History created in Meghalaya Assembly: Members debate in Khasi

SHILLONG. Mar 19: Former Cabinet Minister and Congress legislator from East Shillong, Ampareen Lyngdoh entered the history books when she became was the first ever MLA to speak in Khasi in the Meghalaya Assembly.

On Monday, the opposition Congress legislator was taking part in the debate on the Governor’s address.

Taking a cue from Governor Ganga Prasad – who spoke in Hindi while delivering his speech on the opening day of the Budget Session, on March 16, Lyngdoh spoke in Khasi.

Soon after the government chief whip, Agatha K Sangma proposed the motion of thanks to the Governor’s Address and the amendments to the motion of thanks proposed by opposition Congress member, Process T Sawkmie, Assembly Speaker Dr Donkupar Roy informed the House that, East Shillong MLA and Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) legislator from North Shillong Adelbert Nongrum wanted to speak in Khasi.

Initially, Dr Roy asked, Nongrum to initiate the debate in Khasi but he lost the opportunity to script history since he did not circulate the English version of his speech to the members in advance.

Initiating the debate, Lyngdoh pointed out that Rule 28 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly states that “The business in the Assembly should be conducted in English”.

“We may omit this paragraph today since precedence was set in the realms of this August House on March 16,” the Congress legislator was indirectly referring to precedence created by Governor Ganga Prasad by delivering the Governor Address in Hindi on the opening day of the session.

Nongrum who also spoke in the Khasi said that the use of Hindi by the Governor in his address was something g new.

Even though both the legislators tried their best to put the point across but one could miss the fact that their speeches was not in chaste Khasi but was interspersed with a tinge of English in between.

It may be pointed out that even though Khasi and Garo are official language but for members of the House to debate in these languages prior notice has to be sought and copies of their speeches has to be circulated to the members in advance.

Later, Nationalist Congress Party legislator from Gambegre, Saleng A Sangma who initially started his speech in Garo but soon resorted to English hinted at the emergence of a “foreign entity” to disrupt the bond between the Khasi and the Garo communities.

Sangma said that the brotherhood which is existing between between the indigenous Khasi and Garo communities is widening which is not a good sign.

“(It is) Sad to see difference being created in the House,” the Gambegre legislator said.

Echoing his views, HSPDP MLA from Mawkyrwat, Renikton L Tongkhar said that the MLAs should try to communicate in a language which everyone understands.

According to Tongkhar since many articulate speakers like Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit, Paul Lyngdoh and Jemino Mawthoh are not part of the current House, new comers like him was looking to learn from experience legislators like Lyngdoh.

“I do not subscribe to this idea of speaking in the local dialect. I am of a strong opinion that MLAs should try to speak in the English language,” Tongkhar said.