By DR. TANIA SAILI BAKSHI
DEHRADUN, 20 Feb: With the distinct aim of inspiring school students to engage in the joys of speaking in their mother tongue, an oration event was organised by Valley of Words, Dehradun. Students from Him Jyoti School, Army Public School, Clement-town and Doon International School took part in the event hosted at the VoW Café Gallery – Library – Studio Sahastradhara Road. In its 6th year running, Valley of Words celebrated International Mother Language Day to promote linguistics and cultural diversity in the Doon. The Festival Director, Dr Sanjeev Chopra stated, “VOW celebrates the word in all the languages. In fact, in Sanskrit, the word is called Akshar – which also means eternal. Words never die. And we are here to celebrate all of them with the young students of Dehradun which is privileged to have kids from across the country!” Students of class nine and above brought alive the event wearing traditional gear reciting verse and prose in their mother tongue from Kashmiri to Telugu, Punjabi to Mizo, Rajasthani to Khasi the students spoke in all major State languages giving equal importance to Uttarakhand’s regional languages of Garhwali, Kumaoni and Gorkhali. Jyoti Dhawan, Curator for International Mother Language Day, Valley of Words felt, “The language that a child grows up speaking has a unique identity reflecting the prismatic hues of the geographical location, traditions and lifestyle specific to the area. Mother languages are to be preserved for their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education and development and are thus of strategic importance for the people and the planet.” Further adding, “Yet, due to globalization processes, they are increasingly under threat, or disappearing altogether. When languages fade, opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression are lost. It is imperative to promote linguistic and cultural diversity through the mother language and over two hundred countries around the world strive to do just that!” The unique event promises to be an annual feat on the cultural calendar of the Lit fest with the definite Valley of Words celebrates International Mother Tongue Day.