It was International Mother Language Day on 21st February. With the increase in globalisation and the desire for modernisation, English as a universal language and foreign languages are becoming more popular as well as the western way of living, dressing, food and beliefs are being picked by the GenX, Gen Y and Gen Z in different ways.
On one hand the world talks about and seems to care about unity, diversity and inclusion and on the other hand, the education system, the school and educational organisations, parents of young children and companies go overboard and to an extreme to emphasize on the importance of English, foreign languages and western way of living, dressing, believing and food too. This creates a disbalance and conflict in the world.
Globalisation is important but the local, national and cultural aspects are not any less important. They are essential to create respect and dignity in the human race, to ensure people can coexist peacefully while respecting differences and understanding how to collaborate without losing individual identity, as a family, as a company, as a nation as well as aspart of the larger global community.
Here a few ways we can all contribute to bringing peace in the world and celebrate International Mother Language Day as well as truly practise and promote unity, diversity and inclusion:
1. As parents, we can teach our children at home in their mother tongue whatever they learn in English at preschool or school in their early years till grade 1. This ensures that children understand concepts and don't just memorise information.
2.Educational organisations need to have quality education and lessons, teaching methodology and activities even for Hindi and other local languages. Children tend to lose interest in their early years in the local languages because of the way they are taught and assessed.
3.Bringing dignity and respect in the mother tongue and language as adults and children. Many a times local language isn't preferred because it doesn't sound polished or refined. This can be done by ensuring better choice of words, polite tone while using it and trying to use it in pure form rather than mixing it with English all the time.
4.Avoiding Amglicising the local languages and mother tongue to sound more modern or sophisticated. That's like an insult and murder of the local language and instead of adding the english pronunciation or style to it, it's better to speak English.
5.Teaching culture and tradition to all generations and proudly and confidently practising the good aspects of them. Copying the west in our dressing and food won't help in promoting peace and diversity. India has a diverse culture and it's a land of intellectuals. Respect from the world as Indians isn't gained by practising the way the west does things but by how we do it in our own cultures combined with our rich knowledge, wisdom and intellectual abilities which are better and real proofs of our modernisation.
6.Schools must promote 4 languages and not just for academics or assessment but to help children understand the importance of the culture and community through family events, through competition, through local community events and interactions. The 4 languages being the universal language as English, the national language as Hindi, the local language of the city or state and the foreign language being one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
The wrong ideas of globalisation will destroy the peace in the world and reduce or remove the proper understanding of diversity and inclusion in the present generations and the ones to come. The messed up ideas of modernisation will destroy the structure of the family, of the nation and the human race as toxic practices void of true understanding of modernisation will weaken and break down systems at home, in companies, in nations and destroy them, making the evil look cool and popular and eventually more acceptable than the truth.
(The author is a socio-cognitive development expert, and Intergenerational Family Leadership Coach)