Language Under a Language Coffin

21st February was International Mother Language Day and our blog turned multilingual to celebrate. We hosted a series of blog posts by different authors, illustrators, parents, educators and children – sharing their thoughts on languages and more. You can read all the posts here. International Mother Language Day is an observance held annually on 21 February worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. 2015 is the 15th anniversary of International Mother Language Day.

This post was sent in by Subhashish Panigrahi and was published in the Odia newspaper Samaja on 21st February. Subhashish sent us the following excerpt :

Even though we have hundreds of languages in India, only 22 are recognized as scheduled languages in our constitution. People speaking in the non-scheduled languages deserve all the rights to express their opinion in their native languages and stopping them would be against the freedom of expression. In most cases, the dominant class of a society represses the rest and the languages of minorities fall victim to the political and societal inequality. By UNESCO’s survey, 197 Indian languages (which are part of 2471 world endangered languages) are in the verge of extinction. For migration from their original places in search of job, speaking others’ languages and living in a hetero-cultural society often make aboriginals forget about their own language and cultural heritage. In this column, I have discussed about many such challenges for aboriginals to retain their native languages and some of the possibilities for external interventions to document and preserve the dying languages.

Subhashish Panigrahi’s article by Pratham Books

(Subhashish Panigrahi is an blogger, columnist, educator and free software activist from Odisha and based in Bangalore, India. Panigrahi is currently working at the Centre for Internet and Society’s Access To Knowledge program where he builds partnership with universities, language research and GLAM organizations for bringing more scholarly and encyclopedic content under free licenses, designs programs and supports for Indic language Wikipedia and Wikimedia communities. During his work at the Wikimedia Foundation’s India Program he was involved in designing community sustaining and new contributor cultivation models. He is the India ambassador of OpenGLAM Local and an OpenGLAM Working Group member, Editor for Global Voices Odia, an member of Mozilla L10N Odia.
You can follow Subhashish’s work here :

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