A two-day seminar on ‘Hmâr Language: Then, Now, Hereafter’ was held at Synod House, Paltan Bazar, Guwahati from April 12-13, 2023. The historically unprecedented literary meet on the Hmâr language organized by Hmar Welfare Society, Guwahati (HWSG) was attended by delegates from the four Hmar Literature Societies (HLS) of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya and Mizoram, as well as major civil society, student and church organizations, noted linguists, academician and intellectuals from Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
On April 12, 2023, the inaugural programme compered by Eric L. Ralsun (President, HSA Jt. Hqtrs, Guwahati) began with observance of one minute silent prayer for the departed souls of the torch bearer pioneers involved in developing usage of Hmâr language. Invocation prayer by Rev. Lalchawlthang Ṭhiek was followed by introduction of HWSG executive committee members by James L. Neingaite (Chairman, HWSG). Dr. Immanuel Tuolor (Secretary, Seminar Organizing Committee/SOC) delivered the welcome speech and officially introduced the delegates and special invitees to the august gathering.
In his inaugural speech, Thanghlun Hmar (IRS, Retd.), President, Hmar Supreme House, highlighted that the objective of the seminar is to deliberate the origins, progression, status and steps that would be required to further standardize and develop the Hmâr language keeping in tune with the demands of contemporary times. He emphasized the need to evolve a consensus on a writing methodology that is uniform and consistent both in matters of verbal usage and writing. On his part, Joshua Neitham (Chairman, SOC) delivered the keynote address highlighting the topics that would be presented, deliberated and debated upon by the delegates and invitees.
The inaugural session was subsequently followed by the first session that was compered by Philip Khoral (Member, SOC) in which the delegates and special invitees were felicitated with the traditional ‘Hmârpuon muffler’, mementos and participation certificates.
The second session was kicked off by a debate between the two HLS – Assam and Manipur on the ‘Usage of Apostrophe’ with Manipur HLS represented by Lallungawi Hmar (Secretary, HLS, Manipur) and Assam HLS represented by Lalrochan Sungte (Assistant Secretary, HLS, Dima Hasao). This was followed by a paper presentation on ‘Hmâr Language–Tones, Morphophonemics & Orthography’ by Elim Hmar (Member, Meghalaya HLS) after which Dr. L. Fimate (Former Director, RIMS) also presented a paper on ‘Usage of Vowels, Consonant Clusters & Diphthongs’. The first day session was brought to a close with a thanksgiving prayer by Elder L. Thanzam Pulamte (Member, Hmar Christian Musical Society).
The second day was marked by a book release titled “Assamese-Hmar-Assamese Dictionary” by Dr. Upendrajit Sarma, General Secretary Assam Sahitya Sabha. This was followed by a debate on the ‘Usage of Consonant Cluster’ between Dr. L. Fimate (Former Director, RIMS) and Lalringsan Hmar (Editor-in-Chief, The Hmar Times), with each presenting their respective perspectives. This was followed by a series of paper presentation on ‘Hmâr Language–Compound Words/Affixes & Phrases’ by Lallungawi Hmar (Secretary, HLS, Manipur), ‘Verbal Agreement in Hmâr Language’ by Dr. Marina Laltlinzo Infimate, PhD (Linguistics), ‘Writing Methodology in the Hmâr Bible’ by Rev. Kawlthanglien (MA, BD), ‘Hmâr Language: Then, Now, Hereafter’ by Ramthienghlim Varte (Chairman, HLS, Meghalaya) and ‘Challenges in Usage & Development of the Hmâr Language & Solutions Thereof’ by Joshua Neitham. A brief retrospective report was given by Elder (Dr.) VLT Bapui (President, HLS, Assam) on the seminar on Hmâr language held at Aizawl, Mizoram on December 2013.
After thanksgiving speech delivered by Solomon Hmar (Secretary, HWSG), the two-day seminar was officially brought to a close with a prayer by Rev. Varsanglur.