Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will together celebrate International Mother Language Day

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will together celebrate International Mother Language Day

Colombo, February 16 ( Sri Lanka and Bangladesh both which are founded on pride in their mother languages, Sinhala, Tamil an Bangla, will celebrate the International Mother Language Day in a colorful manner here on February 21.

The event, to be held at the Vihara Mahadevi Park in the center of Colombo, would be organized by various Sri Lanka and international institution and the Bangladesh High Commission. Former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga will the chief guest at the inaugural ceremonly

Speaking about the role of the Mother Language the Bangladesh High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Riaz Hamidullah, said: “We all think, speak and write in different languages: we express, create and nurture our ideas and thinking through languages e.g. dance, music, painting and other art forms. Millions of others speak in ‘sign language’.  A huge variety of linguistic heritage exist in the form of oral heritage.”

“For each of us, the mother language is the key symbol of our individual identity: sparks imagination, creativity and innovation in every child; symbolises ethnic identity; unites members of a community with pride and self-esteem.”

“While much of people’s original thoughts and actions get shaped and reflected through mother language, we do lean on languages of other lands and people for myriad of purposes. But, reaching out to and drawing from others’ language must not accord any sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’. In a globalized world, any such distinction is increasingly blurred. Indeed, across civilizations, there has never been any semblance of qualitative order between languages. And, there must never be.”

“Learning to thrive in multi-cultural environments is crucial: to grow up respecting the differences in expressions, images, forms; for each of us to understand and celebrate individual identities. Only through the acceptance of the ‘other’ can we prosper. If we are to get ‘equality’ and ‘pluralism’ right within and across societies, every individual and society will have to get ‘inclusion’ right. Only then, can we proclaim: “no one is left behind”.

“Focusing on protecting and promoting the fundamental right of all people, to use their respective mother tongue is crucial. Promoting multi-lingualism is about sustaining a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural nation. Peace – stability – harmony – sustainable development within and across societies and nations can only be attained by advancing linguistic and cultural diversity in mutual trust and mutual respect. At the end, each language is a means of securing dignity and well-being and realizing the infinite aspirations of every human being.”

“We need to look at every mother language as a unique treasure-trove, creative opportunity – not as a challenge. All these are seminally important in the context of contemporary Lanka also South Asia and many other societies.”

“Since 2000, UNESCO and its member states have been globally observing the day of 21st February as the International Mother Language Day. The Day stands out as a fitting occasion for Sri Lankan as also so many other people to promote and uphold creative diversity of our languages and related heritage. This event promises to reach out the messages to youth, society and media in Sri Lanka as also connect the Colombo-based international community and the local population.”

‘In keeping with the true spirit of language, on 21st February (Wednesday) 2018 morning, Bangladesh High Commission in Colombo and some of the Sri Lankan actors will observe the International Mother Language Day at the Vihara Maha Devi Park – with diplomatic corps, international and local school students, common people from all walks-of-life in the Park. A number of Sri Lankan institutions e.g. Ministry of National Co-existence, Dialogue & Official Languages, the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Sri Lanka Scouts are joining to collaboratively observe the Day at the Vihara Maha Devi Park.”

In the morning, Hon. Chandrika Kumaratunga will join the brief inaugural discussion, highlighting the spirit and significance of the Day in contemporary Sri Lankan society. Thereafter, following events will roll up simultaneously:

Music Concerts

Artistes (students) from the University of the Visual & Performing Arts, Colombo would render instrumental music of Bangla, Sinhala and Tamil patriotic songs live in the Park.

Letters Connect

Out in the Park, young people, children, youth, diplomatic community and ordinary citizens – representing different linguistic diversity – would be welcome to pick up poster paper and design a poster in his/her mother language. The posters should be written /designed in calligraphic handwriting – on the themes Mother-Mother Language –Motherland. The selected posters would later form part of an Island-wide exhibition showcasing linguistic diversity.

At the same time, artists from the University would produce eight large-size canvases (100 cm x 80 cm) in the Park, embodying their expressions, emotions, reflections images on the same theme and related linguistic tradition and heritage.

Blood Connects

 In forming real bond with people and true to the letters and spirit of pluralism, a voluntary blood donation Camp will be organized inside the Open Theatre, with support of the Sri Lanka Scout Association. Everyone is invited to donate blood. The blood collected would be donated directly to the National Blood Bank in aid of the under-privileged patients.

Poster announcing Mother Language Day

(The image at the top is that of Riaz Hamidullah, the High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Sri Lanka)