International Mother Language Day or Matribhasha Diwas is observed every year on February 21 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism around the world.
New Delhi: International Mother Language Day or Matribhasha Diwas is observed every year on February 21 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism around the world.
The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day first came from Bangladesh. The general conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decided to celebrate February 21 as International Mother Language Day in November, 1999.
The United Nations (UN) general assembly in 2002 welcomed the decision. On May 16, 2007 the United Nations General Assembly through a resolution called upon member states “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”.
By the same resolution, the general assembly proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages, to “promote unity in diversity and international understanding, through multilingualism and multiculturalism.”
On International Mother Language Day 2021, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu greeted the nation in different Indian languages. “My greetings on International #MotherLanguageDay. 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 said on social media.
Theme of International Mother Language Day 2021
The theme of International Mother Language Day 2021 is “fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society.”
It recognizes that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion, and the Sustainable Development Goals’ focus on leaving no one behind.
“UNESCO believes education, based on the first language or mother tongue, must begin from the early years as early childhood care and education is the foundation of learning,” an official statement from UNESCO said.
“The theme of the day this year, “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society”, thus encourages us to support multilingualism and the use of mother tongues, both at school and in everyday life. This is essential, because when 40% of the world’s inhabitants do not have access to education in the language they speak or understand best, it hinders their learning, as well as their access to heritage and cultural expressions. This year, special attention is being paid to multilingual education from early childhood, so that for children, their mother tongue is always an asset.” Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, said on the occasion of International Mother Language Day.