This year, on International Mother Language Day, four languages from the Northeast region have been highlighted in the United Kingdom. The four languages include Assamese, Sikkimese, Meitei, and Bishnupriya Manipuri.
Ragasudha Vinjamuri, founder of Sanskruti Centre in the UK, a charitable organisation, which held the virtual celebrations, told EastMojo that an Assamese poem was presented by Bhaswati Gayan Dey, a Bishnupriya Manipuri poem was presented by Dils Lakshmindra Sinha from Guwahati, a Sikkimese Lokeh was presented by Karma W Barfungpa and a Meitei song was presented by Leina Moirangthem.
The four languages from the Northeast region were among 27 languages highlighted in the session with renditions of poems and songs to celebrate the linguistic diversity. English summary of presentations was also made.
People who migrated, or even those who live in the country, are moving from speaking and communicating in their native languages. Vinjamuri said that the Bishnupriya Manipuri language, according to UNESCO, is endangered.
Stressing on the need to communicate in mother languages, she said that language defines a culture, besides being an important communication tool.
“There has been much influence of lingua franca on native languages where there is a loss of texture, script, and spoken word. It is a collective responsibility to promote and safeguard the richness of languages and see that the coming generations remain grounded to the roots,” she added.
Diplomats, literary figures, singers and community members participated in the event. She informed that former Maldivian Diplomat Hassan Shifau; Diplomat and Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy of Nepal in London Roshan Khanal; Founder of Atlas of Endangered Alphabets Tim Brookes also addressed the session.
The diplomats also emphasised the importance to retain cultural roots by way of speaking and highlighting one’s native languages. A book titled Kaavyanjali containing all the poems was released on the occasion.
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It is a great honour for the Sikkimese people that lokeh was also highlighted . Lokeh is the local dialect of the Bhutia community which is also on the verge of extinction as majority of our younger generation cannot speak or understand. I thank and wholeheartedly appreciate the effort of Madam Ragasudha Vinjamuri and her team for giving lokeh the much needed platform. My sincere appreciation to Mr Karma W. Barfungpa for his narration .
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