Losing one’s Language means Losing One’s Culture and Identity

Losing one’s Language means Losing One’s Culture and Identity

Jahangeer Lone

Recently on social media, I posted , “Why the modern parents groom their kids to speak other languages, and not their native language?”. Most of my friends appreciated and applauded, others criticized and denounced. Meanwhile, it is good to be multilingual because we have to compete with the rest of the world, but it is worst to disremember our mother tongue. It is our identity. It represents us. In the contemporary times, parents educate their children to speak only either in English or Urdu. They are deliberately trying to keep their children away from their basic roots. What is wrong if the parents along with other languages emphasize on the mother tongue? But unfortunately, contemporarily, kids have been deprived of their mother tongue. Today’s kids are being taught English or Urdu from their early childhood. The core accomplices of this absurd thing are none, but the parents. They take proud in making their children speak other languages than the mother tongue. With the result , these children are incapable to speak in their mother tongue.
This nuisance is dwelling in our Kashmir firmly now. We are living in Kashmir, but we are not Kashmiri’s anymore. The government and other organizations, many a times gave their best to save the Kashmiri language, but there is still some void, in fact, a big hole which is to be filled. Our kids can’t understand a Kashmiri couplet, but they can interpret other languages immaculately. Our mother tongue is dying leisurely and we are watching with the hands on our chest. We fail to construct a single sentence in our mother tongue without using English. We even don’t know the names of twelve months in our mother tongue. You are being looked down with contempt and disdain if you talk in your mother tongue. You are being considered as illiterate. Why this intense hatred with our mother tongue ? Why we feel down while talking in our mother tongue ? People in Kashmir feel speaking in their own language makes them inferior and backward. This thinking needs to be changed. The least we can do is encouraging our children to speak in Kashmiri while interacting with friends and family.
Thank God, I am happy because my parents taught me my mother tongue. This nuisance of Angrezification, was prevalent in cities but now the rural areas seem to be the worst victims. Our mother tongue is at the verge of extinction. If we don’t preserve our mother tongue, then the time is not far when our it will be remembered with love. We have become more modern: if you don’t talk in English or Urdu then you are dull and null. In the contemporary times, there may be anyone in Kashmir who is using words like Khor’baan, Ph’eu, Na’ab, Zal’gur for boots, spade, sky and cycle respectively. Many parents deny their children the opportunity to learn native language by exposing them to speak English. The teachers play a good role in preserving the mother tongue. While teaching in mother tongue is not possible due to the cosmopolitan nature, it is good that teachers and parents allow their children to use mother tongue in school and at home.
Our mother tongue embodies our identity. It is the most conveniently learnt language. But, it is very disheartening to see that our Kashmiri -mother tongue is being thrown out of our homes and Institutions. If we lose our mother tongue, we will lose our identity. Mother tongue should always be our priority. It is our collective responsibility to protect it. Many seminars and conferences are being carried out for the preservation of mother tongue, but what happens? Zilch is the answer. Ironically, many intellectuals and speakers at these places either speak in English or Urdu because they have the habit of speaking in these languages. The only way to safeguard our mother tongue is to speak it more than other languages. We can read and write much more in Urdu and English, but we can’t write a single paragraph in our mother tongue.

The author hails From Gund, Ganderbal. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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