Conference: ‘Indigenous languages the worst victims of globalisation’

Experts discuss the downside of technological advancement over the past 25 years.

Azam Khan/umer Nangiana November 18, 2011
Conference: ‘Indigenous languages the worst victims of globalisation’


Globalisation, the linking and shrinking of the world into a global village, has affected indigenous languages badly, as more than 2,400 of the world’s 7,000 languages face extinction. At least 23 of 66 languages in South Asia are endangered due to “linguistic imperialism” existing in this part of the world.

This was stated by Dr Shahid Siddiqui of Lahore School of Economics (LSE) at a conference on Globalisation and its impact on Indigenous Cultures on Thursday.

“Death of a language means death of a particular viewpoint, identity, previous life experiments and social history,” said Siddiqui. His colleague from the LSE, Dr Ejaz Akram endorsed his viewpoint, saying languages have collective wisdom. If a language dies, wisdom dies with it.

“South Asia is deeply psychologically colonised. We have no confidence in our indigenous languages, knowledge and culture,” said Akram. However, he said globalisation is nothing but movement of goods and ideas across the world. The world has become a better place today, compared to the last 25 years, because of the globalisation phenomenon. India, while following the Nehru Rules of globalisation, benefited from it.

Dr Talib Hussain Sial of the IIUI said that real globalisation is a threat for the markets of developed countries and also for the sovereignty of small states.

“Recent globalisation is a modern face of capitalism, which is always coercive in nature and increases insecurity,” said Dr Sial. “Universal brotherhood and social equality were Iqbal’s ideas but the ones, that did not compromise social spiritual basis,” he added.

Sial said Iqbal had criticised the materialistic mindset of the West and predicted clashes between European countries. He suggested that local and regional organisations like Organisation of the Islamic Conference, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and others needed to be strengthened to counter globalisation.

IIUI Vice President Dr Sahibzada Sajidur Rehman said that the culture and civilisation of any nation based on their basic beliefs are indispensible for their survival in the world. Rehman added that the nations who forget their beliefs, die and no one mourns their demise. Noor Amna Malik, Director General (Learning Innovation) Higher Education Commission (HEC) said Facebook, YouTube and other social media websites provide wide access to people to interact. Mobile phone, she said, was one of the best example of the global world.

The conference was organised by the Iqbal International Institute for Research and Dialogue and Critical Thinking Forum of the Department of English Language and Literature of the International Islamic University Islamabad in collaboration with International Institute of Islamic Thought USA.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2011.


Homa | 12 years ago | Reply

@goggi: // Not only our subcontinent is hacked to pieces, but rather the natural evolution of our linguistic culture has been systematically destroyed from the cultural imperialism of English.//

I argue that it was the cultural and religious imperialism of persian and arabic that "hacked our subconinent to pieces and disrupted the natural evolution of our linguistic culture."

Language Connect | 12 years ago | Reply

Globalization is not necessarily the death of indigenous languages.

Technology today allows the preservation of regional indigenous cultures and languages.

The internet is being used as a source of language preservation, and the development of International Domain Names (IDN's), which are domains in local languages, will only strengthen the preservation of languages.

Globalization is an opportunity to introduce your culture, and languages to the wider world.

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