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Language and Identity with Special Reference to the Tribal People in Orissa

Dr. Chitrasen Pasayat

Language is extensively accepted as one of the
major factors, which creates boundedness or 'we
feeling'. It offers a bond of solidarity; it provides
a common cultural identity among those who share
a common language.
In 1905, a strong language movement was
noticed in Sambalpur and politics based on Oriya
language brought some areas of western Orissa
like Sambalpur into Orissa. On the basis of
language, possibly, Orissa was the first state
carved out in the year 1936 that too during British
regime. These days, Oriya is the dominant and
official language of our state. In course of time,
however, we have realized that it is difficult to
build an authentic Oriya nation-state by
establishing the dominance of Oriya language and
culture. We have miserably failed particularly in
the field of tribal literacy. As a result of this, we
have now concentrated on imparting primary
education to the tribal pupils in their mother
languages. At the initial stage, State Government
under DPEP has taken all necessary steps to
prepare primers in ten tribal languages. In this
sense, it would not be out of context to mention
that we should have a nation-state with multiple
language centres.

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