Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb on Sunday delivered a speech in Kokborok language on the occasion of the 42nd Kokborok Day.
"People can learn any language if they accept it by heart, one just needs to develop such mentality," Deb said
"In Tripura, out of the 32 per cent indigenous population, 29 per cent speak Kokborok," the CM added.
Kokborok is the Sino-Tibetan native language of the Borok people of Tripura and neighbouring areas of Bangladesh.
The name is derived from Kok meaning "verbal" and Borok meaning "human".
Kokborok is closely related to the Bodo, Dimasa and Kachari languages of the neighbouring state of Assam.
The Chief Minister in 2019 had committed to deliver his address this year in Kokborok.
The speech in Kokborok was appreciated by people from all walks of life.
"Being the Chief Minister, I am happy to address the Kokborok-speaking people in their mother tongue," he said.
"I prepared the speech only last night," he added.
The CM said the state government has sent a proposal to the Centre for sanctioning a special package of over Rs 8,000 crore for the development of Janajati people and the proposal is under consideration.
"We also initiated more empowerment to Autonomous District Councils," he added.
"The number of seats will be increased from 30 to 50 (including nominated) along with 42 departments," Deb reiterated.
"Earlier, Kokborok was being taught in 94 senior basics, 52 madhyamik schools and 20 Higher Secondary schools," he said.
"Now, the numbers have increased to 139, 100 and 41 respectively," Deb added.
"Moreover, the state government has declared 12 tribal-dominated backward blocks as aspirational blocks," he added.
Deb further said the state government was also working in every sector for the development of indigenous people.
"When we shall go to the people before the 2023 elections, we shall present a report card on the development of indigenous people," Deb said.
"If people are satisfied, they will vote for us," Deb added.
The Chief Minister later took part in a colourful rally that showcased the rich heritage and culture of the indigenous people.
Kokborok was declared an official language of Tripura in 1979.
Consequently, the language has been taught in schools of Tripura from the primary level to the higher secondary stage since the 1980s.
A certificate course in Kokborok started from 1994 at Tripura University and a post-graduate diploma began in 2001.
Kokborok was introduced in the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in the colleges affiliated to the Tripura University from 2012.
A Masters of Arts (MA) degree in Kokborok was introduced in Tripura University in 2015.
There is currently a demand for giving the language recognition as one of the recognised official Indian languages as per the 8th schedule of the Constitution.
The official form is the dialect spoken in Tripua's capital Agartala.
Following is Tripura CM Biplab Deb speaking in Kokborok
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