Site icon

Mother languages festival pledges to promote cultural diversity

Mother languages festival pledges to promote cultural diversity

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Mother Languages Literature Festival concluded on the eve of the International Day of Mother Languages on Sunday, pledging to promote cultural diversity and demanding institutions concerned take proactive measures to safeguard endangered languages of the country.

The three-day festival held at at the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) left behind yet another memorable mark on the literary and cultural scene of Islamabad as it canvased several discourse sessions and literary sittings where speakers stressed need to widen the collaboration between the government and civil society to encourage a linguistically diverse society.

The main highlight of the festival was UNDP’s documentary, “Pakistan: Places, Faces, Voices” which featured Pakistan’s 22 languages.

Representative of UNDP Pakistan Knut Ostby said the documentary beautifully captured the richness of diverse landscape that this country was blessed with – starting from the splendid peaks of the north to the deserts and sea of the south. Featuring over 22 local languages, the idea was to bring to surface the daily problems faced by these communities while they speak in their local languages in their own settings.

“I hope our humble contribution to the cause of linguistic diversity will go a long way for achievement of development outcomes,” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Parliamentary Secretary for National Heritage and Culture Division MNA Ghazala Saifi said it was important to provide voices to those who were not heard. This documentary is a great start to feature linguistic diversity.

Several book launching ceremonies were part of the festival and eight novels of different languages, 13 poetry books were unveiled.

Meanwhile, discussion sessions with young poets from different languages, a session on dictionaries and adaptability of languages and feminist literature in mother languages were held. Various stalls of books were arranged to showcase works in different languages. A planetarium was also arranged for children.

On the last day of the festival, two sessions focused on highlighting the need for state and society to work together for promotion and protection of the endangered languages and also on the role of literature festivals in galvanising literary activism and reading culture.

The speakers asked the government institutions to play their role for patronising the endangered languages, celebrate linguistic diversity and prioritise otherwise ignored languages. They agreed that native speakers were primarily responsible for the protection of their mother languages; however, provision of equal flourishing opportunities was on part of the government to facilitate and allocate resources for the purpose.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Indus Cultural Forum ChairmanMunawar Hassan said the festival was a humble contribution to offer respect for linguistic diversity. He expressed optimism to add more colours and segments to the festival that has already grown in its scope and scale over last seven years.

He said this year’s festival launched over 60 books in various genres, including over 20 books of poetry from 13 languages, over 10 novels in different languages and more than 10 books of short stories. He thanked all the sponsors, including UNDP, Academy of Letters, the culture departments of Sindh and Balochistan, Forum for Languages Initiatives, ECO Science Foundation, Hazargi Academy and others. He said all provincial governments and state institutions should support these kind of initiatives so that we can play our role to protect languages.

PAL Chairman Dr Yousuf Khushk said the academy had published over 10 books of translations and original literature from various languages. He said it was the need of the hour to promote and celebrate mother languages at the national level.–Dawn

Exit mobile version