Editorial | Promoting local languages

Greater Kashmir

The establishment of the Regional Language Academies in the backdrop of the new education policy must come as a good news to all the language and culture activists who have worked hard to promote these things. It is a known fact that the most potent means of safeguarding and promoting a culture is the language that is spoken by the people from generations. These languages are a repository of the traditional knowledge, of the accumulated experiences of the human interaction over centuries, and of the literature and artefacts produced by the local cultures. So the promotion of these languages would ensure the safety of a tradition in its entirety. As the new education policy is discussed in the public domain, we realise that it is being praised for many of its bold steps, one being the promotion of local languages by making it a part of curriculum. In this context it is noteworthy that Kashmiri and Dogri, the two major languages spoken in Kashmir and Jammu respectively, are getting some attention.

The importance of mother tongue in the overall development of personality is a given. Academics and language experts have a unanimous opinion on this. Having said so, there are other things that need to be taken care of. We live in a globalised world where human interactions and transactions are not confined to one’s own locality, and go beyond the people and the culture one is born in.  It is because of the changes in the world that some languages have become more effective means of connecting to the world. These are the languages that are the repositories of the modern knowledge.  Under the impact of some xenophobic ideas we shouldn’t miss the sight ff this fact. The importance of the languages like English can not be brushed aside. While we should promote our own languages, and make them a part our school education, we should equip our children with the ability to connect to the larger world. We must also pay heed to the insights provided by the educationists around the globe who teach languages. It is now a practice in many countries that students at a very young age are taught multiple languages.