National Conference (NC) President Farooq Abdullah Saturday said that the mother tongue was the underlying component of one’s culture and identity and that every effort should be made to protect the linguistic diversity of Jammu and Kashmir.
A statement of NC issued here said that in his message on the International Mother Language Day observed every year on February 21, the NC president while delving on the importance of preserving the linguistic heritage of Jammu and Kashmir said that the mother tongue must be the medium of instruction in schools, especially at formative stages.
“It lays a strong foundation for the expression of creativity and personality development. It also fosters creativity at the formative stages. As far as Kashmiri language is concerned, it is richly endowed with classical as well as folk literature watered over thousands of years by various poets, sages, rhetoricians and linguists,” he said. “Having a large number of speakers, Kashmiri enjoys the privilege of being one of 22 languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule, yet that does not put the language out of risk of getting extinct. Therefore, the need of the hour calls for taking radical steps to protect it and propagate it. Urdu, no doubt glues all the people of Jammu and Kashmir together, but languages like Kashmiri, Dogri, Pahari, Gojri and Punjabi should not be relegated to obscurity.”
Calling for a comprehensive strategy to help keep Kashmiri and other languages in Jammu and Kashmir alive, Abdullah urged upon prioritising it in the education sector, especially during the formative years of learning.
He also emphasised on having special grants for scholars pursuing research programmes in Kashmiri and other languages. “Incentivization of publication of journals, magazines and papers in the local native languages like Kashmiri, Dogri, Gojri, Pahari and Punjabi will go a long way in protecting the linguistic heritage of Jammu and Kashmir,” the NC president said.
He urged the parents to use their mother tongue as a medium of communication in their homes. “Communicating in one’s mother tongue should be a matter of pride for all of us in Jammu and Kashmir,” Abdullah said.