“Language is vital for personal identity, cultural development, social bridging, educational advancement and security of national sovereignty. Certainly, equally important is the mother language which is a foundation of all communications and instruction in mother’s language is essential for achieving quality education for all and social integration. Obviously, our encounters with language, as scientists say, begin long before birth— four and half months after conception. “ From then on, we develop in a continuous and luxurious bath of sounds: the song of our mother’s voice…”- Walter Murch
SURREY – UNESCO on 17th November 1999 in its General Assembly meeting passed a resolution unanimously to observe the International Mother Language Day on 21st February every year and since year 2000 people all around the world have been joyfully celebrating it. This year celebration focuses on the theme “Multilingualism for Inclusive Education”. In her message for IMLD, the Director General of UNESCO-Irina Bokova stated: “ Allowing the indigenous people to learn from very early age in their mother tongue , and then in national or official languages , promotes equality and social inclusion”. Actually, cultural diversity is as significant as biological diversity in nature. While we are trying to protect and promote our mother languages we should ingrain respect for other languages too.
The IMLD was jointly celebrated by the South Asian Literary Society of Canada, Canada Urdu Association, Hindi Literary Society of Canada, BC, Punjabi Lekhak Manch of BC and Kendriya Punjabi Likhadi Sabha of Uttari Amerika on February 26, 2012 at Al Medina Restaurant in Surrey. Mohammad Rafiq, secretary of SALSOC welcomed the guests and introduced the representatives of literary organizations. Acharya Dwivedi coordinated the event. “Education in mother language empowers the cultural heritage and humanity. When language is intertwined with specific religion it looses its potentiality for expansion and creativity. As we all know that it has happened with Hindi of Hindu, Urdu of Muslim and Punjabi of Sikh…”,Dwivedi stated in his opening remarks. He invited the speakers to address the gathering. Suresh Kurl said “The intercultural marriages and internet have eroded the basic role of mother language in developing the child’s communication skill in one language. Now in urban families more than one language is generally practiced”. “I’m proud of my mother language –Punjabi but respect others”, commented Mohan Gill. Sams Siddiqi applauded all organizations who agreed to celebrate this event in a very friendly atmosphere. “I love my mother language –Urdu and appreciate all”. Nadeem Parmar shed light on his personal life. “My mother language is Punjabi, learnt in school Arabic and Farsi languages, in college studied English and compose poetry in Urdu language. I wish I should have written more in Punjabi”.
M. A. Malik conducted the poetry recital session (Mushaira/Kavi sammelan) in very impressive and effective way. These writers participated and paid tribute to their mother languages: Gill ‘Mansoor’, Jeevan Rampuri, G.Singh’Badal’, Inderjeet Sidhu, Mohan Gill, Jitendra Kumar, Krishna Bector, Rupinder Khaira’Roopi’, Alam Aara, Taffaq Tabssum, Herdev Sodhi’Ashak’, Suman Sharma, Madhu Varshney, Charan Singh, Inderjeet Daami, Krishn Dhanot, Ashok Bhargava, Nadeem Parmar and Acharya Dwivedi. The guests were served sweets and snacks.