‘Drive to protect mother tongue should become a people’s movement’

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Observing that ‘language’ is a fundamental bond that unites people, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said that the drive to protect and preserve the mother tongue should become a people’s movement in the country.

“If we lose our mother tongue, we will lose our identity,” Naidu said.

Addressing an event organised 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, 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 said.

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 said.

Noting that India is home to hundreds of languages and thousands of dialects, the Vice President termed this linguistic richness as the 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 talked about the need to offer technical courses in Indian languages to make education truly inclusive and to unlock the full potential of our youth force. He suggested learning from their policies and strategies for preservation and promotion of the mother tongue.

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.

Pointing out that colonial rule has harmed our languages, he said: “After Independence also, we have not made enough efforts to do justice to our languages.”

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