In a first, Governor addresses Meghalaya House in Hindi

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SHILLONG, March 16: The Governor’s address in Hindi emerged as the talk of the town as it happened on Friday for the first time in the history of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. The Governor, Ganga Prasad delivered his address on the first day of the Budget Session in Hindi while one of the opposition members, Ampareen Lyngdoh of Congress walked out of the House in protest.
Prior to the beginning of the Session, Congress member PT Sawkmie raising a point of order wanted a clarification from the Speaker whether the Governor would be speaking in Hindi and if so whether translated version of the speech would be circulated.
The Speaker Donkupar Roy said that priority now was to lead the Governor to the House.
However, when Sawkmie went on asking about the usage of Hindi in the Assembly by the Governor, Roy replied that copies of the speech in English would be circulated.
The Governor read out the speech in Hindi throughout his address while at the same time skipping important paragraphs in the English version of the speech.
Later, reporters caught up with the Assembly Speaker, Roy who admitted that it was for the first time that a Governor had spoken in Hindi in Meghalaya House.
Elaborating further, he said, “You see the official language here is English but as per the Rule, anyone can speak in their mother tongue provided they give the translated version beforehand.”
Roy said that the translated version into English has been circulated to all the members even the Governor spoke in Hindi which is considered to be the national language in the country. “The circulated (English version) is the official one,” he added.
Asked whether Roy insisted the Governor to speak in English, he said, “The Governor is the Governor.”
When asked whether the message in Hindi (deemed as shuddh Hindi) which the Governor spoke would be able to reach the people, Roy said, “I have seen many who watched TV and many don’t know Hindi but still they understand it (laughs).”
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma told reporters that as per the rules and conduct of the House any member who desired to speak in his/her mother tongue can do so by giving a write up of the speech in English 30 minutes before he/she speaks.
According to the CM, the Governor’s speech in Hindi is not an issue at all as it is not a foreign language as he said, “It is a language that is spoken in the country as a whole.”
He said, “The rules have been followed…. The rules are there. The contents are already in the printed version along with the details. The reason why he summarized some of the points could be because it was very long. Those are reasons we don’t know …. Governor’ House and Governor’s Secretariat will know better.”
However, Sangma said that the Governor covered most of the points as he was listening to the speech in Hindi and that everything was in writing which does not pose much issue.
“The Honorable Governor is comfortable of speaking in Hindi, he can read Hindi better so he did what he was comfortable with,” he added.
According to Sangma, since the speech was in writing, it would not be an issue if he spoke in Hindi or English. “If he had given anything in writing, then we would be able to say, ‘What is happening?’ But it has been given in English and I don’t see any issue.”
On the other hand, Leader of Opposition, Mukul Sangma said that it should have been ideal that the Governor should have spoken the official language which is widely used in the state
“We are proud of our heritage in the Assembly but the precedence is created that we will have to preserve the legacy. It would have been appropriate to be addressed in the language which we communicate,” he added.
After the House resumed after 12:30 pm, following a tea break, Sawkmie raising a point of order raised the issue of Governor creating a bad precedence.
“It is the first time in the history of Meghalaya, a Governor addresses the House in Hindi and this is to popularize one nation, one culture, one language,” he said.
“This infringes on the norms and it will create precedence as members would resort to Khasi, Garo and Pnar language in the days to come,” he added.
Sawkmie asserted, “As head of the state, he should not have let down the dignity and decorum, of the House.”
Congress legislator, MM Danggo, wanted to know whether the English version of the speech circulated to the members is exactly the translated version of the speech of the Governor.
In reply, the Speaker said that the rule and procedures of the Assembly clearly mentions that though English is the official language, members can also speak in their mother tongue provided that the translated copies are circulated to the members.
He also said that English version of the Governor’s address is exactly the translated version of what was spoken by the Governor in Hindi. (Courtesy: TST)