Preference for English harming mother languages

Photo: Pamir Times Photo: Pamir Times[/caption] This was said by renowned writer Noorul Huda about the situation of the national language and mother tongues at a mother languages festival which opened on Saturday. She and other speakers lamented that owing to the socio-economic pressures, less preference was being given to Urdu and other local languages as compared to English, causing serious harm to different languages spol The two-day `Pakistan mother languages festival` has been jointly organised by the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) and the Indus Cultural Forum in collaboration with Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) and USAID-funded Pakistan Reading Project. The festival coincides with the International Mother Languages Day (21 February). More than 150 writers from over 15 mother languages are participating in the event. Nazeem Diya from Karakoram Art WelfareCouncil, Gilgit, is attending the festival with the aim to promote his local languages such as Shina, Balti, Burushaski, Khowar, etc. He told Dawn: `I and my friends are trying to promote our languages. I fear that owing to carelessness on the part of government, many beautiful languages will diminish. Discussions on various topics of languages, literature and culture, book launches, mother languages mushaira, musical evening, audio visual screening, cultural performances, bookstalls, food courts, cultural exhibitions and mobile libraries were the main sources of attraction for the visitors. Ali Toorani from Quetta Hazargi Academy, who set up a bookstall, told Dawn: `Hazargi is a very rich language and I am here to promote or introduce this language as many people do not even know about the existence of this language. A cultural diversity show, `Our language ouridentity` was also performed by the students of National University of Modern Languages and the National University of Science and Technology, focusing on almost all mother languages. Naseer Memon of the SPO said the festival aimed at promoting Pakistan`s linguistic and cultural diversity as an instrument of social harmony, peace and tolerance. Dr Fouzia Saeed, the executive director of Lok Virsa, said: `Lok Virsa comprises different languages and cultures and if these mother languages die, Lok Virsa will automatically die. Therefore, we are providing a platform to all provincial bodies, cultural institutions, literary organisations, local and communitybased associations to project their cultures in an effective manner. `Learning skills of life with Gogi Comics` was a children`s corner where Nigar Nazar, a cartoonist through her animated stories and comic books was busy with children. An animated story, `Babblo the little boy who doesn`t like books` was screened. Basim Kafeel, a sixth grade student from a private school, said: `It is a very good experience to visit the festival as I came to know about different languages I was unaware of. Such festivals should also be organised in schools to help students know about the local languages.`Poets in Urdu, Kashmiri, Potohari, Balti, Punjabi, Seraiki, Sindhi, Torwali, Hazaragi, Shina, Wakhi, Gojri and Burushaski also shared their renderings with the audience at a Mushaira. Lok Virsa Mandwa Film Club also screened Balochi film `Saawad`. Saawad (ocean) is a story of survival and hardships that the people of the coast live through.–Dawn ]]>

2 Replies to “Preference for English harming mother languages”

  1. I agree with Mr Nizar Ali Shah. As a matter of fact languages are not rival to one another. We do need an international language, a national language which is langua franca and at the same time the first language which every one gets from the lap of sweet mother. Harmony, understanding and mutual respect is the key to national cohesion. Well done Mr. Shah!

  2. As a Pakistani we should develop our local and regional languages and there is no second opinion about this.At the same time,our country cannot live in isolation,we need English for international communication, international trade, for promoting science and technology and for higher education and for smooth foreign policy.English is lingua franca the language of the international community.In this rapidly changing world it is no longer the language of the British people it is the language of the international community.China despite its all economic strengths has adopted English in its universities for its international students and for its Chinese students as well.The floated idea that English language is a hindering factor in the way of local languages and regional languages in not fair.The british say horses for courses.In the 21st century more than eighty percent of scientific knowledge is available in English language.we must pay tribute to Sir Syed Ahmed Khan who took out the Muslims of the subcontinent from the quagmire of social exclusion introducing modern education which culminated in the form of an independent Islamic state Pakistan.
    Nizar Ali Shah
    Harchin Chitral

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