Our mother tongue is Kashmiri

Our mother tongue is Kashmiri and we have to promote it. There is no doubt that feelings are expressed in mother tongue and its influence remains till one’s death. It doesn’t matter whether we speak it or not but the language our land, our parents, and our grandparents spoke or speak, is our identification not a tag. We are born in Kashmir so we are Kashmiri.

But the question is; why don’t we speak Kashmiri? Why do we feel disgrace in speaking it?We try to change the intuition of our children, don’t we? We tend to be foreigners in our own place, and our intent remains to impress others that our children don’t know Kashmiri. Everyone in the world knows that people in Kashmir speak Kashmiri. It is also the main objective of our commercial schools to erase the mother tongue from the minds of our children. We have to change this situation and impression revive our belonging towards our mother tonuge. The main purpose of the celebration of “International Day of Mother Tongue” is to encourage and revive the mother tongues in the world. There is no shame in speaking or promoting one’s mother tongue. It is rather to be done with a sense of pride.

Kashmir is the only region in the world where people prefer other languages over their mother tongue; where schools focus on second language and third language and ignore the mother language. And the day is not far when our children would ask us, “What is our mother tongue?”

Surely we can’t say “Urdu”, ” Hindi ” “English” or “Punjabi”. These are the second or third languages. Speaking Urdu or English is good but avoiding Kashmiri is bad. When we avoid Kashmiri, we avoid our culture, our identity, heritage and our birth as Kashmiri.

Mother tongue is in our DNA. It helps in quick cognitive and intellectual development of children provided they can speak it fluently. Studies have revealed that the rate of educational success in the mother tongue is higher than those who are taught in other mediums.

Languages are the most important means of saving culture. Language and human culture are intimately related. The highest level of ignorance is ignoring the mother tongue. The direct translation of one language to another might not carry the same essence as it is in the source language. Thus, the best way to entirely know about a culture is to know the language. It keeps us connected to our culture and our roots. The mother tongue is used to preserve the culture and civilization of any people.

Knowing our mother tongue well is a matter of pride not shame. It boosts our enthusiasm and creates awareness. Unfortunately we prefer other languages and create confusion among children; consequently they are unable to decide which is their mother tongue. The mother tongue helps in providing a definite shape to our emotions and thoughts. Learning in our mother tongue is also crucial in enhancing other skills such as critical thinking and skills to learn a second language.

See how our apathy destroys our mother tongue. In the recent past, Government introduced Kashmiri as a subject in all schools irrespective. The strangest thing in this connection was that only Government and rural private schools started teaching it, that too as an optional subject. It was not made compulsory in examinations, consequently the initiative lost the essence and the move failed.

We as Kashmiri parents never stressed its importance or appreciated our children learning it. May I know why? Why do we feel inferior in speaking and learning Kashmiri?

We love and respect our saints like Sheikh Alam, Lall Arifa, and Habbeh Khatoon, but we are unable to understand their poetry or teachings. We quote their sayings to impress others but are not ready to teach our children the language of our ancestors. We must remember that Kashmir is the abode of Kashmiris and Kashmiris are identified by the Kashmiri (kosher) language. So, perishing of Kashmiri language implies the end of Kashmiri culture and civilization.

Time has come to introspect and decide who we are; Kashmiri, or anything else.