The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for promotion and protection of ancient Indian languages as they offer a window to our ancient civilisational values, knowledge and wisdom. Addressing the gathering after conferring ‘President’s Certificate of Honour’ and ‘Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman’ Awards to scholars in Classical Languages in New Delhi Shri Naidu said “When a language dies, an entire culture dies. We simply cannot let that happen. Protecting our cultural heritage, including languages is our constitutionally mandated duty”, he asserted.
Observing that studies by experts estimate that almost 600 languages were on the verge of extinction and more than 250 languages have disappeared in the past 60 years, the Vice President said that the modern Indian languages have ancient roots and are derived in some way from the classical languages. “If we don’t preserve and sustain this link, we lose a very precious key to the treasure house we have all inherited”, he warned.
Emphasizing that language preservation and development needed multi-pronged approach, Shri Naidu said it should begin at the primary school level and continued to higher levels of education.
Urging people to start using their native languages at home, in the community, in meetings and in administration, the Vice President called for a national movement to protect and preserve the mother tongue. He asked the state governments, Centre, academicians and the school administrations to provide primary and higher education in mother tongue. Shri Naidu also released Linguistic Data Resources for Artificial Intelligence and launched Data Distribution Portal that helps in developing language technology and artificial intelligence tools for many Indian languages.
Shri Naidu also wanted adequate attention to be given to dialects and folk literature, apart from encouraging Indian language publications, journals and children’s books in local languages. “We must accord a sense of pride to those who speak, write and communicate in these languages, he added.
Saying that language was a vehicle of intergenerational transmission of culture, scientific knowledge and a worldview, the Vice President said that language evolves with human evolution and gets nourished by constant use.