- There should be stress on quality translations and improving scientific terminology in Indian languages
- If mother tongue is lost, self-identity is lost
- Initiative of Chief Justice of India for shifting to mother tongue in court to amicably resolve cases deserves to be praised
- Learn from best practices in other countries for promoting native languages
New Delhi: Vice President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday 31 July 2021 called for innovative and collaborative efforts to protect and rejuvenate Indian languages.
The Vice President emphasised that preserving languages and ensuring their continuity is possible only through a people’s movement. People must come together in one voice and pool in efforts to pass on our heritage of languages 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.
Naidu also underscored the importance of 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, Naidu expressed caution and said if one’s mother tongue is lost, one’s self-identity and self-esteem will also 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 opined.
Naidu lauded the recent initiative of Chief Justice of India, Justice N.V. Ramana, who resolved a 21-year-old marital dispute in an amicable way, by allowing the woman to voice her concerns in Telegu – her mother tongue – when she expressed difficulty in fluently communicating 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 reiterated the importance of imparting education in mother tongue up to primary school level and according priority to the mother tongue in administration.
Naidu was appreciative of the Central Government saying it had brought 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.
The Vice President praised 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 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.
Naidu suggested that scientific and technical terminology in Indian languages will have to be improved in order to facilitate wider reach.
Giving importance to the mother tongue does not mean neglecting other languages. Children should be encouraged to learn as many languages as possible, beginning with a strong foundation in one’s own mother tongue, he went on to advise.