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Please mandate usage of Nepali in hoardings issued for public interest at Darjeeling

This petition made change with 228 supporters!


Dear Sirs/Madams,

In our country, majority of the common poor mass derive their information from traditional sources like TV, Radio, News Papers and hoardings/sign boards. Private firms as well as government bodies disseminate information about new schemes/plans through such and hence strategically placed hoarding boards play a huge role in educating people about important programs and policies introduced for them. The whole point of placing hoarding boards is to inform people about various products that are out there in the market. The main role thus played by the hoarding board is to COMMUNICATE with the people.

I would like to bring to your notice that in Darjeeling, where majority of the people do not speak or understand Bengali, many important hoarding boards are written in Bengali and posted all over - when it is a well known fact that Nepali, Hindi and English are the major modes of communication in the region. They include advertisements for government schemes like RupayCard, Jan Dhan Yojana as well as private notices. But what's the use of placing a hoarding board which does not communicate with the local populace?

There are three uses of such boards -

i) The advertising body (Government in this case) fulfills its duty to place public notices as required by the law,

ii) The local populace remains uninformed and thus discriminated against,

iii) Establishes the predominance of Bengali language over the locally prevalent Nepali language - thus establishing a form of LINGUISTIC IMPERIALISM.

India is a diverse country with multiple languages, but there are only 22 National Languages as recognized and enshrined under Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. Nepali happens to be one of the national languages of India, protected under the Eighth Schedule.

In Bengal, Nepali is one of the OFFICIAL LANGUAGES of BENGAL since 1961.

However, ever since the Trinamool Congress government has come to power, Nepali has almost ceased to exist as an official language. Many people have repeatedly highlighted the undermining of Nepali language by the Bengal government, but to no avail. The continued undermining of Nepali and languages other than Bengali not only highlights the deliberate attempt by the Bengal government to undermine our Mother Tongue, but also points to the imposition of Bengali in almost every sphere of official business, and thus perpetuating a form of LINGUISTIC IMPERIALISM upon the hillians and other non-Bengali speaking populace. To destroy a group of people, the colonialists understood that it was important to destroy their identity, the Bengal government today is following the same course. This is a dangerous trend, and needs to be stopped right now.

 Coming back to the hoarding board we are using as an example today, it talks about RuPay cards issued by the NABARD West Bengal - the very last line of the hoarding reads - "Issued in the Interest of the Farmers". It is utter ignorance on part of the Bengal government to not know the answer to - HOW MANY FARMERS IN DARJEELING HILLS ARE ABLE TO READ BENGALI - The answer to which is ZERO!

So whose interest are these hoarding boards serving?

This is also to be seen as West Bengal's daring style of provoking the people of Darjeeling into agitation mode so that they can once again start their pet game of repression and persecution. Last year when the Superintendent of Police was asked the reason why a Diwali banner put up by Darjeeling police was in Bengali, we were harassed by the local police and even threatened with criminal proceedings for creating hatred between communities. These provocative actions by the state outfits fall in the same category hence the morally guided state representatives like SP and DM must proceed against those who are putting up these hoardings just to incite the whole lot of local population.

Therefore, the banners and hoardings must be immediately replaced by those in the native language that is readable by those for whom they are meant for.

 


Yours sincerely,

A concerned Indian



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