LAHORE –Like the other provinces, Punjab marked the International Mother Language Day (IMLD) on Thursday.

The day is aimed at highlighting the role of mother language in promotion of culture and raising awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

Literary circles and activists of Punjabi language organised events across the province. A rally was taken from Lahore Press Club to Punjab Assembly. On the occasion, a good number of poets, writers and human rights activists as well as political workers participated.

They were holding placards and banners in their hands inscribed with slogans in favour of their demands including inclusion of mother tongue as compulsory subject in the curriculum at primary level. “Read Punjabi, Speak Punjabi,” read a banner. Another banner read, “We demanded of the government to let Pakistani children get education in their mother languages.”

On the occasion, participants distributed copies of a memorandum, a charter of demands, among the general masses. The memorandum’s copies of were also dispatched to the Punjab Governor, Punjab CM and assembly members.

They demanded of the rulers to take steps for declaring Punjabi as national language and include Punjabi in the curriculum at primary level as compulsory subject.

Punjabi Adabi Board chairman Mushtaq Sufi, Perveen Malik, Tariq Farooq, convenor Punjab Lok Sangat Amjad Saleem Minhas and others addressed the participants while famous Punjabi poet Baba Najmi read his poetry to the participants.

Meanwhile, Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) organised a walk to mark the day. The walk within the campus was organized by LCWU Institute of Languages and Culture wherein a large number of students and faculty members, holding banners and placards bearing the slogans to promote the mother languages, participated.  Addressing the participants, LCWU VC Dr Sabiha Mansoor said, “Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world. IMLD is an ideal opportunity to highlight the importance of languages to group and individual identity, as the foundation for all social, economic and cultural life.”

She said multilingualism was a source of strength and opportunity for humanity. It embodies cultural diversity and encourages the exchange of views, the renewal of ideas and the broadening of our capacity to imagine. Genuine dialogue implies respect for languages, and this is why LCWU has set up Institute of Languages and Culture last year. Punjabi Department head Dr. Samina Batool said the vitality of languages depends as much on oral exchange as on the large-scale production of teaching material and printed texts. We speak Punjabi at home but avoid it in our society. We have to express full confidence and ambition to promote our mother language. Academic institutions should work together to promote the importance of linguistic and cultural diversity and of education in the mother tongue.

Another major event in this regard was held at Children Library Complex wherein children from different educational institutions presented tableau and other performance. A large number people from various walks of life including teachers, parents and government officials were present.

Punjab Institute of Language Art and Culture (PLAC) organised a seminar on the occasion of IMLD and an award ceremony wherein Punjabi poets and writers were given ‘Shafqat Tanvir Mirza Award.