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In this Assam district, Hindi unites 11 tribes

While Hindi-speaking migrants continue to live under the fear of being attacked by armed militants in Karbi Anglong...

| Haflong |
September 10, 2007 1:36:58 am

While Hindi-speaking migrants continue to live under the fear of being attacked by armed militants in Karbi Anglong district of Assam, in the adjoining North Cachar Hills district a form of Hindi unites 11 different tribes.

“We call it Haflong Hindi,” said former Chairman of Haflong Town Committee Gopinath Gorlosa.

“A century ago, most of the 11 tribes living in the North Cachar Hills could hardly communicate with each other. Today, all of us have a common language, which we call Haflong Hindi,” Gorlosa said. While Gorlosa himself is a Dimasa, all other tribes—Hmar, Kuki, Zeme Naga, Biate, Vaiphei, Hrangkhol, Khelma, Rongmei, Karbi, Jaintiya—use Haflong Hindi to communicate with each other.

Jayega, khayega, hum and hai are some of the Hindi words used in the language, which is why it is considered a form of Hindi, says Somnath Upadhyaya (79), who was responsible for introducing Hindi as a subject in schools here in the early 1950s.

“It is easy. Just bind words from the local tribal language, Assamese or Bengali using Hindi verbs. Tense and grammar hardly matter. And you’ll be speaking Haflong Hindi,” says Upadhyaya, who holds a Shastri degree from Benaras. When a Dimasa tribal says, “Tumko mairong leke aaya”, one must understand that he means “I have brought some rice for you,” he explains.

“Sometimes it is difficult to understand,” points out Anil Kumar Barua, Deputy Commissioner of the district. When one says, “Tum kutta hum khaya,” it means “Your dog has bitten me”. Or when someone says, “Hum agey girega,” it means “please drop me there.”

The North Cachar Hills, like the Karbi Anglong district, is a hotbed of militancy with at least seven groups active in the region. That’s why Haflong Hindi is an advantage here. “Unlike in Karbi Anglong where Hindi-speaking people are targets for militants, here Hindi binds different tribes together,” says Brig P R Shankar, in-charge of counter-insurgency operations in the two hill districts.

“If you are new to this place, it will take you two to three days to pick up the meanings,” says Dharampal Gupta, whose grandfather Kaluram Gupta came here in 1890 from Sialkot (now in Pakistan) to work in a railway project.

Deputy Director, Social Welfare, R H Khan said: “Humlog sabka develop karega. Buddha logonka develop karega. Pregnant maiki develop karega. Jawan ladki develop karega,” speaking of the various schemes by his department on Thursday. And the message was clear to all tribes.

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