The Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today called for innovative and collaborative efforts to protect and rejuvenate Indian languages. Stressing that preserving languages and ensuring their continuity is possible only through a people’s movement, Shri Naidu said that people must come together in one voice and pool in efforts to pass on our heritage of language to our future generations.
Touching upon various people-driven initiatives needed to preserve Indian languages, the Vice President highlighted the important role translation plays in enriching a language. He called for increased efforts in improving the quality and quantity of translations in Indian languages. Shri Naidu also advised making ancient literature more accessible and relatable to the youth in plain, spoken languages. Finally, he also called for compiling endangered and archaic words in a language from rural areas and various dialects in order to preserve them for posterity.
Virtually addressing a conference organised by ‘Telugu Kootami’ on the protection of mother tongues, Shri Naidu expressed cautioned that if one’s mother tongue is lost, one’s self-identity and self-esteem will eventually be lost. It would be possible to preserve various aspects of our heritage – music, dance, drama, customs, festivals, traditional knowledge – only by preserving our mother tongue, he said.
On this occasion, Shri Naidu lauded the recent initiative of Chief Justice of India, Shri N.V. Ramana, who resolved a 21-year-old marital dispute in an amicable way, by allowing the woman to voice her concerns in her mother tongue, Telugu, when she expressed her difficulty to fluently speak in English. He said this the case underlines the need for the judicial system to allow people to voice their problems in their native languages in courts and also deliver judgments in the regional languages.
The Vice President also reiterated the importance of imparting education in mother tongue up to primary school level and according priority to the mother tongue in the administration.
Shri Naidu appreciated the central government for bringing out a visionary National Education Policy (NEP), which lays emphasis on the use of mother tongue in our education system. A holistic education, as NEP envisions, is only possible when our culture, language and traditions are integrated into our education system, he added.
He appreciated the recent decision of 14 engineering colleges in 8 states to offer courses in various Indian languages from the new academic year. He called for the gradual increase in the use Indian languages in technical courses. The Vice President also lauded the efforts of the Ministry of Education for the initiative to protect endangered languages through the Scheme for Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages (SPPEL).
Referring to various best practices in the world in preserving mother tongue, the Vice President called upon language enthusiasts, linguists, teachers, parents and the media to take insights from such countries. He said these countries – like France, Germany and Japan, while using their native tongue in various advanced disciplines like engineering, medicine and law, have proved themselves strong vis-a-vis English-speaking countries in every field. Shri Naidu also suggested improving scientific and technical terminology in Indian languages in order to facilitate wider reach.
Observing that according importance to mother tongue did not imply the neglect of other languages, Shri Naidu called for encouraging children to learn as many languages as possible, beginning with a strong foundation in one’s own mother tongue.
Adviser to the Government of Telangana, Shri K.V. Ramanachary, retired IAS Officer, Shri Nandivelugu Mukteswara Rao, retired IPS Officer, Shri Chennuru Anjaneya Reddy, Former Chairman of Telugu Association of North America (TANA), Shri Talluri Jayasekhar, the Dean of Dravida University, Shri Pulikonda Subbachary, former Chairman of Telangana Sahitya Akademi Shri Nandini Sidhareddy, President of the Linguistic Society of India, Shri Garapati Umamaheswara Rao, President of Telugu Kootami, Shri Parupalli Kodandaramayya and others participated in the virtual event.