International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day, is observed on February 21st, as designated by the United Nations to celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity, and to promote multilingualism worldwide. The theme for this year’s International Mother Language Day is “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society.”
On this day, I would like to highlight the importance of a multilingual society, language plurality and reconciliation in our country. The state’s unitary linguistic nationalism has deprived all indigenous languages of Pakistan . There is an urgent need for the state to recognise linguistic plurality. The narrative of “lingua franca “ used by the state to create hegemonic space for Urdu is a myth . It should be done away, making adequate space for all languages being spoken in Pakistan to survive and flourish. Wider linguistic and cultural recognition is the essence of federalism and will strengthen the country. On this auspicious day, we urge upon the Govt of Pakistsn to set up a “National commission on Languages“ , and declare Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushtu and Baloachi as national languages along with Urdu. It must be known to every one that Sindhi language, is one of the oldest and richest languages in the world. It has a rich cultural heritage and a vast literary tradition, spoken by millions of people in Sindh, Pakistan, as well as by expatriate communities around the world. Unfortunately, Sindhi is facing significant challenges, including lack of institutional support, inadequate representation in public and private sector organizations and government media centers and lack of recognition as an official language in Pakistan.
On this International Mother Language Day, we call upon the Govt of Pakistan, Govt of Sindh , intellectuals , writers , media , teachers and other stakeholders to take concrete steps to promote and protect the Sindhi language, and to ensure its inclusion in education and society. This includes increasing investment in Sindhi language education, promoting Sindhi literature and media. We also call upon upon the Sindhi people, both in Pakistan and abroad, to take active role in promoting and preserving their language and culture. This can include supporting language education, producing and sharing Sindhi literature and media, and engaging with the wider community to raise awareness of the importance of the Sindhi language and its contribution to the cultural diversity of the world.
Let us all work together to foster multilingualism for inclusion in education and society.

Dr. Mehboob Shaikh
President, Sindh Vision