Marat Akhmetov: “No outsider will protect the Tatar language”
The commission for the preservation and development of the Tatar language has started its work
The literary award for the most popular Tatar work, the Prize named after Ilgam Shakirov, four working groups and dozens of unresolved problems — the commission for the preservation and development of the Tatar language started working with such news in the State Council.
“No one needs the Tatar language except the Tatars”
“I believe that the problem of the Tatar language in a multi-ethnic republic is a decrease in spiritual demand for it. They look at it not as a national pride but at what it will give you in life," the head of the newly formed committee, vice-speaker of the State Council Marat Akhmetov began his speech. “Time and life have shown that no one needs the Tatar language except the Tatars. Its preservation is the duty of the Tatar people exclusively. No outsider will protect it. If we consider our language our treasure, but we can't pass it on to the next generation properly, the ethnicity will lose its essence.
Apparently, Marat Gotovich forgot about Pavel Shmakov, who fights for the right to study the Tatar language. And yet...
Now only a quarter of Tatar children receive school education in Tatar, and in Kazan this figure is lower by several per cent.
“There are Tatar schools named after Rizaitdin Fakhretdin, Mullanur Vakhitov, Khadi Atlasi — the teaching is not conducted in Tatar there," said Akhmetov.
The most sensitive issue is education
The vice-speaker advised to listen to the opinion of young people in the matter of using Tatar. The younger generation will probably attend the meetings of the committee's working groups, of which four have been formed so far.
The first one deals with education. It is headed by the relevant minister, Rafis Burganov. Here Akhmetov touched on the topic of teaching methods:
“Previously, it was said that Tatar textbooks are complex, but now they are preparing textbooks of a new generation. You should work more using communication techniques. We hear opinions that more attention should be paid to spoken language. I myself believe that there is no need to study 'voiced/deaf consonants'.
The vice-speaker suggested to involve Tatar-language magazines about education in the process:
“Megerif, Gaile khem mektep — are there such magazines? If they want to hold competitions and grants, we are ready to provide financial assistance on behalf of the commission.
In general, education issues were raised most often at the meeting. In particular, Akhmetov said that together with the federal ministry of education, the process of adding translated textbooks to the federal list should be accelerated. Lilia Akhmetzyanova, the head of the department of national education of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Tatarstan, at his request, gave a brief reference on this situation, said that now adding one textbook to this list costs about 472,000 rubles: this includes the purchase of exclusive rights, translation, and creation of an electronic version.
Often parents themselves are not proactive, Akhmetzyanova said with annoyance: “A group of parents comes and say they want a Tatar group in the kindergarten. All right, bring me 15, 10, 18 requests, there will be help. If there are applications, the ministry of education will have its say. Unfortunately, everything remains in words. There was a case in Naberezhnye Chelny when Tatar classes could be opened. At least one parent came forward with a statement! There is a desire for schools, cadres, but on the other hand — no.”
Akhmetzianova also touched upon the problems of state exams and proposed to raise the status of the Tatar language as a subject in the exam in the following way: if they take into consideration individual achievements as part of admission to universities and colleges, so why not to take into account high scores in Tatar?
Culture: more awards for writers and singers
The second working group will be headed by Minister of Culture of the Republic of Tatarstan Irada Ayupova, she will work with the media, cultural and public organisations, and social networks. In this direction, Akhmetov proposed jointly with the Union of Writers of the republic to establish a prize for “the most favourite Tatar work” with a prize of half a million rubles. By the way, we recall that one of the most popular Tatar writers, Zifa Kadyrova, refused to join the union last year.
The place in the presidium, along with Akhmetov and Burganov, was occupied by Deputy Prime Minister Vasil Shaykhraziev. Initially, he was not part of the commission, but as the head of the Milli Shura national council, he will also take part in its work. He is also a member of the council for the implementation of legislation on languages of the Republic of Tatarstan under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan.
Shaykhraziev announced the creation of the award named after Ilgam Shakirov. Three performers will receive it, and one of them will not be a professional but an amateur. The award amount is 200,000 to each.
Besides, the amount allocated for the programme 'Preserving the national identity of the Tatar people' was approved. If last year it was 32 million rubles, this year it has been increased to 100 million rubles. In particular, Shaykhraziev rejoiced that 8 million were allocated to the autonomous regions for the purchase of ethnic costumes and instruments!
“My children speak, but my grandchildren already not really”
The third group, led by the rector of KFU, Ilshat Gafurov, should deal with secondary special and higher education. Accountable instead of him was the director of the Institute of Philology and Arts, Radif Zamaliev, who asked angrily why the above-mentioned programme for the preservation of ethnic identity did not include projects from the KFU: “After all, we are directly involved in this.”
The fourth group (it was assigned to the deputy chief of staff of the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Ilnur Garipov) is responsible for working with the authorities. By the way, all the work of the commission was carried out exclusively in Tatar. The former head of the Spassky district, and now State Council Deputy Kamil Nugaev, who came out with a comment, complained: “In the State Council, 65 deputies-Tatars — could speak Tatar, what prevents them?" Besides, he openly stated that the blame for the decrease in the number of Tatar speakers lies with him: “Like with a family man. My children speak, but my grandchildren already not really.”
By the way, one of the few public figures included in the commission, Coordinator of the community Tatar ata-analary Ilsia Akhmetgalieva suggested to think about holding family festivals. She also asked Ilshat Aminov, the chairman of the Union of Journalists of Tatarstan, personally to upload cartoons on YouTube broadcasted by Shayan TV: “A six-year-old watches them, but then the programme starts for 14-year-olds, and he switches to another channel. Maybe there are some old cartoons?"
The head of the TNV from the spot replied that there were no old ones. But it is already clear that only through the available channels, children sitting in gadgets cannot learn Tatar. It is likely that maximum digitalisation and the work with new media will be among the issues that the commission will work on. Besides, there is no way to do without the help of diasporas and fellow countrymen (in Bashkortostan alone, there are a million Tatars), as well as other republics. Fortunately, they also have their own textbooks, applications, and techniques that help to preserve the language in even more difficult conditions.