Friday, December 23, 2011

[MLE] Language, the basis of unity and conflict

Dear MLE friends,

A while ago I travelled with a donor to review an MLE related project in North East India. Her concern was that our efforts to develop the local languages and use them in the schools would encourage the ethnic conflicts. Today I saw an IBN article titled "Language, the basis of unity and conflict" by Prof H S Shivaprakash on this very issue. 

A few quotes:

Language, as one of the most pre-eminent expressions of human civilisation, has always been the source of unity and conflict in human history. There have been times when the unity of diverse peoples was imposed by existing forms of tyranny as in the case of Roman Civilisation. Equally numerous are the cases when language question figured prominently as a means of self-assertion as exemplified by the emergence of Bangladeshi and Ukrainian nationalism in the recent past.

India never had the counterpart of the first Chinese emperor [who wiped out all local languages -KvR]. Though at different points of time, some languages were used as lingua franca or trans-regional languages - Sanskrit, for example - the regional languages, including innumerable tribal languages without script not only did not vanish but went on flourishing as they produced high quality literary expressions, both oral and written.

Let us celebrate the diversity of our tongues, which is a hallmark of our civilisational genius. In order to offset eruptions of linguistic chauvinism, we need to reinvigorate multilingualism which has been an integral part of our culture. At the same time, we need to emphasise the need for equal growth of regions and communities to ensure the equality of languages.


India has proven that cultural diversity can enrich a country.

Regards,

Karsten



Karsten van Riezen
Education Consultant, LinkedIn Profile
SIL Int., South Asia Group

This message is posted on: http://mle-india.blogspot.com/

Recommended sites: India: http://www.nmrc-jnu.org/; International: http://www.mlenetwork.org/

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