India’s Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has made a clarion call for the Indian state governments to have a special thrust on promotion of the official languages of the states. He has also stressed on protecting and promoting of various Indian languages through the use of mother tongue in different fields – from education to administration.
The Vice President expressed his concern while inaugurating the webinar on “Knowledge Creation: Mother Tongue” organized by the University of Hyderabad and the Telugu Academy on Wednesday.
The Vice President’s concern assumes utmost importance in view of the alarming marginalisation of a large number of Indian languages.
While 780 different languages are spoken by Indians, at least 400 are at the risk of dying during coming 50 years. India had already lost 250 languages in last five decades.
Observing language as the lifeline of a civilization, Naidu stated that it denotes the identity, culture and traditions of the people. It plays an important role in preserving music, dance, customs, festivals, traditional knowledge and heritage.
Calling for imparting education in the mother tongue up to primary school, he stressed that a language would gain popularity only through widespread usage. He said it was a fallacy to think that progress could be achieved only if education was pursued in English.
Research has shown that those who are proficient in their mother tongue can learn other languages with equal ease.
Citing examples, the Vice President pointed out that about 90 per cent of the Nobel Laureates – barring Nobel Peace prize recipients – up to 2017 were those who completed their education in their respective mother tongues.
Similarly, another survey of countries impacted greatly by globalization showed that nations which accorded importance to mother tongue were among the top 50.
It was wrong to think that modern research could be conducted only if one was proficient in English. It should be noted that about 90 per cent of the top 40-50 countries in the Global Innovation Index are those in which education was imparted in their respective mother tongues, he mentioned.
Pointing out that many visiting foreign VIPs, despite knowing English, speak in their mother tongue during their discussions with top Indian dignitaries. By doing so, they were conveying a message of self-respect, the Vice President observed.
Expressing the need to develop the mother tongues to meet modern needs, he said that complex scientific and technical terms should be simplified in Indian languages.
Stressing the need to strengthen research on various Indian languages, he advised researchers to find the endangered words and promote their use in day-to-day conversations, essays, and textbooks to revive decaying languages.
Naidu asked the teachers and parents to encourage their children to speak in mother tongue. It should become the lingua franca for all educational, socio-economic and other activities, he stressed.
The Vice President also wished the media to promote a major role by widespread use of native languages.