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International Mother Language day; How significant is the day?

We live in a world of diversities. Different cultures, different habits, different foods, different dress codes….. and the differences goes on. Language is another major factor that keeps changing, evolving and developing over ages. Each country has a language that we learn at home to speak, hence this becomes our mother tongue. We are so fortunate that while world celebrates its multilinguistic nature, our country India is proud to have several languages within.

Mother tongue also known as mother language, plays an important role in our lives. We learn mother tongue from our homes and it is a part of our identity. Hence it was decided by UNESCO in 1999 to dedicate a day to the language and it later began to be called as International Mother Language Day, celebrated on February 21 every year.

The idea was said to have been inspired by the language-based movement which was spearheaded by Bangladesh as it was on February 21 when the fight for their Bangla language gained momentum. We tend to forget our mother tongue very often with the influence of global language English. This can result in disregarding the language we speak at home. In such a context, this day holds a lot of significance.

When UNESCO announced this day, it was “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world.” This year’s theme is Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society which aims at promoting the use of our mother tongue. Specially, it is through English the education is imparted. But the other side is that not everyone can afford to study only in English. Therefore, UNESCO desires to pay special attention to multilingual education.

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