Published: 08th September 2021
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu: Learn your mother tongue first, Hindi next
The Vice President said that there's no point in one learning a language if they cannot communicate with a large number of people
You have to learn your mother tongue first and Hindi second, said Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. While speaking at an event organised by Krea University in Chennai, Naidu explained that as far as he was concerned this was primarily so that people could communicate with each other, "You must learn your mother tongue and then you must also learn Hindi because a large number of people speak Hindi in this country."
Explaining that the primary purpose of a language is communication and then preservation of one's culture and heritage, Naidu went on to say, "If you're not able to communicate with the largest number of people in this country in the language known to them then what is the purpose (of your language)? This has to be understood by all," and added, "I know I am speaking from Chennai."
Naidu's reference to the state's anti-Hindi politics was not lost. Tamil Nadu has a long history of anti-Hindi imposition sentiment. In 1937, Periyar's Self Respect Movement and the Justice Party had protested the move to include compulsory Hindi in schools under the Madras Presidency. Since the 1940s, the state has seen several political agitations against Hindi imposition, which crop up sporadically. In fact, the ruling DMK had spearheaded the anti-Hindi imposition agitation in the 1960s.
Drawing on his own experience of once agitating against Hindi, Naidu recalled how he had been misguided by this sentiment, "During my students days, I participated in anti-Hindi agitations. One boy said there are two places with Hindi boards, one at the railway station and then at the post office. We got in two groups and put tar (on the Hindi boards) there." He added, "After reaching Delhi I realised that I put tar on my face by not learning Hindi."
Importance of liberal arts
Launching the Moturi Satyanarayana Centre for Advanced Study in Humanities and Social Sciences, Naidu said that liberal arts has not been given its due importance. He said, "It is unfortunate that liberal arts has been relegated to a secondary position in recent decades. Liberal arts nurture qualities of critical thinking, problem solving and adaptability in individuals. These attributes are in high demand in the 21st century economy."
He also said that we must rediscover "our parampara, our tradition" in liberal arts in order to shape well-rounded individuals. "In this regard, students pursuing the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) must get adequate exposure to liberal arts and social sciences."