'Tarao Tribe should be given Minority status'
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Imphal, December 19 2014 :
Tarao Tribe, which has long been in existence as indigenous population, has not been recognized as Minority, said K Mela Tarao, President of Tarao Tribe Union during the discussion on 'Tarao Language and Culture' organised jointly by Tarao Tribe Union, Leishokching, Chandel and the Tribal and Endangered Languages Promotion Board at Imphal Movie Club (IMC), Thangal Bazar here today.
Tarao tribe is having only around a thousand population residing at four villages of the state.
The minority group has no MLA and no ADC member in its populace, Tarao leader continued, saying that the state government is still indifferent to the gradual extinction of the Tarao Tribe, with the least population among other groups.
Continuing his speech, K Mela cited that Tarao is a distinct community and there are legends revealing the wedlock between Manipuri God 'Wangbren' and Tarao woman.
Tarao people have been having over 10 varieties of attires each for men and women, Mela pointed out while lamenting that the assimilation of the group into other bigger communities has led to it being an endangered community in Manipur.
Expressing the need for regrouping the scattered population of the Tarao tribe in Chandel district, the president said that 'the Union is ready to provide 5 bundles of zinc sheets each to the family who comes forward for the proposed re-union in Chandel district'.
The fare and the food for settlement will also be provided, he added.
While expressing optimism that the minority group can develop its socio-economic condition once the whole tribe is settled at one particular village, he appealed to the state government and the people of Manipur to assist in the re-union of the disperse population of Tarao at one village.
Saying that the report of UNESCO which terms the Tarao language as extinct is surprising, Mela lamented that the report amounts to butchering the Tarao people alive.
He claimed that Tarao language is being spoken by at least a thousand people.
He demanded that the Tarao tribe should be declared as Minority community.
Prof PC Thoudam, retired head of department (Linguistics), Manipur University and K Mela Tarao, president of Tarao tribe Union attended the discussion programme as chief guest and president respectively, while L Sharatchandra Sharma, political analyst and language activist, and Moirangthem Naokhomba, Vice-president of MEELAL were also present as guests of honour.
Dwelling on the importance of the language and culture of a community, Chief Guest Prof PC Thoudam pointed out that the elements which we have inherited from birth are components of our culture.
Only music and dance cannot be called culture, he told the gathering, while adding that language is what we speak, notwithstanding the question whether it is taught in school or not.
The chief guest appealed to writers to pen their pieces in their own language, so as to preserve the indigenous language.
He extended support to the preparation of text books in Tarao language.
Addressing the gathering, language activist L.Sharatchandra stated that the discussion was the first step towards reviving the Tarao group and language.
He stressed the need to speak the language as a means to save it from extinction.
During the discussion programme, a Joint Committee for the Protection, Preservation and Revitalisation of Tarao Language and Culture was formed.
Summing up the discussion, Dr Th Chandramani of Tribal and Endangered Languages Promotion Board called upon the gathering to support in the movement for revival of Tarao language and culture.