Essay on International Mother Language Day

A language is much more than a means of communication. Language, particularly our mother tongue, is an essential component of our culture. Some people believe that our language has the power to alter our perceptions of the world. There are around 6,500 languages in the world, but did you know that a language dies and disappears every two weeks? International Mother Language Day, celebrated on February 21st, is a day to celebrate and defend all of the world’s languages. It has been decided that the theme of the International Mother Language Day in 2022 will be “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities.” It focuses on the potential role of technology in advancing multilingual education and assisting in the establishment of high-quality teaching and learning opportunities for all students and teachers.

This is such a unique day and it has a unique story in the back too. Bangladesh is the only nation that sacrifices lives and gave blood for the language.  In 1952 Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan. And Pakistani rulers wanted to make Urdu the official language of the country. And they declared it. But the students of Dhaka University didn’t accept that. They protested against the government and lots of students and general people died there. Shahid Minar is a monument that has been created to pay respect for them.

Every year on February 21st, UNESCO observes International Mother Language Day to promote and spread mother languages and a greater awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions around the world, as well as to encourage solidarity based on understanding, tolerance, and discussion. The MHRD is commemorating it as Matribhasha Diwas throughout India with the goal of sensitising people to the need for greater use of mother tongues and other Indian languages for the nation’s development and progress, imparting communicative skills and proficiency in mother tongue, particularly among English medium students, giving a boost to “Knowledge Creation” in mother tongues, encouraging translation from other languages to mother tongues, and encouraging translation from mother tongues to other languages. All schools, colleges, universities, and language-related institutions under both the Central and State Governments have been asked to commemorate this by holding seminars, workshops, and special lectures, as well as various competitions for students, on the importance of mother tongues, India’s vast and diverse language heritage, and ways and means to preserve and support all mother tongues in India. New forms of competitions such as GK competitions on Indian language heritage, translation from other languages to mother tongues, speech competitions in mother tongues on modern issues, exhibitions on Indian mother tongues, and so on would be some of the celebration’s distinguishing aspects.

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India was never a country that spoke only one language. Not only is the country multilingual, but every area and city is as well. Since time immemorial, all languages have not only coexisted but also supplemented and enriched one another. As a result, the culture of this land is inclusive. During Matribhasha Diwas celebrations, people are encouraged not only to use one’s mother tongue more frequently, but also to learn other people’s mother tongues, in order to develop this sense of oneness or nearness. Schools and colleges are encouraged to engage in year-long activities that promote greater use of one’s own mother tongue and faster learning of other people’s mother tongues, as well as creating a welcoming environment and recognising and nurturing Indian mother tongues. Language festivals are also being staged for the first time in various locations.

According to the 2001 Census, India has 22 Scheduled languages, 100 non-scheduled languages spoken by more than ten thousand people each, 1635 rationalised mother tongues (including foreign languages), and 1957  other mother tongues that need to be studied, safeguarded, and promoted. Honourable Human Resource Development Minister Shrimati Zubin Irani released 1008 books in 22 languages for children produced by the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, launched an online course on Classical Tamil developed by the Central Institute of Classical Tamil, Chennai, and published 5 volumes of Sanskrit translation of Kalki’s legendary Tamil work “Ponniyin Selvan” today at the Matribhasha Diwas in Ethiraj College for Women in Chennai.

According to Nelson Mandela, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” At least 43% of all languages are endangered, and just about 100 are used in the digital world. The majority of online communication is conducted in one of the following languages: English, Chinese Mandarin, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Indonesian, Malayan, Japanese, Russian, or German. Everyone, however, has the right to use their mother tongue and to preserve the memories, traditions, and ways of thinking that their mother tongue represents. That is the purpose of International Mother Language Day.

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