Language Commission recommends province-wise official languages before government


September 6, 2021


Language Commission recommends province-wise official languages before government

The Language Commission handed a report along with the recommendations to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba amidst a program at Baluwatar Monday. Photo: RSS

KATHMANDU: The Language Commission has recommended different languages for province-wise use for official works. The Commission formed in line with the Constitution has also presented criteria and bases of languages suggested for opting as official languages in provinces.

The Commission handed a report along with the recommendations to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba amidst a program at Baluwatar today.

Commission Chair Dr Lavadev Awasthi had been in the Prime Minister’s official residence to present the report to the Executive Chief. On the occasion, the Prime Minister expressed acknowledgment for the Commission’s ability to complete its major assignment within the deadline.

The Commission was formed on September 8, 2016 in accordance with Article 287 of the Constitution with the main mandate of recommending official languages in addition to the Nepali language within the five years.

According to Article 7 (2) of the Constitution, a Province may, by a province law, determine one or more than one language of the nation spoken by a majority of people within the province as its official language(s), in addition to the Nepali language and other matters relating to language shall be as decided by the Government of Nepal, on the recommendation of the Language Commission.

The Commission’s recommendations are based on the size of the population, writing system, archiving, basic service basis, language medium of education, concentration and expansion of speakers, linguistic vitality, communication usage, technology-oriented language, language speakers, and language community.

As per the recommendation, it has been suggested to bring Maithili and Limbu as the official languages out of the 14 national languages with more than one percent speakers in Province No.1.
As per the recommendations, Maithili and Limbu languages have been suggested as official languages in Province 1. The population of Maithili-speaking people is 11.19 percent in the Province followed by 7.31 percent of the Limbu language.

The population of the Nepali language speakers stands at 43.07 percent.

Likewise, Maithili, Bhojpuri, and Bajjika languages have been recommended in Province 2.
The size of the Maithili population is 45.30 percent followed by 18.58 percent of Bhojpuri, 14.65 percent of Bajjika, and 6.67 percent of Nepali language.

Likewise, Tamang and Newari languages have been recommended for Bagmati province, home to 18.32 percent of the Tamang population and 12.30 percent of Newar people. The number of Nepali-speaking people stands at 57.42 percent in the Province.

The languages recommended for Gandaki Province include the Magar language with 9.03 percent speakers, the Gurung language with 7.85 percent, and the Bhojpuri language having 7.07 percent speakers. The Nepali language speaking population in this province comprises 67.88 percent of the total population of the province.

Similarly, the Tharu language having 13.15 percent speakers and the Awadhi language having 11.52 percent speakers is recommended for the Lumbini province. The number of Nepali language speakers in this province is 54.70 percent.

The only language of the nation in the province- the Magar language- has been recommended for the Karnali province. The Magar language speaking population in this province is 2.26 percent while the Nepali language speaking population is the highest at 95.14 percent.

For the Sudurpaschim province, the Dotyali language with 30.45 percent speakers and the Tharu language with 17.01 percent speakers have been recommended to be developed as the language for official use. The number of Nepali language speakers in this province is 30.18 percent.

Dr Awasthi said the Commission has stated that the local levels could also implement the language for official use based on the set criteria.

The Commission had formed an Advisory Group for preparing the report along with the recommendations. The Group comprised of experts Bairagi Kainla, Dr Jagaman Gurung, Prof Hridayaratna Bajracharya, Prof Ambar Raj Joshi, Prof Yogendra Prasad Yadava, Prof Choodamani Bandhu, Prof Tej Ratna Kansakar, Prof Madhav Prasad Pokharel, Prof Nobel Kishor Rai, Prof Jeevendra Dev Giri, Prof Danraj Regmi, Prof Dubinanda Dhakal, Dr Balaram Prasain and Dr Rudra Laxmi Shrestha.

A high-level province-wise report drafting committee was also formed. The Commission submitted its Fifth Annual Report, 2021 to President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Sunday. It stated in its report that the language of official use and other languages of the nation was in a weak situation due to the influence of English.

For the promotion of the national language, the Commission has suggested that it would not be appropriate to make the English language which is not recognized by the Constitution of Nepal, as the official and companion language as well as to use it in the vehicles operating within Nepal.
Noting that works like expanding the English medium education from the primary level itself is against Article 7(1) of the Constitution, the Commission has recommended it would be in consonance with the Constitution to keep the embossed number on vehicles in the language determined as the official language by the province concerned, besides the official language and the Nepali language, as suits the technology.

The report states that the commitment to ensuring the fundamental right to get an education in the mother language should come from the local level.

A total of 131 languages along with additional eight ones identified by the Commission are spoken in the country. Of them, 74 languages have been spoken by less than 10,000 population.

Of the least spoken languages, the ones that have been spoken orally and by a small population include the Dura, Kusunda, Titung, Baram, and Lungkhim languages, which have been at risk of disappearance.

A total of 123 languages have been spoken in the country, according to the census, 2011. In the country, 44.64 percent population uses  Nepali language as their mother tongue and 32.28 percent as a secondary language.
Each person and community has a right to use their mother tongue and participate in cultural life and promote and protect their language, script, culture, cultural civilization, and heritage, according to Article 32 of the Constitution.

Recommended official language
Province 1: Maithili and Limbu
Province 2: Maithili, Bhojpuri, and Bajjika
Bagmati Province: Tamang and Newar
Gandaki Province: Magar, Gurung and Bhojpuri
Lumbini Province: Tharu and Awadhi
Karnali Province: Magar
Sudurpaschim Province: Dotyali and Tharu

(Prakash Silwal/RSS)