SHILLONG, Aug 20 - Outgoing Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy will dedicate his post-retirement life to �cement Assamese-Bengali friendship and remove misunderstandings between these two great peoples�.
Speaking to The Assam Tribune here, Roy said that cementing Assamese-Bengali friendship would be �one of his pet projects�.
Roy said he would try to facilitate an �exchange of literature� among Assamese, Bengali and Odiya languages. There should be a mutual exchange of literature to cement the friendship, he stressed.
Lauding the important role of the Asam Sahitya Sabha in promoting the cause of literature, Roy said that the Assam literary body�s assistance would be a great help in his future endeavours. He, however, rued that there is not such a literary society in West Bengal.
Expressing anguish over students in West Bengal knowing Milton�s or Shakespeare�s works, but having little knowledge about litterateurs of the neighbouring States, Roy said that this ought to change.
�If you ask a student from Bengal about Lakshminath Bezbaroa or Jyoti Prasad Agarwala or Fakir Mohan Senapati (Odiya writer), they will say no,� he said.
Questioning the present education system, Roy said that �we tend to put more emphasis on English, Spanish or other foreign language writers, rather than writers of the neighbouring States�.
�This has to be corrected� I think there is a pointer in this regard in the new education policy. Exchange of literature should encourage Bengalis to learn Assamese literature and the Assamese to learn Bengali, Odiya or Bihari literature,� he added.
Stating that Assamese, Bengali and Odiya languages are very close, Roy said that �these three languages must exchange notes. This is my general idea to cement friendship.�
He further promised to dispel �misapprehension and wrong ideas� in the Assamese and Bengali communities, one of which is that Gopinath Bardoloi (the first Chief Minister of Assam in Independent India), had pushed Sylhet to East Pakistan.
�This is incorrect,� Roy said. The Vice Chancellor of Vishwa Bharati University, Bidyut Chakraborty, in his book, Partition of Bengal and Assam, clearly states that Bardoloi had nothing to do with Sylhet going to East Pakistan.
�It was foreordained as Sylhet had a Muslim majority,� Roy said , adding that there is, however, this wrong impression in the Barak Valley of Assam on the issue.
�I have tried very hard to dispel this wrong impression. If this wrong impression can be done away with and somebody takes the initiative, I would be very happy,� the outgoing Meghalaya Governor said.