Ministry of Culture is celebrating International Mother Language Day

The Ministry of Culture is celebrating International Mother Language Day today, February 21. To do so, it is organizing a two-day event, i.e, February 21-22, to promote and highlight the importance of the mother language and the cultural heritage of the country. 

Programs lined up for the day

The events are being organized in line with Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. The two-day event is being held at Indira Gandhi National Center of Arts, New Delhi in collaboration with Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and UNESCO. The event will also host an interactive session of writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians, journalists, and experts. 

In addition to these, other cultural programs will also take place, including live music performances, poetry recitation in the mother tongue, group song and dance in different languages, a webinar on Using Technology for Multilingual Learning: Challenges and Opportunities, and the release of the book ‘Tribal and Indigenous Languages of India’.

Vande Bharatam to be released

Furthermore, in the evening, in the event ‘Ekam Bharatam’, the Minister of State for Culture, Meenakshi Lekhi will formally release the ‘Vande Bharatam’ soundtrack. The soundtrack has been co-created by tabla maestro Bikram Ghosh and Grammy Award winner Ricky Kej. The soundtrack was also a part of the Republic Day 2022 dance presentations by the Ministry of Culture.

International Mother Language Day
The general conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decided to celebrate February 21 as the International Mother Language Day in 2000. Since then, the Day is celebrated worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity along with the promotion of multilingualism. 

The other objective of International Mother Language Day is to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by people around the world. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities”. 

This year’s celebrations focuses on the potential role of technology to advance multilingual education and support the development of quality teaching and learning for all.

Languages in India

As per the 1961 Census, India has more than 1,652 mother tongues, genetically belonging to five different language families. As per the 1991 Census, the country had 10,400 raw returns of mother tongues and they were rationalized into 1576 mother tongues. 

They are further rationalized into 216 mother tongues and grouped under 114 languages, namely, Austro-Asiatic (14 languages), Dravidian (17 languages), Indo-European (Indo-Aryan, 19 languages & Germanic, 1 language), Semito-Harmitic (1 language), and Tibeto-Burman (62 languages). 

There are twenty-two Indian languages – Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kashmiri, Kannada, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu are included in the Eighth Schedule. Among these, Sanskrit and Tamil are assigned the status of Classical languages.

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