Morung Express News
Kohima | October 2
To help better communication among the Naga people, ‘Key Words: A glossary of Sixteen Nagaland languages’ by the Kohima Educational Trust (KET) was published on October 2 at Hotel Japfü, Kohima, and released by PB Acahrya, Governor of Nagaland & Manipur.
“The objective of the glossary is for Nagas to learn one another’s languages and to start communicating in them so as to foster a feeling of oneness and belongingness. The second objective is a hope that such work will assist researchers and others but most of all that it may help to protect our tribal languages which are all in the vulnerable or endangered list of languages,” said Charles Chasie, President, Kohima Educational Society (KES). The book, initiated by late Dr. Gordon Graham, a veteran of the Battle of Kohima and founder of the Kohima Educational Trust (KET), took five years to complete.
The glossary has been confined only to 16 recognized tribe languages in Nagaland so that it does not create any possible controversy, Chasie explained.
Dr. Graham got in touch with Charles Levine, a lexicographer who had worked with Random House for years, who took up the task of collecting initial words and phrases in New York. This collection was sent to Kohima for consultation with language expert Professor D Kuolie, in the Department of Linguistic, NU. After the translation was completed, the copy was sent to Douglas Williamson, a professional British designer from Macmillan Books who was assisted by Essie Cousins and Sylvia May from Harper Collins, who helped in the clarifications, explanations of word meanings, special connotations etc.
“The identity of the society is the language,” said PB Acharya adding that students should be rooted in their mother tongue. Unlike the rest of the country where states are formed on the basis of one language, Acharya noted that in Nagaland every tribe has its own distinct language and commended that the author of the book has strengthened the identity of the Nagas. Taking a note of the migration of Naga youth towards other cities, Acharya asked why young Naga graduates outside are more contended than the ones in the state. “In the name of religion, education, are we doing justice to the society?” asked Acharya. .
“One of the most important things any society needs is the building of good human beings. If we have good people, there would be tolerance, understanding, appreciation, love and peace,” said Charles Chasie, during the book launch. He educators to contribute towards developing good human beings and highlighted the importance of structures needed to build an organized society.
So long as knowledge keepers and idea-givers in society find their due place with recognition and reward, that society will never go wrong noted, Chasie.
“What moves our society are muscle, money and political power. Even the otherwise powerful Church seems to become powerless in certain areas. Talks about Nagaland being a Christian State has not rid us of corruption, extortions, violence and all kinds of crimes- some of them earlier considered taboo,” he lamented.
Chasie also announced the starting of Dr. Grodon Graham Prize for Naga literature from 2016, aimed at recognizing and rewarding the knowledge keepers and idea givers in Naga society.
A brief overview of KET and KES was shared by Pheluopfelie Kesiezie. KET has built a 30 bedded students hostel near Pangsha to meet the needs of poor students, constructed a Basketball court at Phek, and War KET library located at State Library which includes rare war books. KET also plans to reach out to students in remote areas.