Monday, June 15, 2009

Language discrimination in Mizoram

"The teachers in Chakma areas [in Mizoram] are Mizos who do not stay in the village of their appointment, and are unable to teach the Chakma children who do not understand either the Mizo tongue or English. Clearly, the appointment of Mizo teachers is not benefiting the targeted populations (at least in the case of the Chakmas), and hence is a futile exercise." Paritosh Chakma, "Mizoram: Minority Report" (PDF file), EPW, 6 Jun 2009.

Nor is this all. As Paritosh Chakma reports in his blog: "The state government of Mizoram has passed several Recruitment Rules where "working knowledge of Mizo language at least up to Middle School standard" has been either made a compulsory requirement of educational qualification or as a "desirable qualification".

As I commented on this post: [This] rule ... goes against the National Commissioner of Linguistic Minorities (NCLM) "Safeguards for Linguistic Minorities". The safeguard in question is the following:

i. No insistence upon knowledge of State’s Official Language at the time of recruitment. Test of proficiency in the State’s Official Language to be held before completion of probation

Using the NCLM's various Reports, Mr Chakma came back with another post on his blog, this time with a thorough indictment of the state government's practices of language discrimination.

In Mizoram, Chakma is not the only minority language discriminated against, of course. NCLM's 43rd Report (2004-5) (DOC file) recounts a visit to a Nepali-medium school in Aizwal which revealed that, "[since] Mizo was not taught there up to upper primary standard.... those desirous of joining the [government] services are at a disadvantage."

As Paritosh Chakma concludes, "the discriminatory Recruitment Rules must be scrapped to remove the language hurdle for linguistic minorities in state employments."


Paritosh Chakma said...

Dear Mr Giridhar,

I thank you for highlighting this important issue on your blog. However, I do feel that merely blogging by you and me is not going to suffienctly address the problem of institutionalized discrimination against the linguistic minorities. Hence, I wish to follow up the matter and commit a needful intervention at appropriate level of authority.


Stefano Keller said...

Dear Mr. Chakma,

Let me suggest you to visit the website:


Best regards,
Stefano Keller

गिरिधर | giridhar | గిరిధర్ said...

Paritosh Chakma has posted images on his blog of a February-2008 examination paper for Hindi teachers.

As he points out, over half the questions are in Mizo!

"Linguistic minorities such as Chakmas, Nepalis or Bengalis or Gorkhas or Reangs, who are citizens of Mizoram, will find difficult, if not impossible, to answer. This is against the fundamental right to equality and non-discrimination in state employment."