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Board Chairman Launches Lepcha Radio Program

By C.M. Paul
Chairman and Lepcha Radio Journalists
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Kolkata, Oct. 19.   Darjeeling, 19 October 2020: The West Bengal Mayel Lyang Lepcha Development Board (WBMLLDB) Chairman Ren. Lyangsong Tamsang launched Lepcha language program on Radio Salesian 90.8 FM, 19 October 2020.
He came with a delegation of 10 Board Members to mark the historic event which was held in Salesian College Sonada AV Hall.

The program was broadcast LIVE on Radio Salesian, Google MEET, and Radio Salesian FB page.

Speaking at the event, Chairman Ren. Tamsang praised the initiative taken by Radio Salesian to save vanishing Lepcha language and culture saying, ''Catholic missionary effort is to save. It is much greater than destroying.''

Tamsang thanked Radio Salesian profusely saying, ''In working for Lepcha language and community, you are following instruction of Pope Francis who encourage people to promote ancient and indigenous cultures.''

Lepcha Board formally constituted in 2013 is one of 18 tribal boards in the Darjeeling hills.

The Lepcha language radio program consists of ''Message to Lepcha Community'' in which Lepcha Personalities, Folk Tales, as well as instruction on language and culture will be aired in Lepcha language.

The program is prepared by three young Lepcha Radio Journalists Liesa Lepcha, Suk Tshering Lepcha and Jilbert Lepcha who completed one month of intense training with Radio Salesian.

The one hour long weekly program will be broadcast on Saturday 6.00 p.m. with a repeat on Monday 3.00 p.m. from Saturday 24th October 2020. The program will also be available on the web App ''Listen2MyRadio'' by searching ''Radiosalesian'' on Saturday at 6.00 p.m. with a repeat on Sunday at 6.00 a.m. The same program could be heard on Monday at 3.00 p.m. and Tuesday at 3.00 a.m worldwide.

Lepcha Language with its own original script is claimed as one of the ancient languages of the hills and also an official language of the hills until 1911.

Principal of Salesian College Sonada and Siliguri Prof. (Fr.) George Thadathil has submitted several proposals to Chairman Tamsang for the promotion of Lepcha langage and academic research in collaboration.

''Lepchas are aboriginal people who mostly reside in the remote villages of the hills where radio could be most beneficial medium to connect people,'' claims RJ Suk Tshering Lepcha.

The Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association believes there is a Lepcha population of more than 150,000 in West Bengal. Among them, 90 percent reside in Darjeeling and Kalimpong. END


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