Vice President Calls for national movement to promote Indian languages
Highlighting the importance of preserving, protecting and promoting Indian languages, the Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu spoke in 22 languages during an event organized by HRD ministry in New Delhi celebrating Matribhasha Divas. 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 also.”
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. He also said that medium of instruction should be mandatory in languages up to high school level.
Speaking on the occasion HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank said that the mother tongue refers to the language that a person learns without any effort and to which the person has a deep emotional attachment. He said that the language is not only a medium of communication; it has a strong social, cultural, geographical and economic connect with the speakers of that society as well. He further said that our country believes in the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. So, we not just only respect each other’s language and culture, but also assimilate it and live it. In a country like India, where about thousands of languages and dialects are spoken, each language has its own significance and identity.
Pokhriyal highlighted that while we take pride in that India has such a large number of mother tongues, on the other hand, 196 languages of India have been included in the list of endangered languages released by UNESCO, which is a matter of concern. Not only are some languages and dialects fading away or are on the verge of getting extinct, sadly the condition of many major languages is also of grave concern. He further added that the main reason is that sometimes people suffer from inferiority complex in relation to their mother tongue, but one should understand that no language is major or minor, rich or poor and strong or weak. Now the time has come for us to document and preserve our languages, as well as to encourage them.
Matribhasha Diwas is celebrated evry year on 21 February to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism in the world, as well as to spread awareness about languages. This day is also celebrated worldwide as International Mother Language Day with a different theme every year. The theme of this year (2020) is ‘Languages without Borders’ which means languages across/devoid of geographical boundaries.