Over 60 tribal writers and scholars highlighted the need to preserve and revitalise indigenous languages at the All India Indigenous Writers' Festival here.
Speaking at the event organised by Sahitya Akademi, secretary K Sreenivasarao said that it was important to protect languages as they preserve the cultures and the wisdom of societies.
"Out of 6700 languages spoken in the world, 40 per cent are likely to disappear. These languages have preserved the cultures of their societies and their thousands of years of wisdom.
"In India 19,569 mother tongues are spoken. Out of this only 121 languages are spoken by more than 10,000 people. People's Linguistic Survey of India had done a survey whose report is quite alarming. According to the report, in the next 50 years more than half of the Indian languages will disappear," he said.
The two-day event was organised on the occasion of International Year of Indigenous Languages.
Madan Mohan Soren, convenor of Santali Advisory Board, said that moden development had harmed languages the most.
"When it comes to languages India is a very rich country but the race for modern development has harmed languages the most. And because of that every two weeks one langauge is disappearing from earth. Languages like Mundari, Kudukh etc are slowly getting extinct," Soren said.
He also appealed the government to "do something and save these languages".
Odia poet and scholar Sitakant Mohapatra echoed Soren's thoughts and said that corrective steps need to be taken to preserve tribal languages.
"All tribal languages are connected to earth and its environment. In this blind race towards development, we have cleared so many forests that it has become difficult for tribal people to live their lives peacefully. Along with that their relation with these forests is in danger," Mohapatra said.
The event witnessed sessions on "Indigenous languages of India: Uniqueness, Issues, Present status and challenges" and "Indigenous languages of India: Preservation and Revitalisation" apart from story and poetry readings.
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