International Mother Language Day 2023: February 21 is dedicated to promoting awareness of linguistic diversity and cultural unity. It also promotes multilingualism. The United Nations recognised this day in 2002, three years after it was first announced on 17 November 1999 by UNESCO. It was the initiative of Bangladesh with the broader idea of preserving and protecting all the languages used by the people. It is said that out of 7000 languages spoken in the world, 2000 are spoken in India itself.
The International Mother Language Day page on the UNESCO website reads, “UNESCO believes in the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity for sustainable societies. It is within its mandate for peace that it works to preserve the differences in cultures and languages that foster tolerance and respect for others”
International Mother Language Day 2023: Theme
The theme for International Mother Language Day 2023 has not yet been determined. The theme for 2022 was “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and Opportunities,” while the theme for 2021 was “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society.”
International Mother Language Day 2023: History and Significance
This day celebrates languages and multilingualism as powerful tools for social inclusion and global development. International Mother Language Day was declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Conference in November 1999. The General Assembly of the United Nations-supported the declaration of a United Nations Day in 2002. The United Nations General Assembly encourages member states to take action to preserve and protect all languages spoken by people around the world in this resolution.
International Mother Language Day 2023: Quotes
“For us Indians, I don’t think English can ever exude that magic of emotions which our mother tongue can.”- Kailash Kher
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”- Nelson Mandela
Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.”- Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
“Rhythm is our universal mother tongue. It’s the language of the soul.”-Gabrielle Roth
“What is a nation without a mother tongue?”- Jack Edward
How many languages are spoken in India
In India, 22 languages are constitutionally recognised as mother tongues. These are- Hindi, Sanskrit, Punjabi, Santhali, Dogri, Nepali, Bodo, Maithili, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Urdu, Oriya, Konkani, Kashmiri, Manipuri, Kannada, Bengali, Sindhi, Gujarati and Marathi.
Among these, Hindi, Bengali and Marathi are the most spoken languages in India. Also, India has more than 99 non-scheduled languages.