NEW DELHI: The demand for the implementation of the Assam Official Language Act grew louder and stronger at the biennial session organised by the Asam Sahitya Sabha on February 1 held at Kaliabor, a sub-division town in Nagaon district of Assam.

The biennial session was held during the Asom Sahitya Utsav, a literary festival.

Whilst the Sabha renewed its pitch for the implementation, the demand also found support from other literary bodies, whose representatives were also present at the session.

After sending numerous petitions to Dispur which proved to be futile, the Sabha then approached the various literary bodies of the indigenous communities in order to garner support and put pressure on the state government.

The implementation of the Act would result in all official communications and/or documents to be recorded in Assamese.

Presently, every communication by the state government- be it orders, circulars or advertisements are brought out only in English, making it difficult for commoners to understand. Even the officials prefer to use English language over Assamese which further increase the difficulty of the masses.

The Assam Official Language Act, once implemented, would easily solve this problem.

However, the Sabha alleged, the government is unwilling to implement the Act.

Paramananda Rajbongshi, the outgoing Sabha Vice President said that Dispur has repeatedly ignored their demand to implement the act. He then requested Kaliabor MP and chief minister Tarun Gogoi's son, Gaurav, who was present at the venue, to take initiative in this regard.

"Gogoi had even promised us in 2012 that he will constitute a three-member committee to look into the matter. We approached him along with representatives of sahitya sabhas of several indigenous communities. But we are yet to see the act being implemented," Rajbongshi told the audience at Axom Sahitya Utsav, a literary festival organised as part of the session.

Meanwhile, the implementation of this Act,, the Sabha claims, would also help in increasing the popularity of Assamese tenfold.

Writer Upen Rabha Hakasam, who was present at the session said "There are some languages like Nepali and Bengali, which have a presence in other countries. But languages like Mising and Rabha are confined to Assam or to a small extent in a few neighbouring states. It is a question how these languages can be kept alive”, however, adding “the implementation of the act is a big challenge for all of us”.

President of Manipuri Sahitya Parishad, Benu Babu Sinha said since Assamese is the language of communication in the state, they welcome its use as official language. But he also requested the Sabha to take an initiative so that other languages are not deprived.

Marathi writer Bhalchandra Nemade, who inaugurated the literary festival, said the mother tongue was the best medium for teaching.

"Nowhere in the world, except India, is the medium of education a foreign language. Primary education of children should be in the mother tongue. Understanding of the world and the universe is possible only through the mother tongue and it is the language of knowledge. So all languages in Assam should be the medium of education," he said.

On the other hand blaming the middle class for the non-implementation of the Act, writer and member of Assam Public Service Commission, Basanta Kumar Doley, said that it is the middle class, who hold important posts in the Assam government or send their children to English-medium schools, were the ones who were mainly responsible for its non- implementation.