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February 4, 2019

Diversity through regional languages in pedagogy

Karachi

February 4, 2019

An Adab Festival Pakistan session titled ‘What About the Rest? Challenges and Strategies in National Language Pedagogy’ was held on Sunday to address the conundrum of languages with respect to the medium of teaching across the country.

The session was moderated by academician Gwen Kirk, with other academicians Suleman Shahid, Inaam Nadeem and Zahid Hassan as speakers.

Speaking about regional languages being ignored at the cost of promoting one language, Hassan said Punjabi has a rich background as regards history, folklore with poetry as well as prose, but the state is not promoting it.

Nadeem agreed and said he introduced different regional languages as part of a course in his university. “I feel that languages bring their own cultures, and introduction to new and different cultures has an attraction for the students too.”

Hassan read out a couplet by Sachal Sarmast that referred to Kasur, from where Bulleh Shah hailed. Hassan said that previously there was no distinction between Sufi saints and their languages because they preached the same message of peace, harmony and tolerance.

Shahid stressed that to make languages available to the people, resources are needed, especially for making them available through technology, because this would ensure relationships between languages.

Nadeem said that while teaching students, he gave assignments in which students were required to translate Punjabi short stories and poetry. He said he was amazed by the quality of work the students produced.

He added that the students were also asked to perform a theatre play ‘Heer Ranjha’ in Punjabi, which exposed them to the cultural aspect of the language as well.

Hassan lamented that Punjabi is one unfortunate language that is disowned even by those who speak it, and now the people do not even want their children to learn it. “Instead of using languages to break communities, we should focus on the literature that promotes the message of togetherness and love.”

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