Chicagoland celebrates International Mother Language Day

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Rendition of Gurbani Kirtan with classical Indian string instruments – Taus and Dilruba by youth from Chicago suburbs at the Feb. 27, 2022 International Mother Language Day celebrations in Chicago. Photo: Asian Media USA

On February 27, 2022, Indian-American Punjabi organizations across the U.S. Midwest in association with the Consulate General of India, hosted an joyful cultural event in Chicago to celebrate the International Mother Language Day

For the Consulate it was part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav that India has declared as a one-year celebration of the country’s 75th years of independence from British rule.

India’s Consul General in Chicago Amit Kumar along with Mayor William McLeod and Mayor Rodney Craig, at Feb. 27, 2022 celebration of International Mother Language Day in Chicago. Photo: Asian Media USA

Consul General Amit Kumar delivered the inaugural remarks at the event. Mayor William McLeod and Mayor Rodney Craig from Hoffman Estates and Hanover Park towns respectively also joined the event, a press release from Asian Media USA said.

Skit being performed by by Gurmukh Singh Bhullar and Charandeep Singh at the Feb, 27, 2022 celebrations of International Mother Language Day in Chicago. Photo: Asian Media USA
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Consul General Kumar commended the organizers for the putting the program together and appreciated in particular the initiative taken by them to engage the younger generation in this effort, and connecting them to their cultural roots.

He mentioned that the National Education Policy issued in August 2020 in India which emphasizes learning in the mother tongue along with other languages. The Department of Science & Technology is working to leverage technology using natural language processing algorithms to translate high quality education content in different Indian official languages. He also drew attention to the Bhasha Sangam App, brought out by the Ministry of Education to enable people of India to learn basic sentences of daily conversation in 22 official languages.

Pinderjeet Kaur Gill, PhD., a lecturer in Hindi and Punjabi Languages at the University of Michigan speaking at the Feb. 27, 2022, Mother Language Day celebrations in Chicago. Photo: Asian Media USA

Youth from Chicago suburbs recited the Punjabi Gurbani Kirtan accompanied by classical Indian string instruments – Taus and Dilruba.

Several noted Punjabi academicians, authors, and representatives of Punjabi linguistic/cultural organizations gave presentations on their initiatives to preserve linguistic and cultural heritage of Punjabi immigrants in the US. These included Ashok Bhaura, Punjabi writer and journalist in California, Dr. Pinderjeet Kaur Gill, Lecturer, Hindi and Punjabi Languages at University of Michigan, Dr. Gurbakhsh Singh Bhandal, a Physicist at Cleveland State University, Ohio, and Manmohan Grewal, TV Anchor from Utah.

Lakhvinder Lucky, poet from New York, performing at the Feb. 27, 2022, International Mother Language Day in Chicago. Photo: Asian Media USA

An exhibition of Punjabi folk musical instruments and artifacts on rural life in Punjab was also part of the celebrations.

An innovative initiative — Pindan Vichon Pind Suneeda (the best-known village amongst villages is mine) in which children made video clips sharing experiences about their journeys to villages in India.

A vibrant cultural program comprising poetry recitation and singing of Punjabi folk songs was also held.

The Consulate was in regular contact with the organizers and rendered assistance for organizing the competition for children and in reaching out to some of the participants.

Illinois recently issued a proclamation declaring February as Punjabi Mother Language Day.

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