West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Monday that her government will set up a Dalit Sahitya Academy in the state. Headed by noted Dalit writer Manoranjan Byapari, the committee includes 14 members who will work towards the upliftment and promotion of Dalit literature and Dalit writers in the state.
"For the betterment of the languages of tribals, we have decided to form a Dalit Sahitya Academy. Dalits' languages have an influence on the Bengali language," Banerjee said. The committee will also have representatives from other backward groups and communities, including Namasudra, Poudrakhastriya, Matua, Baghdi, Bauri, Dom and Majhi.
The Times of India quoted Banerjee as saying: "Dalit literature is also a part of Bengali literature. There was one tribal academy, but the government wants to give them more responsibility and provide help so that Dalit literature can grow up and bloom into a proper form. That is why we have decided to form this Dalit Sahitya Academy."
In a report by The Telegraph, a senior government official mentions how Dalit writers, like Manohar Murli Biswas, who have gained popularity across the country, are yet to find recognition in Bengal. The academy being constituted will strive towards getting such voices heard and recognised within the state as well.
Along with the Dalit Sahitya Academy, Mamata Banerjee also announced the formation of a Hindi Academy in the state. "We had earlier formed a Hindi Academy after coming to power. Today we have restructured it and have decided to form a new Hindi Academy with former (TMC) Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Gupta as its chairman. We respect all languages and don't have a linguistic bias," she said.
Gupta, who is also the editor of a Hindi daily published from Kolkata, will chair the 25-member board of the academy, as declared by Banerjee on Monday.
(With inputs from The Press Trust of India)
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