International Mother Language Day is celebrated every year on 21 February, to acknowledge the importance of languages to human civilization, and to recognise the formative role our respective mother languages play in defining our worldview and shaping our thoughts. As a lead up to this date, ‘International Mother Language Day 2021’ was celebrated at Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth through an interesting, engaging, and informative session on 17 February, supported by a delightful series of language games and activities.
Although nominally hosted by the School of Linguistics and Literary Stusdie (LLS), the entire student and faculty body of the University came together in a typically rousing fashion to participate in this event and lend their ideas to make it a success. The formal segment of the event started at 4 pm, with a welcome address by Dr. L Sampath Kumar (Assistant Professor and Head, School of LLS). This was followed by a video compilation prepared by CVV students, showcasing the awesome diversity of languages present on the CVV campus alone. A panel discussion on the definition and nature of mother language followed, as Dr. Nagendra Pavana, Dr. Sandhya Shankar and Dr. Venkata Raghavan intrigued the audience with some compelling arguments and examples on the essence of the phrase ‘mother language’. After this academic and theoretical discussion, it was time for some practical demonstration, as different students, staff and faculty members enthralled the gathering by presenting various compositions, speeches and other information related to their mother languages. Following this session of sharing, the event closed with a vote of thanks and a prayer.
But this formal event was just the tip of the iceberg: the celebrations had started earlier in the week, with online games posted for all to attempt and thus learn about languages. Students from the organising team planned and hosted several live events too, including tongue twisters, charades, and hilarious translation tasks, to name just a few. Some of these games stayed open all day, and others remained open all week. It was thus a true festival of languages, in every sense of the word.