Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia stands against Discrimination against Nepali Language

Darjeeling Once again we are most thankful to Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia who has stepped up to protect the Nepali language. Following report on social media (The Darjeeling Chronicle) MP wrote to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu reminding him that not putting up signs in Nepali language is a violation of the Language Policy of India as well as a discrimination against the Gorkha community.

Here is the full text of the letter that our MP wrote

Shri. Suresh Prabhu
Minister of Railway
Government of India

Re: Discrimination Against Nepali Language and the people of Darjeeling

Suresh ji
I want to draw your attention to the fact that the signboards that Indian Railways has put up in my Constituency – Darjeeling – has continued to violate the Language Policy of India since 2011.

The standard official language policy of the Government of India clearly specifies that, importance to be given to official State Language (only those which are also included in the VIIIth Schedule of Constitution)/regional/national languages, signboards of Railway stations in regional language, use of language on Railway Information Boards, naming of Railway stations in regional languages etc.”

Nepali was recognised initially in 1961 as an official language of West Bengal, and on 22/8/1992 as one of the Official Languages of India under the VIIIth Schedule of Indian Constitution as one of the 22 National Languages of India. Nepali is also the 1st official language for Darjeeling and Dooars region in West Bengal. DHR is still discriminated against and not featured in any of the sign boards put up by Indian Railways in Darjeeling. Not putting Nepali in these sign boards is not only a violation of the language policy of India, but also is disrespectful towards the Nepali language and also the Gorkhali community of my constituency. What is more hurtful to my constituents is the fact that Bengali which 99% of the population do not speak or read, is used as the 1st language.

On behalf of my constituents, I request you to kindly instruct the local administrative unit of Indian Railways to remove the signs that do not feature Nepali language and to put up signs in Nepali which is a Recognised regional language in Darjeeling and Dooars as well as one of the National Languages of India.

I look forward to your prompt action.
Kindest regards

SS Ahluwalia
MP, Darjeeling.

Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia Writes to Railway Minister - Demands Signs to be Written in NEPALI
Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia Writes to Railway Minister – Demands Signs to be Written in NEPALI

Rule 3A of the Bengal Official Language Act, 1961 also specifically states
3A. Notwithstanding anything contained in section 3, with effect from such date-1 as the Slate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint in this behalf, the Nepali language may, in addition to the Bengali language be used for such— (a) rules, regulations and by-laws made by the State Government under the Constitution of India or under any law made by Parliament or the Legislature of West Bengal, and (b) notifications or orders issued by the Slate Government under the Constitution of lndia or under any law made by Parliament or the Legislature of West Bengal, as apply to the three hill subdivisions of the district of Darjeeling, namely, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong:

Provided that different dates may be appointed in respect of different matters referred to in clause (a) or (b). .

Explanation.— For the purposes of section 3 and this section the words “law made by Parliament or the Legislature of West Bengal” shall include any law made before or after the commencement of the Constitution of India by any legislature or other competent authority in the territory of India having power to make such a law.

Given this, we request the West Bengal government and all other administrative bodies to put up all the signs and instructions in NEPALI at the top.

Once again, we are grateful to our MP for stepping up to protect the dignity of Nepali language and Nepali speaking people… It is sad that none of our “intellectuals” and “sahityakkars” have so far bothered to highlight this issue.

Via The Darjeeling Chronicle

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