Mysuru, Jul 13(UNI) Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today supported the Three Language Formula and called for its implementation in letter and spirit throughout the country and emphasized special measures to be taken to develop and recruit language teachers.
Speaking at the Golden jubilee celebrations of the Central Institute of Indian Languages here on Saturday, he said the Supreme Court has recently decided to make available its judgements in six vernacular languages, to start with. This is a positive step in the direction of removing language barriers and ensuring equal access to justice.
Stating that the Finance Ministry has decided to conduct examinations for employment in Regional Rural Banks in 13 Regional languages in addition to English and Hindi, he said that all these initiatives will help in creating a level playing field. Many more bold decisions must be made to protect and nurture our languages.
He said that innovation is the watchword of the 21st Century. Innovation is imperative, if we are to progress. To foster innovation, it is very important to develop scientific vocabulary in our regional languages.
He said that the draft National Education Policy has taken a step in this direction by proposing to renew and vastly expand the mandate of the Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology to include all disciplines and fields, and not just the physical sciences.
“With technology taking over all walks of life, it is of paramount importance that we make technology tools and resources available in regional languages as well. Today cheap smart phones and data plans have made internet available in almost all rural areas,” he added.
He said that Research suggests that if regional language content is also made available online, then more rural population would start using internet.
“Indian languages have always been celebrated for their scientific structure and phonetic, uncomplicated spellings and clear grammatical rules. Our languages also been vehicles of our vast and highly sophisticated ancient, medieval, and modern literature. More than 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken in India as mother tongues, according to the Language Census”, he added.
He said that there are 121 languages which are spoken by 10,000 or more people in India. Languages are never static, but dynamic living social phenomena. They grow, shrink, transform, merge, and sadly, die.
The Vice President said it was extremely disheartening to learn that 196 languages of our country are classified as endangered. “We may have to ensure that this number doesn’t increase. We have to protect and preserve our languages and the best and only way is to constantly use them. Our languages are a repository of our collective knowledge and wisdom which we have amassed over the course of the long journey of our vibrant civilization,” he added.
“Our tribal languages, many of which are headed towards extinction, are treasure troves of knowledge about a region’s flora, fauna and medicinal plants. When a language declines, it takes with it an entire knowledge system and a unique perspective of viewing the universe. The traditional livelihood patterns disappear along with their special skills, arts, crafts, cuisine and trade,” he added.
CIIL was established in Mysore in 1969. During the course of five decades of its functioning, the Institute has made stellar contributions to the growth and development of Indian languages.
He said that in addition to promoting languages of India, CIIL also acts as an advisor to the Government on issues related to language policy and language planning. The Institute has had the unique distinction of working on almost all aspects of language and on most major, minor, tribal, lesser-known and endangered languages of India.
I am also glad that this Institute has established five Regional Language Centers (RLCs) and two Urdu Teaching and Research Centers (UTRCs).
He said that the Institute, through its schemes such as National Translation Mission (NTM), National Testing Service India (NTS-I) and ‘Bharatavani’, has been working on the creation of resources and technology for developing the languages of India.
Lauding the Institute for striving to further develop classical languages such as Tamil, Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Odia so that these languages of antiquity may be protected and the knowledge encoded in them is made accessible to all, the Vice President said that “Golden jubilee is an important milestone in the journey of an institution. It is a time for celebration as well as introspection, a time to revel in the glory of achievements made and a time to set new goals and targets for the future”.
He emphasized the importance of protecting and conserving our unique and rich linguistic. It is the time we rethink and reinvent the entire language education in our country. CIIL has already taken new initiatives. It should continue to be a model in the field of research and development of languages.
The Vice President stressed that “we must start by making the mother tongue the medium of instruction in our schools at least at the primary level. A number of studies conducted all over the world by different expert groups have established the fact that teaching of mother tongue at the initial stages of education gives impetus to the growth of mind and thought and makes children more creative and logical. We must also not fail to teach our children multiple languages in order to widen the horizon of their understanding of both literature and science”.
He said that since education is one of the instruments for the growth of self, society and the nation, language or languages should not become the barrier of education.
It is heartening to note that the new draft National Education Policy puts forth a number of suggestions for supporting education in home languages and mother tongues, tribal as well as sign languages.
He said that the policy rightly states that children have the potential to acquire multilingual skills and these need to be encouraged at the earliest. It suggests that education could be in the mother tongue at least till Grade 5 but preferably till Grade 8, with a flexible, bilingual language approach where necessary.
‘Our languages must serve as means of empowerment of the masses. The Parliament now allows its members to express themselves in any of the 22 scheduled languages. We must explore the possibility of permitting our Parliamentarians to speak in their mother tongues in the House. We must leverage all possible avenues of technology to make this possible,’ he added.
The Vice President underlined that “our languages must unite us in the cause for inclusive and sustainable development and must not end up as tools to divide us. There should be no imposition of any language, nor should there be any opposition to any language”.