Preservation of Tibetan language most urgent: Pema Jungney

Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile Pema Jungney making his closing remarks of the 8th session of the House in Dharamshala, India, on 30 September 2019.

Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile Pema Jungney making his closing remarks of the 8th session of the House in Dharamshala, India, on 30 September 2019. Tibet Sun/Lobsang Wangyal

By Lobsang Wangyal

McLEOD GANJ, India, 30 September 2019

Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile Pema Jungney expressed concern over degradation of the Tibetan language, and said that the issue must be urgently dealt with.

“The way Tibetan language is degrading, I get a feeling that after 30 years, it may not be spoken any more,” Jungney said, as he made the closing remarks of the monsoon session of the exile parliament.

“If it is important, each and every individual in the community must shoulder the responsibility to use and preserve the language.”

He emphasised the importance of members in the parliament being more careful about borrowing words while speaking Tibetan.

“There used to be a rule that members seek Speaker’s permission when they needed to use English or Hindi words in the House, but this wasn’t done in the current session,” he lamented.

He added that if the Tibetan language is to survive, everyone has to play their role in preserving the language. Programmes such as the weekend community classes alone will not help sustain the language.

Jungney asked the administration to pay heed to eradication of poverty and caring for the handicapped people. He said that handing them some cash each month for their sustenance is not the answer. “Programmes to teach them skills should be considered for long-term solutions.”

He then drew attention to the need to have closer connections between the members of the parliament and the common people to understand their issues.

“A gap is felt between the representatives elected by the people and those who elect them.” He urged the members to try to get closer to the people in order to understand and serve them better.

The current 8th session, held for ten days, saw presentations of annual performance reports of the seven departments of the Central Tibetan Administration. The members expressed their appreciation for the achievements of the exile administration led by its leader Lobsang Sangay.


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