Out of 6000 languages in the world today, 20-50% are on the verge of being lost since children don’t speak them. Many of our languages will die too. India’s linguistic cultures are the repository of deep knowledge and wisdom. Losing them would mean losing ourselves. Our children losing out.
Our children all belong to minorities. They are migrants, which ever class they belong to. But children living in slums face the worst kind of social exclusion when they’re different by caste or colour, or speak a different language.
1992 saw our peaceful slum burst into flames of hatred. We found that we all are tolerant as far as we are not involved. But one rabble rouser can throw things out of perspective. We realized we needed a more “active tolerance.” Our interactive story and song culture helped us promote this.
India has an exciting linguistic map. But over time we have lost our taste for languages. And in the process we have strengthened the walls of regionalism. We grow more insular and become monolingual. We need literary translation as a counter-divisive tool for nation building.
Every year India brings thousands of children into school. Our children do move with great felicity from the oral to the written. But they miss out on the joy of reading since it is all happening through formal textbooks and rote learning. Well – written and illustrated books will bring children into lifelong learning
Click here to know how Katha is meeting the challenge.