Pune (Maharashtra) [India]: International Mother Language Day is celebrated worldwide on 21 February to raise awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and promote multilingualism. Shruti Bapat, a young foreign language teacher from Pune, has been teaching German and Chinese for the past twelve years in Pune, Kopargaon, Prawara, Sangamner, Rahata, Nagar. After marriage, after settling down in Sakuri, a small village near Shirdi for a few years, while looking for work, she happened to attend a program at a school in Kopargaon, 20 km away from there, and unexpectedly got an opportunity to teach German language to Shruti in the same school. Having picked up two foreign languages apart from English only as a hobby, Shruti never thought that she could teach it till then, but only because of the faith shown by the principal and trustees of the school, Shruti started teaching German and Chinese. At that time, Shruti strongly felt that this was an opportunity to create awareness among children about the benefits of learning a language and that all languages enrich a person.
Since 2013, Shruti has taught foreign languages to more than 1000 children from more than seven schools and the journey is still going on. According to Shruti, every foreign language is independent. It is a common misconception that to learn a foreign language one must first know English and it is not only in the rural areas but also in the minds of the urban people.
Shruti says, throughout this journey, I got valuable support from my Guru Dr. Vinita Mahajani Who has got PhD in German. Dr. Mahajani has translated ‘Manache Shlok’ into German language which was composed by Samarth Ramdas Swami.. It is a wonderful experience to hear the German children reciting the Shlokas. It is also a matter of pride for India. And I will continue to try to reach the maximum number of people through me.
Recently, Shruti was honoured with an award by the director of Maxmuller Bhavan, Marina Bruns, under the Pune Bremen Solidarity Forum, for her outstanding work in spreading and promoting the German language in urban and rural India. Although language is a means of communication, at the same time you are connected with that country and its people and we can communicate with many people and those who know foreign languages can get good opportunities to earn in our country as well as abroad. It also helps to develop Global Relationships. Shruti Bapat gives a message to the youth to be multilingual and become Atmanirbhar!