Kovind attended the 61st annual conference of Bodo Sahitya Sabha at Tamulpur, Assam. This is the president’s second visit to Assam in the span of three months. The President said that the conservation and promotion of local languages is the responsibility of the society and the government.
He said the atmosphere of harmony and peace in the region is becoming stronger with the joint efforts of the Union Government and State Governments of the North-Eastern region. I have noted that developmental works have an important role in this change. I have appreciated the Central Government, State Governments and residents of the region for this change.
The President appreciated Bodo Sahitya Sabha for making invaluable contributions for the past 70 years in strengthening the Bodo language, literature and culture. He said that the Founder-President of the Bodo Sahitya Sabha, Joy Bhadra Hagzer and General Secretary Sonaram Thosen had made commendable efforts in recognition of Bodo language. This Sabha has also played an important role in the use of Bodo language as the medium of school education and place in higher education.
The President noted that so far 17 writers have been awarded Sahitya Akademi Awards for their works in Bodo language. And out of that 10 have been awarded for poetry work. This shows the natural inclination towards poetry among Bodo writers. He was happy to note that many women are writing in different genres of Bodo literature. But it has also been observed that only two women are among senior writers who have received the Sahitya Akademi Award for original works, he said.
He urged ‘Bodo Sahitya Sabha’ to encourage women writers. He said that to keep any literature alive and relevant, the participation of the younger generation is very important. Therefore, special encouragement should also be given to young writers by the Bodo Sahitya Sabha.
The President was happy to note that the works of other languages are being translated into Bodo language with great enthusiasm. He said that it is the characteristic of any vibrant literary community. I have expressed confidence that such translated literature would give an opportunity to the readers of Bodo language to get acquainted with other Indian languages as well as world literature.
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that Bodo language will be introduced as a medium for classes 11 and 12 in selected schools of Assam soon.
Kovind said that with over 5,300 kilometers of international borders with several neighboring countries, the North-Eastern region has significant strategic value.
He said that North-Eastern region is the natural gateway for India to South-East Asia and beyond he said while addressing the valedictory function of North East Festival, organized by the Ministry of DoNER as a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, at Guwahati.
He said that with the launch of the Look East Policy (LEP), the security-centric approach towards neighbors in the east gave way to a prioritizing of economic issues for benefiting from the common potential for economic growth across the region. In 2014, the LEP was upgraded to the Act East Policy (AEP) which brought about a paradigm shift and marked a significant change in the potential role of the North-East region.
The President said that when our nation won Independence, the North-Eastern region was vastly different from what it is today. Initially, this region had suffered enormously because of the Partition of India, as it found itself suddenly cut off from major centers of communications, education and trade and commerce such as Dhaka and Kolkata. The only corridor connecting the North-East and the rest of the country was a narrow strip of land in the north of West Bengal, making it challenging to support developmental initiatives in the region. Yet, we have diligently worked to overcome the challenges of geography. During the last 75 years, the North-East has made significant progress on a variety of parameters.
The President stated that the North-Eastern region has immense inherent strengths. What it offers in terms of tourism, horticulture, handloom and sports is often unique. He said that efforts are needed now to place the North-Eastern states on par with the industrially advanced states so that more jobs are created here. Recognizing this need, the Government is working with the states to improve their Ease of Doing Business parameters and to facilitate the flow of private investments into the North-East.
Pointing to the emergence of climate change as the greatest challenge before humankind, the President said that careful planning and efforts will be needed in the years to come to preserve the rich ecological heritage of the North-East. He said that this region is part of the Himalayas and Indo-Burma bio-diversity hotspots – the two of 25 such hotspots in the world. Development choices for the region must, therefore, integrate relevant strategies for natural resource management, green industrial and infrastructure development as well as sustainable consumption patterns.