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Apni Boli Bol (2023)

Friday, February 24, 2023 | 6:30 PM | A-13, Top Floor, Academic Block, LUMS

About the Speaker: Zubair Torwali زبیر توروالی

Zubair Torwali is researcher, author, an activist, and educator based in Swat Pakistan. Zubair has published works in English, Urdu, and in the Torwali language. He has authored and supervised several books in and about Torwali. His book in English, Muffled Voices, provides insight into Pakistan’s social, cultural, and political issues. Zubair has more than two dozen research articles to his credit, along with hundreds of articles in the English dailies and weeklies of Pakistan. His forthcoming books are ‘Torwali English Dictionary for Students’, ‘language, culture and ethnicity’, ‘Language endangerment: the state and communities’, ‘Sherbano, a novel in Torwali’, and ‘Orthographical considerations for minority language activists’. He co-founded Idara Baraye Taleem wa Taraqi (IBT), an organization focused on education, development, and the empowerment of the marginalized mountain communities of upper Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan, in Pakistan.

Event Coverage

The Gurmani Centre for Languages and Literature organized a celebration of the International Mother Languages Day on Friday, February 24, 2023. Mother Tongue Day is a special event celebrated around the world to promote the preservation and appreciation of the various native languages spoken by the members of the community. This day is celebrated on the 21st of February every year, declared by the United Nations as the International Mother Language Day in 1999.

The celebration of Mother Tongue Day at LUMS provides an avenue for students to learn about different languages and cultures, to appreciate and respect the diversity within the community. It also creates an environment conducive for cultural exchange, fostering relationships between students and faculty from different linguistic backgrounds. This opportunity for individuals to learn about the history, traditions, customs, and values associated with each language, thereby promotes cultural awareness and understanding.

The celebration of Mother Tongue Day on campus provided an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to celebrate their diverse linguistic backgrounds and learn about the rich cultural heritage associated with each regional language. The event featured various activities such as speeches showcasing the unique aspects of each language and culture, dances, and music performances, all aimed at promoting linguistic and cultural diversity. At LUMS, this day has become an occasion to showcase linguistic and cultural diversity. This year’s program included an open mic hour where attendees shared prose or poetry of their choice in many regional languages including Pashto, Balochi, Punjabi and Burushaski. Some dressed up in traditional attire. Several songs were presented by students, some sung to a Rubab or guitar’s accompaniment, and attendees danced to regional music and melodies.

Another aspect of the event was the keynote address by distinguished guest speaker and scholar Zubair Torwali. Mr Torwali is a researcher, author, activist, and educator based in Swat, and has published works in English, Urdu, and the Torwali language. His activism is focused on education, Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education development, and the empowerment of the marginalized mountain communities of upper Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan. The guest speaker shared insights and experiences on language and culture in Pakistan and appreciated the Gurmani Centre’s promotion of the significance of mother tongue preservation and development. He also underlined how indigenous linguistic heritage and folklore are largely untapped resources that can contribute to preserving precious legacies. This is necessary to preserve and enhance lingual diversity and can ensure that rare regional languages endure for generations to come.

This Mother Tongue Day celebration served as a platform for promoting the diversity of language and culture, fostering cross-cultural understanding, and strengthening the sense of community among students, faculty, and staff. It was an occasion to celebrate the rich linguistic and cultural heritage of our part of the world and recognize the importance of preserving and promoting it for future generations.


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