Feb 28, 2007

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Saving Languages

Efforts to preserve indigenous tradition and cultural heritage now include a focus on preserving language throughout communities in Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Below is an article published by The Daily Star:

Speakers at a recent meeting emphasised the importance of purveying primary level education in the students' own languages.

This view was expressed at the launch of alphabet books of three major indigenous communities in Khagrachhari district. The function was jointly organised by Khagrachhari District Council, Save the Children and local NGO Zabarang Kalayan Samity. The venue: Parjatan Motel in the hill district of Khagrachhari.

Speakers said that to protect indigenous customs, traditions and cultural heritage, it was necessary to preserve the languages. With this end in view they announced the launch of alphabet books for the Tripura community (Kokborak), Chakmas (Chakma alphabet) and Marmas (Marma alphabet).

This step is likely to benefit the 13 indigenous communities who live in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). The speakers pointed out that the district council plays a major role in promoting education for indigenous children.

Khagrachhari Hill District Council Chairman Manindra Lal Tripura was present as chief guest while local NGO Zabarang Kalayan Samity president Chandra Kishore Tripura presided over the inauguration ceremony.

Among others, Save the Children (UK) country director Shumon Sen Gupta, language specialist Dr Pamela, Save the Children (UK) representative Terry Durnnian, Khagrachhari Press Club secretary Azim Ul Haq, Zabarang Kalayan Samity chief executive Mothura Lal Tripura and UNDP programme officer Abhilash Tripura were present and spoke at the event.

After the discussion District Council chairman Manindra Lal Tripura formally introduced the children to the alphabets.