Fast for recognition of Angika

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Abhay Singh, TNN Jul 7, 2011, 01.03am IST, The Times Of India

PATNA: The struggle for government recognition of Angika language spoken in eastern districts of Bihar and related demands has now taken a crucial turn, as its supporters have taken to ‘aamaran anshan (fast-unto-death)’ on Hardinge Road hear R-Block here to pursue their demands, and make themselves heard by the concerned in the Nitish Kumar government.

Of the students sitting on fast, one Adarsh Suman (11) fell ill on Wednesday, and has been rushed to a doctor for treatment, said AUAS central general secretary Jayant Jalad. According to Gautam, as many as 65 people have arrived here from districts concerned to show their solidarity and be also a part of the struggle.

While the fast-unto-death by founder president of Anga Utthan Andolan Samiti (AUAS) for Bihar and Jharkhand Gautam Suman entered the second day on Wednesday, dozens of other people, including boy and girl students, have also been giving him company by sitting on ‘anshan (fast)’ beside him at the same venue.

Their demands include state recognition of Angika language, opening of Angika Academy, its inclusion in the examinations conducted by the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC), inclusion of Angika language and literature curriculum for teaching in schools, relay of programmes from Prasar Bharti (All India Radio and Doordarshan) stations in Patna and other centres concerned, and recommendation of Angika language for inclusion in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

Angika is one of the five local languages spoken in Bihar. In the past, speakers of the language also registered themselves in the Census, though their enrolment was marred by poor canvassing. The other languages spoken are Bhojpuri, Maithili, Magahi and Vajjika. Of them, Maithili has been included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

“We are also compiling telephonic messages we are receiving from people in various parts of Bihar, Jharkhand, and towns in other states,” said Gautam, adding: “Angika is the language of more than crore of people within Bihar itself living in its eastern districts across the river Ganga. Our experience has shown that ‘lok (folks speaking this language)’ have been ignored. It is the ‘tantra (bureaucracy)’ that is coming in the way of recognition of Angika language.”

Incidentally, the then governor A R Kidwai gave sanction to the teaching of Angika language at postgraduate level in Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University (TMBU) in 1995. Subsequently, after the creation of Jharkhand in 2000, Angika received government recognition there in 2005, since it is spoken by the people in the districts of Dumka division.

“Earlier, questions worth 35 marks were set for examinations conducted by the Jharkhand Public Service Commission (JPSC). Today, after we submitted our memorandum, the number of marks for which questions are set has been increased to 50. Claims of the speakers of this language have been ignored in Bihar,” said Gautam.

He had, earlier, conducted a road march from Bhagalpur to Patna in July 2009, and submitted memoranda to both CM Nitish Kumar and the then governor. Later, he had also conducted a similar a march to Ranchi from Dumka.