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Mother language

INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY 2020

What’s in news?

International Mother Language Day is observed on 21 February to spread awareness about the importance of linguistic, cultural diversity and multilingualism. 

Background:

  • When India gained independence from British rule, the subcontinent of India was divided into a separate Muslim state (East Pakistan and West Pakistan) and a separate Hindu state (India). There was a cultural and lingual conflict between East Pakistan (today Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (Today Pakistan).
  • In 1948, the government of Pakistan declared Urdu as the national language and due to it, the tensions grew more. This decision of the government sparked several violent protests amongst the Bengali-speaking majority in East Pakistan. Some students of the University of Dhaka organised a protest with some activists on 21 February, 1952.
  • Later that day, the police opened fire at the students, protesters and four students of the university were killed.
  • The martyrdom of these students who fought for the Bengali language to be used as mother language officially is remembered on International Mother Language Day.
  • Finally, on 29 February, 1956, Bengali was recognised as the second official language of Pakistan. In 1971, East Pakistan became an independent country namely Bangladesh and Bengali became its official language.
  • The General Conference of the UNESCO in November 1999 declared International Mother Language Day and on 21st February, 2000 the first International Mother language Day was observed.

Key data’s:

  • Theme of International Mother Language Day 2020: “Languages without borders”.
  • The theme focuses on cross-border languages and helps to preserve indigenous heritage.
  • UNESCO organised several events on this day and encourage people to maintain their knowledge of their mother language and learn the use of more than one language.
  • Several policies are also announced by the governments and non-governmental organisation to promote the learning of languages and support.
  • Various activities are also organised in schools and colleges to celebrate the diversity of languages.
  • Linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened because several languages are disappearing.
  • According to UNESCO, a 40 percent population of the world does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand.
  • Therefore, it is necessary to make progress in mother tongue-based multilingual education with the need for understanding its importance.

Links to note:

https://www.iasipstnpsc.in/soil-health-card-shc/

https://www.languagemagazine.com/2020/02/20/celebrate-international-mother-language-day-on-feb-21/

https://scroll.in/article/953758/its-international-mother-language-day-what-is-our-relationship-with-our-mother-tongues

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