Gobindapur (Baksa), Feb. 4: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today said law alone could not protect the Assamese language. Instead, he sought the people's cooperation.
Gogoi's comments were in response to the Asam Sahitya Sabha's request for tough measures such as making the language compulsory in English medium schools.
"Is it possible to protect Assamese language if people are not willing to teach it to their children? Besides, do people forget Assamese if they study in English medium schools? Many writers who have made immense contribution to the Assamese language were from English medium schools," he said.
Gogoi was speaking at the inauguration of an open session at Dr Bhupen Hazarika Samannay Khetra here on the concluding day of the Sabha's 72nd biennial session.
Before the inauguration, the Sabha's outgoing general secretary Paramananda Rajbongshi urged Gogoi to take tough initiatives to introduce Assamese as a compulsory subject in English medium schools in Assam except in the BTAD.
He also appealed to BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary, who was present at the session, to introduce Assamese along with Bodo in the administrative work in BTAD.
Rajbongshi also appealed to Gogoi to help the Sabha financially so that it can complete a five volume comprehensive history on Assamese literature at an estimated cost of Rs 80 lakh.
He said a few parts of the encyclopaedia published by the Sabha would be available in the market within the next six months.
Gogoi promised the government's cooperation and also donated Rs 5 lakh to the Sabha.
He said Assamese language and culture had spread to other parts of the country and added that the Sabha should expand its base to neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bangladesh.
Thousands of people visited the venue today. Jnanpith award winning Oriya writer Pratibha Ray and Gujarati writer Sitanshu Yashashchandra also participated in the open session.
Ray spoke about how she had become a writer and about her writing style.
While many organisations continue to demand a separate state for the Bodos from Assam, Mohilary spoke about an Assam with all communities, including the Bodos.
"We are all people of Assam. Maybe some of us are Bodos, some Rabhas and some Karbis, but we are all people of Assam."
He urged the Asam Sahitya Sabha to lead the sahitya sabhas of all the communities of the state.
Earlier in the day, a history conference was organised at the venue.
The next biennial session of the Sabha will be held at Kaliabor in Nagaon district from February 1 to 4 in 2015.