ILAM, Nov Dec 1: Limbu language that is written in Sirijanga script has been declared official language by Mangsebung Rural Municipality - 5. Perhaps this is the first time an ethnic language has received the status of official language in the country.
Amid a formal function organized at the ward on Thursday, provincial assembly member of Province - 1 Dhirendra Sharma declared Limbu as the official language of the ward. The constitution allows local administrations to take such decisions.
Speaking at the program Sharma said that language will make it easy for locals to get their work done in the ward. "It is the way to preserve and conserve our diverse language and culture as well," he said. "This ward will now use Limbu language in all official forms and documents," he added.
Mangsebung Rural Municipality - 5 is densely populated by Limbu community. As per estimation, over 70 percent people in the area are Limbus. Karati religious leader Atmananda Lingden belongs to the same ward. Lingden's influence and teachings are also considered one of the reasons of this ward embracing Limbu as its official language. A meeting of local representatives, civil society leaders and representatives of several political parties held on 22 October had decided to opt for Limbu as the official language of the ward.
Chairperson of the ward Narendra Rai noted that the decision will have 'pleasant and long term implications'. "This preserves our script, our language, our traditions. Language carries narratives and that carries our culture," he said. "Now all the public notices will be written in Limbu language here. We have already been working on this," he added.
In view of possible hassles to those who are not well versed in Limbu language, the ward is preparing to hire interpreters at the office. Five such interpreters will be appointed, according to the ward. Rai stated that the interpreters, since there is no government quota for them, will be working on volunteer basis for now.