PRSU Urges Respect For Linguistic Diversity - Eastern Mirror
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PRSU urges respect for linguistic diversity

By EMN Updated: Dec 18, 2023 9:08 pm

DIMAPUR — The Pathso Range Students’ Union (PRSU) has expressed concerns about the Khiamniungan Baptist Churches Association (KBCA) allegedly ‘disrespecting linguistic diversity’ within the Khiamniungan community.

The union, in a press release, affirmed that language is a fundamental aspect of cultural identity and that undue impositions “contribute to the adulteration and erosion of our mother tongue.”

Stressing the importance of preserving the mother tongue, the student body, representing the Patsho-speaking community, highlighted instances of alleged discrimination by the KBCA.

An incident included the alleged restriction by KBCA on using the word ‘tuathih’ in the official name of a Patsho-speaking local church, the Pathso Nokeng Baptist Tuathih (PNBT), during the recent Khiamniungan Baptist Christian Conference (KBCC).

According to the PRSU, on August 6, 2023, the PNBT officially declared its church name as ‘Pathso Nokeng Baptist Tuathih’ based on the minutes of its 2022-23 general meeting, aiming for consistent and accurate representation. However, the KBCA allegedly restricted the use of the word ‘Tuathih’ which, in the Pathso dialect means ‘church,’ and instead offered the use of alternative words including ‘donthe’ which is from a different dialect and the English word ‘church.’

The PRSU said that this perceived insensitivity towards the Patsho-speaking church was questionable as the Pathso Nokeng Students’ Union and the church leaders of PNBT had not only objected to the restriction but also appealed for rectification of the nomenclature.

However, the programme proceeded without adhering to PNBT’s adopted name, it said.

Other incidents, the PRSU highlighted included the KBCA’s alleged insistence to conduct a local church inauguration programme in the Thang (Noklak) sub-dialect as well as pastor installation programme in a ‘Noklak sub-dialect.’

Expressing displeasure at what it perceived as impositions on linguistic identity, the PRSU stated that the KBCA should acknowledge the joint standing direction of the apex tribal bodies— Khiamniungan Tribal Council, Khiamniungan Students’ Union, and Khiamniungan Menyiu Hoikam (Women organisation), to the Khiamniungan Literature Board to give equal importance to all the sub-dialects for the research and publication of mother tongue textbooks for academic purposes.

It also underscored the need for the church organisation to focus on its spiritual mission rather than linguistic matters.

The student body further stated that the KBCA would be held responsible for any misunderstandings or hurt sentiments, while adding, “We love our mother tongue and we care for its preservation. Similarly, we respect equally, all other sub-dialects.”

By EMN Updated: Dec 18, 2023 9:08:43 pm
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