Focus: GS-II: Social Justice, Polity and Governance
Why in News?
The Vice President celebrated the International Mother Language Day and said that linguistic diversity has always been one of the foundational pillars of our civilization.
International Mother Language Day
- International Mother Language Day is a worldwide annual observance held on 21 February to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism.
- The theme of 2022 is: “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities”, it focuses on potential role of technology to advance multilingual education and support the development of quality teaching and learning for all.
History of how the International Mother Language day came to be:
- The declaration came up in tribute to the Language Movement done by the Bangladeshis (then the East Pakistanis).
- When Pakistan was created in 1947, it had two geographically separate parts: East Pakistan (currently known as Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (currently known as Pakistan).
- In 1948, the then Government of Pakistan declared Urdu to be the sole national language of Pakistan, even though Bengali or Bangla was spoken by the majority of people combining East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (now Pakistan).
- The East Pakistan people protested, since the majority of the population was from East Pakistan and their mother language was Bangla.
- These protests led to bloodshed and since then, Bangladeshis celebrate the International Mother Language Day as one of their tragic days, and this day is a national holiday in Bangladesh.
- In 1999, the General Assembly of UNESCO unanimously resolved that “21st February be proclaimed International Mother Language Day throughout the world to commemorate the martyrs who sacrificed their lives on this very day in 1952.”
Constitutional provisions related to languages
- There is no national language as declared by the Constitution of India.
- Under the Article 343, the Constitution lists Hindi written in Devanagari script as well as English as the official language to be used for official purposes such as parliamentary proceedings, judiciary, communications between the Central Government and a State Government.
- States within India have the liberty and powers to specify their own official language(s) through legislation.
- The Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution contains a list of 22 scheduled languages. The Government of India is under an obligation to take measures for the development of these languages.
- Article 351 states: “It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.”
- Article 350 states: “It shall be the endeavour of every State and of every local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups; and the President may issue such directions to any State as he considers necessary or proper for securing the provision of such facilities.”