INDIA. Delhi: Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu recently expressed concern about endangered Indian languages, and called for concerted action and united efforts to preserve them. Shri Naidu was virtually addressing the first anniversary celebrations of ‘Antharjatiya Samskruthika Sammelanam-2021,’ hosted by Sri Samskruthika Kalasaradhi, a cultural organisation in Singapore. Highlighting the critical state of some languages, Shri Naidu emphasised that the preservation of our languages is key to protecting our cultural traditions. ‘Language is the lifeline of any culture. While language strengthens culture, culture strengthens society,’ he said.
Citing a UN report that one language in the world becomes extinct every two weeks, Shri Naidu expressed concern that there are 196 Indian languages that are currently endangered. The Vice President called for concerted action to reverse this and hoped that all Indians would unite and move forward to preserve our languages.
During his speech, he described expatriate Indians as cultural ambassadors and commended them for keeping Indian values and customs alive and that India is proud of its role in spreading our ancient values. Underscoring the need to preserve our languages, he reiterated that the medium of education should be in the mother tongue up to primary and secondary education. He advised gradually extending the use of our mother tongues in technical education. He also stressed the need for having the language of administration and the judiciary to be in the local language to be more accessible to people. He urged everyone to be proud of their mother tongue and to speak in that language with their family, in their community, and on other occasions.
Noting that India is a home of many languages and cultures, Shri Naidu stressed that unity in diversity is what holds us all together. He added that diversity in language is the foundation of a great civilisation and that our civilisational values expressed themselves through its languages, music, arts, sports, and festivals. ‘Political boundaries might change, but our mother tongue and our roots won’t change’, he said, calling for a united effort to preserve and protect our mother tongues.
The Vice President noted that while it is important to preserve one’s own language and tradition, it is equally important to respect the language and culture of others.