VP Naidu surprises, speaks in 22 languages at Matribhasha Diwas event

New Delhi: Highlighting the importance of preserving, protecting and promoting Indian languages, the Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu, today spoke in 22 languages at an event to mark International Mother Language Day (Matribhasha Diwas), in New Delhi. He urged all the citizens to take a pledge to promote mother tongue and also learn other languages.

The Vice President called for a national movement to promote Indian Languages in a big way, and said, “When we protect and promote mother tongues, we protect and promote linguistic and cultural diversity too.”

Calling for a link between the language and employment, Naidu said that knowledge of Indian languages must be made compulsory for recruitment up to a certain level in government jobs. Stating that language should become a catalyst for inclusive development and growth, he stressed the need to use local language in administration.

Naidu appreciated the Supreme Court for providing judgment copies in six languages and wanted all other subordinate courts to follow the same.

Emphasizing the importance of protecting and conserving India’s unique and rich linguistic heritage, the Vice President said that celebration of matribhashas should not remain a one-day affair and wanted all citizens to use their respective mother tongue on a daily basis. “Only then the celebration of this kind will attain serious meaning,” he added

Observing that more than 19,500 languages and dialects are spoken in India as mother tongues, he said that the languages were a repository of collective knowledge and wisdom amassed over the course of the long journey of our vibrant civilization.

Naidu said that Indian languages have always been celebrated for their scientific structure and phonetic, uncomplicated spellings and clear grammatical rules. “Our languages have been vehicles of our vast and highly sophisticated ancient, medieval, and modern literature,” he added.

Recalling the wise words of the Father of the Nation, he said that Mahatma Gandhi had reminded the country that the mother tongue should not be neglected but this did not mean that one need not learn other languages like English.

Naidu quoted Gandhi as saying, “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.”

Referring to thoughts of Sardar Patel who in a similar vein had said that children taught in a foreign language were forced to memorize the words without understanding.

Quoting from Sardar Patel’s Nagpur University convocation address he said, “Your university has shown that where there is a will there is a way. I hope you will follow this well-thought plan with determination and when Indian language is used as medium you will see that a lot of time of students saved, their intelligence blossoms and minds become sharp.”

Pointing out that a language evolves with human evolution and gets nourished by constant use, the Vice President said, “If you do not use a language, you lose it. When a language declines, it takes with it an entire knowledge system.”

The Vice President appreciated the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) for organizing the celebration of International Mother Language Day in one lakh schools across the country on 21 February.

Earlier, upon his arrival, the Vice President was welcomed in 22 Indian languages by students dressed in traditional Indian attire representing the vibrant culture of different states. He also visited bookstalls set up by various central governmental institutions.

The Minister of HRD, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’; Minister of State (I/C), Ministry of Culture, Prahlad Singh Patel; the Minister of State, Ministry of HRD, Sanjay Dhotre; Secretary to the Vice President of India, I V Subba Rao; Secretary (Higher Education), MHRD, Govt of India Amit Khare; and the Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Yogendra Tripathi.

Naidu is expected to visit the ‘Hunar Haat’ being held at India Gate Lawns, New Delhi today to interact with the artisans and craftsmen participating from different parts of the country.

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The ID Staff

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