Vice president Naidu says mother tongue vital for survival of civilisation
A few days after a language row erupted over allegations of an alleged plan to impose Hindi on Southern states, vice-president Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said respecting and recognising the mother tongue and promoting it is vital for the survival of any civilisation.
Addressing the valedictory function of the 39th World Congress of Poets in Bhubaneswar, Naidu said every country must encourage their children to study primarily in the mother tongue. “I always say the mother tongue is your eyesight and the other language is your spectacle. If you have eyesight, then spectacle will give better sight. If you don’t have eyesight and if you wear glasses, nothing will be visible,” he said.
He said mother tongue should be promoted ahead of other languages. “All other languages are important. But you should respect, learn and understand your mother tongue. The colonial rulers always try to attack the culture by destroying the local language and we should not fall prey to that,” he said.
Last month union home minister Amit Shah had triggered a political row when he suggested Hindi as the unifying language for the nation. The suggestion was met with stiff opposition primarily from parties based in the South who had accused the BJP of trying to saffronise languages.
Shah, however, made it clear that he only advocated learning of Hindi as the second language after one’s mother tongue and was in favour of promoting all regional languages.
The vice-president also laid great stress on poetry saying it has the capability to change attitudes, mindset and social norms more than anything else. “Poetry can serve as a powerful catalyst that could hasten the process of social transformation. We need poets and writers and artists and singers as much as we need doctors, engineers and scientists,” he said.