Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today observed that ‘language’ is a fundamental bond that unites people and said that the drive to protect and preserve mother tongues should become a people’s movement in the country. “If we lose our mother tongue, we will lose our identity”, he added.
Addressing an event organized by the Ministry of Earth Science on the occasion of International Mother Languages Day virtually from Chennai, the Vice President called for tailoring languages to the changing needs of our times and finding creative and innovative ways to promote them among younger generations. “Children should be encouraged to learn the nuances of language through games and activities,” he opined and also underlined the need to improve the scientific and technical terminology in Indian languages.
Describing languages as carriers of our cultural heritage, Shri Naidu said that a language is the vital, unseen thread that links the past with the present. “Our languages are thus a repository of our collective knowledge and wisdom which we have amassed over thousands of years,” he added.
Observing numerous languages thrived alongside each other over hundreds of years in India, the Vice President suggested referring to them as ‘Indian languages’ instead of ‘regional languages’ signifying their equal status and distinct identities. “These ‘Indian languages’ are the epitome of our long-cherished value – unity in diversity,” he added.
Noting that India is home to hundreds of languages and thousands of dialects, the Vice President termed this linguistic richness as key to our creativity and expression. He also expressed happiness over the fact that NEP-2020 encourages the use of mother tongue in schools and colleges and seeks to ‘Indianise’ our education system by making it holistic, value-based and inclusive. Commending this approach, he urged the states to implement the policy in letter and spirit.
The Vice President reiterated the need to offer technical courses in Indian languages to make education truly inclusive and to unlock the full potential of our youth force. Citing the example of several developed countries such as Japan, France, and Germany that impart education in their respective mother tongues, he suggested learning from their policies and strategies for preservation and promotion of mother tongue.
Shri Naidu urged the state governments to take a proactive stance in implementing Indian languages in every walk of life. “All states must use the mother tongue of the people as the language of administration and also as a medium of education,” he said.
Emphasising the importance of people’s participation in the governance in a democracy, Shri Naidu opined that this could be achieved through usage of people’s language only. He said that court proceedings should also be in Indian languages so that people could better understand the judicial process.
Stating that colonial rule has done harm to our languages, he said that after independence also, we also have not made enough efforts to do justice to our languages. Calling it a great mistake not to have resorted to usage of mother tongue, the Vice President said that it was wrong not to have shifted to mother tongues and Indian languages after the colonial rule ended. While advocating that one should learn as many languages as possible, the Vice President, however, emphasized the need to build a strong foundation in the mother tongue first. He also underlined the need to link mother tongue with jobs and livelihood.
The virtual event to celebrate International Mother Languages Day was organized by the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences. The Union Minister, Dr Jitendra Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Dr M Ravichandran, former Vice Chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha, Prof (Dr) Girishwar Mishra, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Ms Indira Murthi and others attended the virtual eve