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Bhojpuri and Magahi out, Urdu stays: Latest controversy from Jharkhand and what we know about it

While Hindi has been completely omitted as an official language in the districts, many have alleged that Bhojpuri and Magahi have been dropped from the list despite having considerable speakers in the state.

The Linguistic department of the Jharkhand Government in a fresh notification has removed Bhojpuri and Magahi as regional languages for the Dhanbad and Bokaro districts of Jharkhand. The fresh advisory, however, retains the status of Urdu as a regional language in every district of Jharkhand. The move has met with massive uproar since the announcement.

On February 18, The principal secretary to the Jharkhand Government issued a fresh notification in which the list of regional languages for districts in the state was directed. For the districts of Bokaro and Dhanbad, five languages including Nagpuri, Urdu, Khortha, Kurmali and Bangla were given the status of regional languages. After the release, Locals have alleged that Bhojpuri and Magahi were missing from the list.

In the list formulated by the government, Urdu finds a place as a regional language in all 24 districts of Jharkhand whereas Hindi is not recognised as a regional language even in any single district. While Urdu retains its place constant, even regional dialectic languages like Nagpuri, Kurmali and Angika keep changing their status as identified regional languages across the districts.

While considering the linguistic data of Jharkhand, while the Hindi speaking population constitutes a total of 21.4%, The tribal languages of Kortha, Santhali, Nagpuri, alongside dominate the linguistic composition in the state. When it comes to the district of Bokaro, the recent list does not include the languages of Hindi and Magahi which constitute up to 35.4% and 10.2% of the populations respectively.

The Controversy

While Hindi has been completely omitted as an official language in the districts, many have alleged that Bhojpuri and Magahi have been dropped from the list despite having considerable speakers in the state. According to Indian Express, the languages were omitted because of the protests held in several parts of the state in December 2021, over the inclusion of Bhojpuri and Magahi in the Jharkhand Staff Selection Commission (JSSC) examinations for appointments in Bokaro and Dhanbad districts.

On Saturday, Education minister Jagarnath Mahato clarified the government’s stance on the issue. While speaking to the media he said, “There is no village in Dhanbad and Bokaro districts where the Bhojpuri language is spoken. Those who speak Bhojpuri have come from Bihar. We have considered Urdu language as regional because it is spoken in every district”

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had earlier taken down on this stand stating that Bhojpuri and Magahi are spoken down across Bihar and Jharkhand since both the states were a single political unit at a time. He asked, “Do Bhojpuri & Magahi belong to just one state? Bhojpuri is spoken in UP too. Bihar-Jharkhand was one. It (language) is for all, “

Netizens are calling out the exclusion of Bhojpuri and Magahi while the languages are being labelled as ‘coming from outside’. In fierce stands, people are also calling out Urdu’s dominance as a regional language as an act of pandering to minority appeasement.

Earlier in Jharkhand, a controversy had erupted over the removal of Hindi from the Jharkhand Staff Selection Commission exams whereas Urdu was retained. Looks like the Hemant Soren-led government is in the mood to score a political goal while playing linguistic politics and minority appeasement.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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