Darjeeling’s BJP MP Raju Bista today vehemently criticized Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s announcement that those seeking jobs in West Bengal should be able to speak and understand the Bengali language.
According to Mr Bista, when the rest of the country and the world are opening their borders to talented individuals, irrespective of their origin or primary language they speak, Miss Banerjee had exhibited her “regressive nature” by announcing the primacy of one language over all others as a primary criterion for landing a government job in the state.
“She seems to forget that West Bengal is not a single language state. Bengali is one of the softest languages in the world, and the mother tongue to a great many renowned personalities across the world, including Nobel Laureates. However, along with Bengali, West Bengal is also home to many other indigenous languages. Other than English and Bengali, Gorkha/Nepali bhasa which is spoken by a majority of the people in Darjeeling hills, Terai, and Dooars region was included as an official language in West Bengal in 1961.
Gorkha/Nepali bhasa is also recognized and included in the VIIIth Schedule of our Constitution,” Mr Bista said in a press statement. “Additionally, owing to the linguistic diversity of our state Rajbanshi, Kamtapuri, Hindi, Urdu, Gurmukhi, Oi-Chiki, and Oriya have also been added as official languages,” he added. According to him, languages are the soul of a community, and that in declaring the primacy of just one language, “Mamata ji is trying to crush the soul of all other languages and communities in the state.”
“It is because of her ‘shoot first, ask later’ style of governance that people in North Bengal are extremely wary of her and distrustful of her government. She must remember that it was one such attempt at imposing a language, that had led to wide public unrest in the Darjeeling region in 2017,” Mr Bista added.
The MP, who is also one of the spokespersons for the BJP, said that the linguistic minorities who are mostly found in the Darjeeling hills, Terai and the Dooars region, North Bengal and Tribal belts of South Bengal have lived under discrimination for decades, “but we will not tolerate such discrimination anymore. We will go to the courts if required against any attempt at further discrimination.”