Language issue debate on in CA

KATHMANDU: The Constituent Assembly (CA) continued its discussions on the preliminary draft and concept paper of the CA Committee to Determine the Basis of Cultural and Social Solidarity (CDBCSS).

Majority of the CA members, who have been taking part in the over-a-week long debate on the committee’s concept paper and its preliminary draft, agreed that language and culture were the social fabrics that played a key role to unite the country.

The discussions on the

same are scheduled to conclude on Thursday.

Home Minister Bhim Rawal, addressing the CA full House today, said that there should not be any hesitation to declare the Nepali language as the country’s official language as it is the lingua franca of all people belonging to various communities across the country.

Rawal observed that the issue of nationalism would not be strengthened just by recognising many languages as official ones.

Hridayesh Tripathi, a leader of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party, however, said that Hindi language should also be recognised as an official language as it is spoken and understood by people of all communities in the entire Tarai-Madhes.

“The Nepali is the language used by various ethnic communities in the hills and mountains, so is Hindi in the Tarai region,” Tripathi said, adding, “Language is not only the medium of communication but also a basis of employment opportunity.”

However, according to the last population census conducted in 2001, less than one per cent people speak Hindi in the entire Tarai.

Tripathi said that a single language could not be taken as an official language in a multi-lingual and multi-cultural country like Nepal.

The UCPN-Maoist, however, is in favour of recognising at least 13 languages as official languages, in the centre as well as in federal provinces.

The party holds a view that languages, which are spoken by around one percent of the total population, can be recognised as an official language. But there are some languages that exist only in spoken form.

Raghavbir Joshi, a differently abled CA member of the CPN-United, using sign language to air his views on the committee’s concept paper, said the constitution should recognise the Braille and sign language as official languages to facilitate the differently abled people. Radha Joshi, a sign language news anchor in the Nepal

Television, interpreted his views in Nepali.

He also suggested that the differently abled people should get the facility of interpreters in courts and other government offices. He suggested avoiding derogatory terms while referring to the differently abled people in the constitution.