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diaspora, multiculturism, punjabi

Are you fluent in your mother tongue?

Today is International Mother Tongue day.

To mark the day, I thought I’d revisit an article I wrote in 2004 about the Punjabi word, Kapkhana, and its cultural associations. You can read the article here.

The United Nations announced the day in 2003 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism, says http://www.UN.org. The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.

Are you fluent in your mother tongue? If not, do you see it as “a hole” in your identity that you want to address?

A Punjabi film exemplifying the colour and vitality of the Punjabi language

A tractor being driven over a man as a part of the Rural Olympics in a Punjabi village - the way some Punjabi men show their virility


About Herpreet Kaur Grewal

Herpreet Kaur Grewal is a newspaper-trained journalist, editor and commentator. She formerly wrote and edited a section for the social policy and politics magazine Regeneration & Renewal. She has worked for The Times of London and her articles have featured in The Guardian, The Observer and The Daily Express. She specialises in social deprivation issues, gender, human rights , arts and culture.


4 thoughts on “Are you fluent in your mother tongue?

  1. To answer your questions: No. Yes.

    Posted by Sheena | February 22, 2012, 00:21
  2. Discuss further!! 🙂

    Posted by Herpreet Kaur Grewal | February 22, 2012, 00:32
  3. Really interesting to learn about the origins of International Mother Tongue Day. Also enjoyed reading the Kapkhana stories.

    Posted by 88steph | February 27, 2012, 19:47
  4. I think the idea that ‘mother tongue’ must play an important role in your life has somewhat eroded away. As English has become more and more popular (especially through the means of media or TV) the need to cling on to you mother tongue is less important now then, lets say 20 to 30 years ago.

    The world, thanks to increase use of media and Internet, is a small place and English is the means of communication.

    Posted by The British Asian Blog | April 24, 2012, 18:03

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Herpreet Kaur Grewal is an editor and journalist currently based in London.

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