Editorial | Identity Matters

We just observed International Mother Language Day. It is an occasion that is actually marked to underline the importance of diversity in the human world, and the importance to celebrate this diversity. On this occasion functions are held globally to highlight the need to preserve the mother language. Looking from the overarching perspective of collective identity language is the most important marker of identity. It is actually the language that we speak that shapes up our identity. So it is extremely important to make conscious attempts to save one’s language and look for the means to promote it. Unfortunately in the present day world there are many languages that are on the verge of extinction. Though there are some global bodies that try to save such languages, but it is ultimately the people who speak a language that can protect it. If the number of such people depletes there are less chances of saving that language. 

The other danger to a language is if the new generation starts shifting to some other language and doesn’t pay heed to the mother language. This is where the case of a language like Kashmiri falls. Under the impact of globalisation certain languages have become crucial for acquiring knowledge, and finally getting a job. This makes it difficult to ignore learning such a language. In our case that language is English. Another reason why people are worried about such regional languages is the practice of people preferring to speak some other language, that is considered socially superior to one’s own mother tongue. Both these challenges are faced by Kashmiri language also. So there is a definite need to be concerned about the perpetuation of our language to the next generation. In this scenario we must strike a balance. While the need to preserve the mother tongue is beyond debate, the functional necessity of learning other languages cannot be ignored. Our schools need to be conscious of this. The educationists must come forward to devise means and methods that can  help our schools to teach languages in ways that makes students learn multiple languages from an early stage.