International Mother Language Day is celebrated around the world every year on February 21 to raise awareness of the importance of languages. In November 1999, on the occasion of the General Conference on “Protection of Human Cultural Heritage”, UNESCO declared February 21 as the International Mother Language Day for the revival and survival of indigenous languages. Undoubtedly, language is the most important part of any human being’s identity and therefore it is considered as one of the basic human rights. According to a study, about 7,000 languages are currently spoken worldwide.
According to Pakistani linguists, 74 dialects/languages are spoken across the country with different dialects. 48% of Pakistanis speak Punjabi. Its literary tradition spans many centuries. From the poetry of Hazrat Baba Farid Ganj Shukr (may Allah have mercy on him) and the prose of Naushah Ganj Bakhsh (may Allah have mercy on him) to date many books have been created in this language. But it is a pity that to this day this language has not attained the status which was its first right. It is not behind any other language in terms of literature. It contains the invaluable capital of our religion, knowledge, literature, civilization and culture.
On the report of the census conducted in Pakistan and India, there are more than 150 million Punjabi speakers in the world. The British did not conquer the subcontinent with courage and bravery like the conquerors of the world. Took possession of the house of his own benefactors. English ignored the local languages as they took root.
If you want to wipe out a nation, wipe out its language
It is an indisputable fact that if a nation is to be wiped out, its language must be wiped out, then the traditions, civilization, culture, history and nationality of the nation will all be wiped out. It is the main source of education and development, but when the language disappears, so does the culture and civilization. That is why all over the world, primary education is provided in the mother tongue because in the mind of the child. Strong words create an easy and quick-to-understand connection between it and the education system. Instead, Urdu language was made compulsory. English speakers and readers were called highly educated, everyone else was ignorant.
The British waged slavery in such a way that the centuries-old Muslim curriculum became worthless. On the one hand, Muslims were stuck economically in the swamp, on the other hand, the noise of the promotion of the English language in the field of education overwhelmed them. The Muslim nation, which ruled the subcontinent for a thousand years on the basis of knowledge and practice, was suddenly turned into an ignorant peasant. Due to this blow of the British, the Muslims were plunged into darkness. The heroes of Punjab who were great heroes were presented as dacoits and looters. Thus the new generation of Punjab, instead of being proud of their own language and culture, began to feel ashamed. British occupied Punjab, made the people here feel inferior and gave the English language such a high status that the people began to feel ashamed of speaking indigenous languages.
The mother tongue is the primary means of human identity, communication, education and development
Even after the end of the colonial system, English is being given importance in all walks of life. There is no doubt that English is a language rich in advanced and modern scientific knowledge. But it is an indisputable fact that no nation in the world has ever developed by abandoning its own language and traditions and adopting another’s language and civilization. Because the mother tongue is the main source of human identity, communication, education and development, but when the language disappears, so do the cultures and traditions. In societies where intellectuals remain attached to their land and their connection to their soil is strong, the people of these countries are proud of their culture, language and history. The need must be preserved.
The government of the day should patronize the writers and poets and researchers of mother and regional and national languages, publish their works at the official level as well as translate books in other world languages into national and regional languages so that our nation gets out of the darkness and into the world over time. Universities have also started MA, M.Phil and Ph.D programs in Sindhi, Balochi, Punjabi and Pashtun languages. However, the economic significance of these degrees is limited as there is practically nothing but respect for the mother tongue. On the one hand, Urdu is not an official language today and it too has had to take refuge in the tent of regional languages due to the need for English.
The mother tongue should be made the medium of instruction in primary classes
The government of Pakistan should make the mother tongue the medium of instruction in primary classes. Many countries of the world, recognizing the need and importance of mother tongues, have recognized that every child has the right to education in their mother tongue and the indiscriminate promotion of all languages is part of the fundamental rights of citizens and state duties. But the importance and status of regional languages are still being debated in Pakistan. Although Sindhi in Sindh, Pashto in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochi in Balochistan are taught in primary education, the need for the promotion of the Punjabi language in Punjab has never been felt at the official level.
Mother Language Day Message
Education in the mother tongue helps children to understand new things very quickly and has a positive effect on children’s educational health. In contrast to the language which nurtures the language, the nations whose relationship with their own soil is weakened are doomed to defeat and humiliation. Therefore, it is important that local languages be taught as a compulsory subject in all provinces from the primary.