International Mother Language Day 2021 is celebrated across the globe on February 21 to hail the linguistic diversity in the world.
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu wrote to all members of the Upper House on Sunday urging them to promote and preserve Indian languages. He lamented that regional languages were being given short shrift.
“My greetings on International Mother Language Day. Linguistic diversity has always been one of the foundational pillars of our civilization. More than just a means of communication, our mother languages connect us with our heritage and define our socio-cultural identity,” the Vice President wrote in a tweet.
Writing to each member in their own language, Mr. Naidu said India was home to 19,500 languages and dialects, of which 200 were facing the threat of immediate extinction.
According to the United Nations, around 43 per cent of the 6,000 languages spoken in the world are at the risk of being eliminated. The UN also says that a language disappears every two weeks, which destroys an entire cultural and intellectual heritage.
In order to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism, International Mother Language Day has been observed since 2000. Bangladesh mooted the idea to observe International Mother Language Day. The proposal got the UNESCO’s approval in 1999.
The General Conference of UNESCO proclaimed International Mother Language Day in 1999 and it was welcomed by the UN General Assembly in its resolution of 2002.
The UN General Assembly in 2007 asked its member states “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world.” The UN General Assembly officially recognised the day in 2008.