the Constitution, Makan said the government has representations for  inclusion of 38 other languages and the same are to be vetted under the criteria set by the Mahapatra committee.

A large number of members wanted to speak on the motion creating pandemonium as the chair stuck to the rule to allow only those moving the call-attention motion to speak. The House could move to other business only after leader of the house, Pranab Mukherjee intervened to point out that the government understands their sentiments about the language but the scope of the call-attention motion wass limited and hence a separate substantial discussion could only be held in the next Parliamentary session.

The chair only allowed remarks by Sanjay Nirupam and Jagdambika Pal of the Congress and Raghuvansh Prasad Singh of Rashtriya Janata Dal who had given notice for the call-attention,
to stand. They emphasized that Bhojpuri was the language of people not only in Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh but spoken by the migrants in a large number of states as also in 12
countries. Those speaking Bhojpuri numbered anywhere between 18 and 25 crores, they  contended and stressed that the language deserved constitutional recognition, particularly because it is not only a spoken language but has a 1000-year history, literature and grammar.

Nirupam and Singh said equally important was the Rajasthani language that was the language spoken in whole of the state of Rajasthan and also by the Marwaris settled all over India. Both faulted the government for sitting over demand for including the two languages in the Schedule since after the Mahapatra report was received back in 2004.

Singh pointed out that then Home Minister Shivraj Patil had assured the House to include the two languages in the schedule "soon" and his deputy Jaiswal even promised immediately, but nothing had been done to date. Pal added that Patil had agreed for including the languages in principle and as such the government should implement it.

A score of the BJP and Congress members from Rajasthan also sought to join the debate, one of them pointing out that none of those raising the issue was from Rajasthan, but the chair did not permit as they were not party to the call-attention.
A Correspondent in New Delhi
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