International Pashto Language Day to be Celebrated by Over 65-Million People Worldwide

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Every year, Pashto Language speaking people in Afghanistan and all over the world celebrate their mother tongue and cultural heritage — Afghan Council of North America

It’s almost time for International Pashto Language Day. June 21 will mark the day the celebration begins. Over 65 million people speak Pashto as their mother tongue, and will be joining together to raise awareness of their common cultural roots, and to raise awareness of the importance of the heritage of retaining the mother tongue.

As cultural boundaries become more obscured, mother tongues like Pashto often take a back-seat to English or Urdu. One cannot, and should not, underestimate the importance of retaining one’s mother tongue. International Pashto Language Day aims to promote linguistic and cultural diversity. Meetings and conferences will be held to discuss preserving and developing the Afghani Language.

Dr. Michel Kenmogne, a noted expert on the mother tongue, expressed this view: “The mother tongue is not a learned language, but rather one that is acquired during the growth process. It is therefore responsible for molding the individuals personality and world view. It is through his mother tongue that he can truly express his identity. For any message to have a lasting impact on the individuals soul, it must be conveyed in the language that helped shape his culture and world view.”

Let there be no question about the role of using the mother tongue in education, UNESCO recently issued this statement: “Children who begin their education in their mother tongue make a better start, and continue to perform better than those for whom school starts with a new language.” It provides a sense of identity to the child as he or she progresses through their lifetime.

Parents need to understand that by not enforcing the mother tongue in their household, they are distorting the natural environment, and can harm the child’s background. The children will grow to respect other cultures and languages when they have knowledge and respect for their own mother tongue and culture. Make no mistake about it, the mother tongue truly connects people to their roots.

It is this connection to one’s roots that provides the memories of home, and the feeling of belonging to a culture, not just an address. When a people know their roots, they can stand proud, and strong, whether they are home or in a foreign land. This year, let all Pashto speaking people on the planet celebrate together, and keep the culture strong. This way all Pashto speaking people will feel the bond that only strong cultural ties can provide.

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Dawar Lodin
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