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Lok Sabha Debates
Discussion On The Constitution (One-Hundredth Amendment) Bill, ... on 22 December, 2003

7 16.10 hrs. CONSTITUTION (ONE-HUNDREDTH AMENDMENT) BILL.2003(Amendment of Eighth Schedule) Title : Discussion on the Constitution (One-Hundredth Amendment) Bill, 2003. (Amendment of Eighth schedule) (Bill passed).

MR. SPEAKER: Now, the House will take up item no. 23.


"That the Bill further to amend the Constitution of India, be taken into consideration."

 Sir, this Bill, by itself, is confined to amending the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution which lists the recognised languages. The amendment seeks to include Bodo language also in the Eighth Schedule. There has been a demand for the inclusion of this language and also for the inclusion of several other languages in the Eighth Schedule, including Santhali.

As far as the inclusion of other languages is concerned, I would like to say a few words here. But so far as Bodo is concerned, the inclusion of Bodo language in the Eighth Schedule is in pursuance of a very valuable Memorandum of Settlement arrived at between the representatives of the Bodo community, the Government of Assam and the Government of India some time back. As a result of it, only a few days back there was a massive gathering in Assam in which the Chief Minister of Assam was present and those who are Members of the Autonomous Council set up under that settlement were also sworn in there. The feeling of joy among all was so widespread among the people present there. The Bodo militants laid down their arms, handed over their arms and there was a feeling that peace has come to the area and harmony has come to the area.

Sir, a part of the settlement was also that the Government of India would consider inclusion of Bodo language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. Then, two senior Members from the Opposition parties, Shri Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi and Shri Basu Deb Acharia gave notice that Santhali also should be included in the Eighth Schedule. The Government considered the whole thing and we have accepted to include three other languages namely, Santhali, Maithili and Dogri and an official amendment to this effect will be moved very shortly. But at the present moment, so far as this Bill is concerned, it refers to the inclusion of Bodo language and I commend this Bill for unanimous acceptance of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion moved:

"That the Bill further to amend the Constitution of India, be taken into consideration."

 I would like to inform the hon. Members that we have to take up another important discussion at 4.30 p.m. So, I would request the hon. Members to speak as briefly as they can on this Bill so that we can take up voting on this Bill at 4.30 p.m. SHRI P.R. KYNDIAH (SHILLONG): Mr. Speaker, Sir, at the outset, I would like to say that we welcome the inclusion of Bodo language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, as it has been agreed upon in the Tripartite Agreement signed by the Government of India, the Government of Assam and the leaders of the Bodo community.

It is a good augury for the North-East Region where we expect that this agreement will pave the way for the larger peace, harmony and tranquility in this turbulent area. So, we welcome this Amendment Bill for the inclusion of the Bodo language, which is for the North-East. We have the Assamese language, the Manipuri language and now the Bodo language in the 8th Schedule.

There have been demands over the years for the inclusion of Khasi language, which is a language which comes under one of the major languages group of India, that is Austro-Asiatic. It is an aesthetic language. Khasi language belongs to Man-Khmer stream and it is the language which is being spoken in Cambodia and Myanmar. Over the hundreds of years, this Khasi language has developed into a language of its own personality. It was specially recognised by the Calcutta University in 1900 in its Entrance examination. In 1919, it was recognised by the Calcutta University at a degree level at that time.

Sir, later, in 1948, Guwahati recognised it as a BA language. So, today we have the North-Eastern University. It has opened up and offers M.A., M.Phil, Ph.D. in the level. This language is one of the richest tribal languages in the country which is being spoken in my State, in Meghalaya, in Assam as well as in parts of Bangladesh. It is very important that this language is considered objectively to be included in the Eighth Schedule. Rarely a tribal language is recognised by three Universities.


In fact, the other day I had a discussion with the Minister of State, Shri I.D. Swami and I was given a hint that this matter would go to the Expert Committee. We do not mind that so long as the basis of the case is recognised. … (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Please keep silence in the House.

SHRI P.R. KYNDIAH : This language is one of the richest languages, no doubt about it. Even the Sahitya Sabha has recognised this language. I would request the Speaker and the Government to take note of Khasi language because it is one of the few tribal languages which is deserving. You will get all the facts. I have written a letter to Shri Swami only the other day giving all the facts.

So, while welcoming this Constitution (Amendment) Bill for the inclusion of Bodo language in the Eighth Schedule, we request the Government to consider the inclusion of Khasi language in the Eighth Schedule.

SHRI ANADI SAHU (BERHAMPUR, ORISSA): Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is a welcome move to include the Bodo language in the Eighth Schedule. As has been indicated, it is the Memorandum of Settlement which has brought about peace in Assam and particularly in Bodoland.

Shri Bwiswmuthiary, who had been championing the cause, is the person who had taken lots of steps in this regard and the Deputy Prime Minister had started this thing. Now, Sir, there is peace and harmony in that area.

Sir, as the Deputy Prime Minister has said, other languages are to be included in the Eighth Schedule. When the Constitution was drafted, 14 languages were taken but the objective reason for which those 14 languages had been taken in had not been indicated. At a later stage, four languages were taken. Now, it is necessary that other languages also should be taken in like the Bodo language which has come now. The Santhali language has to be taken in because it is a very rich language with a script of its own. Pandit Raghunath Murmu from Mayurbanj district of Orissa had started this thing and there are lots of people in Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal who speak Santhali language. It is a very rich language for that matter.

You would kindly appreciate that the Santhalis are a proud and good people. You will find mention of the Santhalis in Harshcharitra of Banabhatta. Long back, it had been indicated there. They deserve some consideration now. The Bodo language, which has been in the Devnagri script, is a very good innovation and it is necessary. I would suggest that whichever languages are being taken up now in the Eighth Schedule should be in the Devnagri script because that would be a cementing bond for all the people of India. I support this Constitution (Amendment) Bill.

SHRI BAJU BAN RIYAN (TRIPURA EAST): Mr. Speaker, Sir, I thank you for calling me to speak on this Bill. I rise to support this Bill.

Actually this is a simple Bill, but I do not support the way the Government has brought this Bill. The Government has first entered into an agreement with the Bodo extremists. In this way, they have brought this Bill. They are encouraging terrorism in this way. I do not support this.