PROMOTING MOTHER TONGUE

Mother tongue is like a mother and mother does not deserve to be neglected. In promoting mother tongue it is the people who are the primary stakeholders and need to make every endeavour to keep the language intact as part of their culture. However there has to be full support from the government too in people’s endeavour. Since J&K comprises a multilingual population therefore the promotion of mother tongue at the official level was adversely affected due to vote bank politics. However better late than never the Government finally introduced regional languages namely Kashmiri, Dogri and Bodhi at Secondary Level in all the Government and Private (recognized) Schools of the State in 2013. It was specifically mentioned in the order that in all Government and Private (recognized) Schools of the State mother tongue would be compulsory 6th subject (Graded), in areas where such languages are spoken as mother tongue and that the extension of teaching of above regional languages shall begin from the academic session viz. 2018-2019. Since India including the state of J&K has diversity of cultures and languages therefore all the languages could not get the privilege of being taught in the schools like Gojri, Balti, Dardi, etc. While there is a genuine concern being expressed over this important issue, at the same time it needs to be realized that people themselves can play the best role in promoting their respective mother tongues. It would not be out of context to mention here that unfortunately in the state of Jammu and Kashmir especially in the capital cities as well as the urban areas there is a trend of ignoring the mother tongues and instead preferring Hindi, Urdu and English as spoken languages among the children. While the neglect of the mother tongue at the official level can be understood as a result of lax attitude of administration, the neglect of mother tongue at homes is really suicidal because every language develops primarily at homes and thereafter in the whole domain. Research has clearly shown that mother tongue has a very important role in children’s overall development. When children develop their skills in two or even three languages, they get a deeper understanding of how to use different languages effectively. In fact, extensive research supports the notion that a child who only knows one language doesn’t know it well enough. The situation is different with children who speak more languages. They are often more flexible in their thinking as they can process information in different languages. The stronger the children’s mother tongue, the easier it is for them to learn new languages. Children, who have a solid foundation in their mother tongue, develop better literacy skills also in other languages that they learn. When parents and other important adults have time to discuss and read in the child’s mother tongue and thus help expand the child’s vocabulary, the child will be better prepared when kindergarten or school starts and can easily learn new languages. Children’s knowledge and skills transfer over languages. Skills learnt in the mother tongue will transfer to the other languages learnt in school, as long as all languages are supported. Therefore, it is very important that parents speak their mother tongue at home. As such it is hoped that people across the state realize their roles as parents and seniors in this regard and they focus more on promoting the use of mother tongue at homes.