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Call to preserve sanctity of Assamese script

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 1 � Speakers at a citizens� conference on �Distortion of the identity of Assamese script at national and international level: resolving the crisis� held at the Bhagawati Prasad Baruah Bhawan on Friday expressed concern over the �conspiracy� in presenting a distorted image about the originality of the Assamese script by vested interest quarters, and called for effective steps for preserving and presenting its sanctity before a global audience.

The speakers were also unanimous in condemning the Departments of Electronic and Science and Technology, Government of India, which had introduced the Assamese script as �Bangla script� in the Unicode Consortium.

Author and researcher Bisweswar Hazarika, in his address, mentioned that there was no second opinion on the originality of the Assamese script which boasted of a very ancient heritage. He also cited examples of various stone inscriptions including the Umachal rock inscription of Kamrup and the Nagajari Khanikar Gaon rock inscription of Golaghat that bore testimony to the antiquity of the Assamese language.

�There should not be any dispute about the originality and antiquity of the Assamese language. This is borne out by irrefutable historical evidences, including rock inscriptions. Unfortunately, an uncalled-for controversy has arisen because of a conspiracy by vested interest elements. We need a concerted action to thwart this,� he said.

The speakers who included Nishipada Choudhury, Hemendra Kumar Bhuyan, Hrishikesh Goswami, Justice Binoy Kumar Sarma, Haren Bora and Manoj Baruah also deplored the lackadaisical attitude of the Assam Government towards a matter of vital importance concerning the origin and status of the State language.

Senior journalist Adip Phukan and filmmaker Ashok Sarma who moderated the deliberations said that the meeting would formulate a holistic policy for presenting the Assamese script in its correct historical perspective.

�There has definitely been a campaign by vested interest quarters against the Assamese language. The fact that Assamese has been shown as Bangla or an offshoot of Bangla in Unicode Consortium is ample proof of the sinister campaign. Matters have worsened due to the apathy of the State Government and intellectual sections of the State who kept ignoring the issue altogether,� Sarma said, adding that the conspiracy against the Assamese language was nothing new.

The meet resolved to have another round of deliberation with nationalist organizations of the State for preparing an action plan to accord the Assamese script its rightful status in the map of languages. It further resolved to put pressure on the authorities concerned, including the Centre, the State Government, and other organizations.

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