Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb Saturday at 41st Kokborok Day celebrations in Agartala said his government is working to develop Kokborok and other minority languages and challenged that he would prove himself by delivering his speech next year in the indigenous language.
Kokborok is the lingua franca of most of Tripura’s tribal communities. As many as one third of Tripura’s 27 lakh population are from 18 tribal communities. Most of them live in Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), which is spread across 7,132.56 square km and covers nearly 68% of the state’s geographical area.
As per government estimates, 8,14,375 people from Tripura, Reang, Jamatia, Noatia, Kalai, Rupini, Murasing and Uchoi communities speak Kokborok language.
Chief Minister Deb today admitted he doesn’t know Kokborok but promised that he would master it in the next one year and would deliver his speech at the 42nd Kokborok Day in that language.
“I understand feelings and body language when someone speaks in Kokborok but I don’t understand the language. Next time when I will speak here, I shall speak in Kokborok,” he said.
Deb also challenged education minister Ratan Lal Nath, who delivered his speech in fluent Kokborok, albeit reading from a paper today, for a Kokborok duel in 2020.
“Next time, you will have to compete with me in Kokborok. Tribal Welfare Mevar will judge and pronounce who came first,” the CM said.
Shortly after coming to power in March last year, the Biplab Deb government passed a proposal to include Kokborok in 8th Schedule of the Constitution in state cabinet and forwarded it to the centre for approval.
Education minister Nath said two awards would be instituted in honour of late Radhamohan Thakur and late Manindralal Tripura from this year on for excellent literary works in Kokborok language.
Radha Mohan Thakur is the noted pioneer in Kokborok grammar who wrote ‘Kokborokma’ – a Kokborok grammar book in 1900 AD.