Friday February 23, 2018

Commemorating the International Mother Language Day- February 21

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By Varnika Mahajan

“Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education, but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.” –UN

Promoting linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism is the core motive which calls for celebrating the International Mother Language Day.

The theme of the 2016 International Mother Language Day is “Quality education, language(s) of instruction, and learning outcomes.”

‘Mother languages in a multilingual approach are essential components of quality education, which is itself the foundation for empowering women and men and their societies. We must recognise and nurture this power, in order to leave no one behind, to craft a more just and sustainable future for all.’- This is UNESCO’s message on this day.

HISTORY

Proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999, the International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000.

The date represents the day in 1952 when students in the then Pakistan demanded recognition of their language ‘Bangla’, as one of the two national languages. The students were gunned down by the police in Dhaka, the capital of today’s Bangladesh.

While the day is celebrated all over the world, Bangladesh declared it a public holiday commemorating this unfortunate incident where it is also known as Shohid Dibôsh or Shaheed Day.

ACTIVITIES ON THIS DAY

The International Mother Language Day witnesses robust efforts by UNESCO and other UN agencies in promoting cultural and linguistic diversity over the world. Apart from providing awareness among people about their language and culture in other countries, these agencies encourage peoples’ morale and appreciate those who acknowledge their mother language.

People visit the Shaheed Minar in Bangladesh on this day, in order to pay homage to the students martyred on February 21. People with their outstanding performance towards language and cultural diversity are lauded. Flowers are sprinkled and it is time for the cultural celebration of their Bengali national language.

The Linguapax Institute, in Barcelona, Spain presents the Linguapax Prize on International Mother Language Day each year for those who have made outstanding work in linguistic diversity or multilingual education.

SYMBOLS

The Shaheed Minar in Dhaka
The Shaheed Minar in Dhaka (Image source: espncricinfo.com)

The Shaheed Minar in Dhaka pays respect to the four students who were shot down while demanding a national identity of their mother language.

An International Mother Language Day monument was constructed at Ashfield Park in Sydney, Australia. Images of Shaheed Minar and the globe on the face of the stone can be seen with the words “we will remember the martyr of 21st February” engraved in both Bengali and English languages.

IN CONCLUSION

We, at NewsGram, appreciate linguistic diversity and promote multilingual education. Apart from operating an online portal in the English language, a full-fledged Hindi language portal ‘newsgram.in’ is operated simultaneously, in order to create news pertaining to lingual awareness about our national language. (Image source: youtube.com)

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Copyright 2016 NewsGram

  • Bill Chapman

    I hope that Esperanto will not be forgotten today.

    Not many people know that the planned international language Esperanto has native speakers too. See:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzDS2WyemBI

    It was never planned that way, but it happened, and I have met about a dozen native speakers over the years. If it is possible for the speakers of a language launched into life in 1887 to transmit it to future generations, then surely the same should be true for more ancient community languages.

Next Story

Rani Ki Vav: A Mesmerising Stepwell Built In The Memory Of A King By His Queen

Rani Ki Vav is also considered the queen of stepwells in India

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Rani Ki Vav is one of the greatest stepwells ever made in India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma 

  • Rav Ki Rani in Gujarat is one of the biggest stepwells in India
  • It is famous for its size and beautiful architecture
  • The stepwell is one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO

Stepwells are an important part of India’s architecture and its

Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat is one of the biggest stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons
Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat is one of the biggest stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons

history. Throughout India, there are many stepwells present which may though look similar, but differ in their architectural and historical significance. One such stepwell is Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat.

Rani Ki Vav – A monument breaking the norms 

India has many monuments which have been built by the kings in the memory of their queens, Taj Mahal is one of the greatest examples of that. However, Rani Ki Vav is different. Breaking through the norms, this monument was built by a queen in the memory of her king.

Rani ki Vav, which means, Queen’s stepwell is near Patan in Gujarat. It was constructed sometime during the 11th century in the memory of Bhimdev, the son of Mularaja who was the founder of the Solanki dynasty. The richly sculpted stepwell which is considered a masterpiece was dedicated to the king by his widowed wife, Udayamati. It was flooded by the river Saraswati in the 1980s.

Also Read: Nalanda Mahavira makes it to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites

Rani Ki Vav – Architecture 

Rani Ki Vav stepwell was recognised as World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2014.

This stepwell was built by a queen in the memory of her king. Wikimedia Commons
This stepwell was built by a queen in the memory of her king. Wikimedia Commons

Rani Ki Vav is built inside an opening in the ground, which makes it special. The east facing stepwell is constructed in seven storeys and is approximately 64m long, 20m wide & 27m deep.

The central architectural theme of the stepwell is “Dasavatars,” meaning ’10 incarnations’ of Lord Vishnu. There are over 800 sculptures in the seven galleries, out of which, majority are devoted to Lord Vishnu only.There is also a carving of Vishnu reclining on one thousand snakeheads. The lowest level of the well is blocked by stones and silt now, after the flooding by river Saraswati, however earlier it used to be an escape route to the neighbouring villages.

Rani Ki Vav is considered queen of stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons
Rani Ki Vav is considered queen of stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons

Rani Ki Vav is one of the finest step wells in India and the most famous in Gujarat. It has many pillars and walls which are sculpted in the beautiful Maru-Gurjara architectural style. It is nothing less than a mesmerizing sight.

Also Read: 5 Traditional Water Conservation Methods In India 

It is one of kind type of mesmerising structure which is definitely worth visiting. Rani Ki Vav is also considered the queen of stepwells in India. Rani ki Vav was also among the five international heritage sites selected by the Scottish Ten team for digital preservation and scanned in 2011. It is one truly remarkable monument.