Once again the rich cultural diversity in IIT Gandhinagar (IIT-Gn) was brought out on the occasion of Matribhasha Diwas. The evening of 21st February was filled with colours, when students, staff, faculties and their children painted an extra daily picture of oneness in multeity. The programme sprang to life with a student paying tribute to Rashtrakavi Maithili Sharan Gupt by reciting his lines:
Jisko na nij desh tatha nij bhasha ka abhimaan hai,
Woh nar nahi, nar pashu nira hai, aur mritak samaan hai.
What continued in the event could only be experienced personally, as words cannot follow the trails of such a multifarious event. India has transcended its diverse regional, cultural and linguistic barriers. This unity in multeity was manifested as the evening was filled with many regional and local performances. Breath-taking Marathi monologue, bewitching Tamil songs, intense poems in Hindi, Odia, Rajasthani, Urdu and Punjabi and inculpable performances by kids, ignited in the minds of the audience a fire to never let go of our rich cultural diversity.
This celebration is a tribute to the tragedy in Bangladesh in the year 1952 on this day when students from University of Dhaka, Jagannath University and Dhaka Medical College were shot dead by police. The then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) had declared Urdu as the national language, although Bengali was the language of native speakers. During the Bengali Language Movement, there was a peaceful provincial protest by the citizens to allow their maiden language to be accepted as the national language. The government invoked a curfew and the protest was tamed by Pakistani police and army with gunfire. UNESCO proclaimed 21st February as International Mother Language Day to commemorate those events of 1952, and later it was recognised by UN General Assembly in 2008 to promote multilingualism.
IIT-Gn is endowed with rich linguistic and cultural diversity. The variety in such institutes of national importance and the harmony therein ostend a lesson to the whole nation. This is a declaration to the world that this multeity is not our weakest link, this is not the place where the crusaders can swarm in and exploit us, not anymore! Rather, we take pride and strength from it as it empowers us to stretch beyond our comfort zones and reach out. Imagine a blank sheet of canvas, and then paint it with the most vibrant colours… Now you get to see what diversity adds to monotony!