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Ignoring mother tongue equals degrading culture

Ignoring mother tongue equals degrading culture
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Ignoring mother tongue equals degrading culture

Highlights

Use of mother tongue, both at school and in everyday life, is essential, because when 40% of the world's inhabitants do not have access to education in the language they speak or understand best, it hinders their learning, as well as their access to heritage and cultural expressions

Use of mother tongue, both at school and in everyday life, is essential, because when 40% of the world's inhabitants do not have access to education in the language they speak or understand best, it hinders their learning, as well as their access to heritage and cultural expressions. "This year, special attention is being paid to multilingual education from early childhood, so that for children, their mother tongue is always an asset," says UNESCO.

It also believed that linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened as more and more languages disappear. We have been coming with slogans like 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' but neither the Central government nor the State governments have shown any interest in organising programmes for promotion of mother language. The only person who had chosen a novel way to share his concern for promotion of mother language seems to be Vice President, M Venkaiah Naidu.

He has been sharing his concern over many mother languages being ignored and their existence getting threatened due to lopsided political decisions like some governments trying to impose English medium in schools at the cost of mother tongue. It is appreciable that he shared his concern in all Indian languages in the form of a tweet. Linguistic diversity has always been one of the foundational pillars of our civilization. It is more than just a means of communication. Mother languages connect us with our heritage and define our socio-cultural identity.

Undoubtedly, the use of mother tongue in all spheres from primary education to governance should be encouraged. Creative expression of thoughts and ideas in one's mother language should be encouraged. No one opposes teaching English nor does one lower its importance as a language that is required for competing in the present era of globalisation. But what is unfortunate in India is that maximum emphasis is being laid on English ignoring use of mother tongue in all spheres. This kills creative expression of one's thoughts and ideas.

There are certain emotions that one can only express in their mother tongue. Language is the essence and identity of culture and is a major tool for communication, exchanging ideas, emotions and feelings. governments need to be doubly careful while adopting policies regarding the medium of instruction, particularly at the primary and secondary school level. The mother tongue lays a strong foundation for the expression of creativity. Every effort must be made to nurture creativity at the formative stage. Language is a tool for intellectual and emotional expression. It is a vehicle of inter-generational transmission of culture, scientific knowledge and a worldview.

It is the vital, unseen thread that links the past with the present. It evolves with human evolution and is nourished by constant use. In short, our languages permeate every facet of our day-to-day life. To every one of us, mother language is one of the most precious gifts that we have in our lives. Governments and schools have come up with a new theory that learning mother language as second language would tackle the problem. This is nothing but alienating mother tongue. By propagating this theory, these school systems are essentially destroying the diverse culture and background of human nature that makes our species so great. The language or mother tongue that we learn since our childhood helps to link new generations to the past which is part of our cultural and multi-lingual heritage.

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