language policy in Manipur (India)

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu Mar 24 13:45:35 UTC 2005

>>From The Sangai Express

Talk fails to break MEELAL ice

Imphal, March 23: The State Government has failed to work out a solution
with the agitating Meetei Mayek activists who are demanding a definite
stand of the Government on the issue of replacement of Manipuri text books
written in Bengali script with Meetei Mayek in schools and colleges from
the current academic session. Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh today held
talks with the representatives of MEELAL and DESAM but failed to bring an
amicable solution to the ongoing Mayek imbroglio, informed a reliable

However, since the talk has been initiated to resolve the matter, the
State Government from its side appealed to the Mayek activists to call off
their agitation. But representatives of MEELAL and DESAM stuck to their
guns and made it clear that they would carry on with their agitation till
the Government comes out with a definite stand on implementing Meetei
Mayek, according to the source.

The meeting held at the Chief Ministers Secretariat lasted for two hours
from 4 pm to 6 pm and was attended by Industries Minister N Mangi, MLAs N
Biren and K Ranjit. Meanwhile, MEELAL in a statement made it clear that
they cannot be taken for a ride by the smooth talking Chief Minister.

The statement said that the meeting was held following a written
intimation from the side of the Government. The meeting failed to break
the deadlock because the Chief Minister kept on insisting that it would be
impossible to pass the Language Act to implement Meetei Mayek and instead
suggested that the people should first learn the script.

MEELAL said that such an illogical stand caught them by surprise and added
that the team consisting of 6 MEELAL activists and 3 members of DESAM
pointed out to the Chief Minister that a policy was needed to make the
script familiar to the people. However without charting out any policy,
the CM stuck to his guns that the people should first learn the script
before it is implemented in the schools and colleges, said the statement.

Stating that the CM tried to play the hill valley card, MEELAL informed
that Ibobi said hill district students are not keen to learn Manipuri with
many of them opting for Alternative English. One MEELAL representative
Angam Pan- mei was asked by the CM about the number of students in
Tamenglong taking up Manipuri.

To this Panmei replied that hill students are not keen to learn Manipuri
written in Bengali script as it tough but added that Meetei Mayek is much
simpler and many students know, claimed the statement. Asserting that
there will be no backtracking, MEELAL said all its members have geared to
enforce the economic blockade from midnight today.

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