Meghalaya: Congress rakes up governor’s address in Hindi

Congress in Meghalaya took exception to Governor’s speech delivered in Hindi, a language most of the legislators are not much conversant with, at the inaugural day of the Budget month-long session

Photo Courtesy: Social Media/Twitter
Photo Courtesy: Social Media/Twitter

Sanat K Chakraborty

The Opposition Congress in Meghalaya took exception to Governor Ganga Prasad’s speech delivered in Hindi, a language most of the legislators are not much conversant with, at the inaugural day of the Budget month-long session which commenced here on Monday. The Opposition leader, Mukul M Sangma, questioned Governor’s wisdom and intent as he chose to address the elected members of the new Assembly in Hindi, which is not generally spoken in the state. “It would have been appropriate (for Governor) to look at the convention and practices that are followed in the state,” Dr Sangma said. Even as the Khasi and Garo are the two major languages spoken in
Meghalaya, English has been chosen as the principal lingua franca of the state, which is used for all official noting and communications – both in the assembly and the state secretariat, he pointed out.

The Governor should have been sensitive to this aspect. But then, he told journalists, it (that is, Governor’s address in Hindi) was not surprising that Governor Ganga Prasad followed what had been happening across the nation – a trend being set to introduce one kind of culture and language.

“There is an intent for creating an environment, where, ultimately, (people) are compelled to practice a language that they want (every one) to speak,” Dr Sangma averred.

Responding to the Opposition reaction to Governor’s address, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said the issue was unnecessarily being raked up, as the governor was at his liberty to speak in a language in which he was comfortable with. “I think, it’s being exaggerated!,” he said.

The rule is very clear: one could speak (in the Assembly) in his or her mother tongue, provided an English translation is given.

“There’s no need to make it any issue,” Chief Minister asserted. The Issue was raised by Congress legislator PT Sawkmie  at the House assembled this morning, just before the arrival of the Governor for delivering the customary speech at the commencement of the Budget session.

Sawkmie wanted to know if Governor would be speaking in Hindi, which, he said, most of them would find it difficult to follow. He demanded that the members to be provided with real time translation facilities in the House.

However, the Speaker, Donkupar Roy clarified that an English version of the Governor’s speech had already been circulated to all the members.
Later, the Speaker clarified the issue when journalists sought his comment: “Well, it’s true that this is the first time since the creation of Meghalaya that a Governor has addressed the members of the assembly in Hindi.”

But it’s alright, says the Speaker, because Hindi is the national language, and those who do not understand Hindi, they can follow the English version, which will be treated as the official text. “The matter should rest there!” Governor Ganga Prasad's public interface has been weak because of his non-use of English.

Mukul Sangma gives up Ampati seat

Meanwhile, Opposition Congress leader Mukul Sangma submitted a letter on Friday to Speaker Dr Roy stating his decision to vacate the Ampati seat, one of the two assembly constituencies he won in the February 27 elections. He will represent the Songsak constituency in the South Garo hills District.

Sangma, who has been representing the Ampati constituency for the last two decades, said he had nourished the constituency in a way that he hoped people would elect a Congress candidate.

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