Describing the first learned and spoken mother tongue as the 'soul of life', Vice President and Chairman of Rajya Sabha M Venkaiah Naidu passionately urged all the Members of Parliament to actively contribute to the cause of preservation and promotion of Indian languages.
Ahead of 'International Mother Languages Day' on February 21, Naidu wrote a letter to all the members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in different widely spoken Indian languages along with English on February 16.
In the three page letter to all the Members of Parliament (MPs), Naidu elaborated on the importance of strong foundational skills in the first language in the initial years of informal learning at home, as the first window to the world for infants, for subsequent better academic performance and even for learning a second language.
Elaborating on the consequence of neglecting native languages, the Rajya Sabha Chairman said that it results in the loss of knowledge accumulated over time in respective cultures, of which languages are a manifestation.
"With a multiplicity of languages and a rich spectrum of dialects, we have regions which are repositories of knowledge much of which stands imperiled today. This is mainly due to a mindset of looking down upon one's mother tongue and wearing the linguistic badge of competence in English as a false sign of superiority.....Culture and language are the two sides of the same coin. They embody rich knowledge and practices accumulated over a long period. Extinction of a language results in the loss of precious legacy. We can't allow this to happen," he wrote.
The Vice President stressed the need for promoting native languages for preserving the country's rich cultural diversity.
"We take pride in India being a mosaic of several languages and cultures epitomising unity in diversity. This applies to the world as well, which is emerging as a global village. The richness of our diverse cultures can only be preserved through the promotion of mother languages," said Naidu.
Stating that learning more languages is useful as it offers more windows to the world besides enabling cross-cultural understanding, peace and harmony, Naidu stressed that "But it can't be achieved without a strong foundation in one's own first language. Mother tongue is the soul of life."
In the context of the above, the Rajya Sabha urged all MPs to be active facilitators in promoting native languages in the large areas they represent and to start with by taking up appropriate communication and outreach programmes on the occasion of International Mother Languages Day' by drawing inspiration from the motto of "Let us love and promote mother tongue."
Naidu also informed the MPs that about 200 Indian languages facing extinction and the UNO expressing concern over one world language becoming extinct every two weeks.