International Mother Language Day 2020: ‘Don’t forget your mother tongue’
Dimapur, Feb. 21 (EMN): It is not power or money but mother tongue that keeps a tribe or clan’s tradition, culture and history alive, said Ao Baptist Arogo Mundang (ABAM) literature and education secretary T Apok Jamir at the Alima Tetsu Oshi Anogo 2020 (International Mother Language Day 2020) programme at Dimapur Ao Baptist Arogo (DABA) Church, Duncan, Dimapur on February 21.
Jamir was the quest speaker of the International Mother Language Day 2020 event organised by ABAM and Diampur Ao lanur Telonglem (DALT) in collaboration with DABA on the theme ‘Mother languages matter development, peace building and reconciliation’.
Speaking on the theme of the event, Jamir said that when people forget their own language and speak other languages, it leads to loss of identity. He called on the gathering to unite in order to preserve their language, saying that Ao language is a blessing from God.
He told the gathering that that they learnt about their traditions not from Hindi or English languages but from their own mother tongue which was “bestowed upon us by our forefathers”. He added that if Aos don’t preserve its mother tongue, there would be “Anglo Ao Church” soon where only Hindi or English will be spoken. He also asked: ‘If Ao tribe do not speak Ao dialect, can they be called Ao tribe?’
Jamir urged the young people to learn as many languages as they could, as it will help them in many ways, but advised not to forget their mother tongue.
Speaking on the occasion, chief editor of Tir Yimyim, K Temjen Jamir, said that International Mother Language Day is celebrated across the globe. He said that all languages are important and should be preserved.
Temjen Jamir told the gathering how language conflict between East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, and West Pakistan began after the then government in 1948 announced Urdu as as the country’s official language though those from East Pakistan speak Bangla. East Pakistani people revolted against the government to include Bangla language as well but it was revoked, and on Feb. 21, 1952, during a protest against the government, five people were killed and many injured during indiscriminate firing by the police, he said. He added that the world started observing February 21 as International Mother Language Day in 2000.
He went on to explain how Hebrew language was rejuvenated and taught to the people so that people could read the Bible and preserve the language, and how Israel was united through one language.