February 28, 2022
New Delhi – Likening mother tongue to mother, someone who can’t be abandoned, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 86th edition of monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ broadcast over All India Radio on Sunday called upon the countrymen to speak in their respective mother tongues and with ‘pride’.
The Prime Minister lamented that there were some people in the country in a dilemma whether to converse in their mother tongues or not. He pointed out that the same is not the case with people living in other countries of the world.
“Friends, even after 75 years of Independence, some people are facing a mental dilemma due to which they have reservations with regard to their language, their dress, their food and drink, whereas, it is not like this anywhere else in the world. It is our mother tongue; we should speak it with pride,” Prime Minister Modi said.
The Prime Minister said hundreds of languages and thousands of dialects in India though each different from the other are mutually integrated.
“India is so rich in terms of languages that it just cannot be compared. The biggest beauty of our languages is that from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Kutch to Kohima, hundreds of languages, thousands of dialects which are different from each other but are mutually integrated…many languages – one expression. For centuries, our languages have been evolving whilst learning from each other and have been refining themselves, developing each other,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister also recalled from his own personal experience how during one of his earliest visits to the US he was a witness to a ‘very happy scenario’ of a Tamil family sitting together and speaking in their mother tongue while having dinner.
“Once I went to a Telugu family and I got to see a very happy scenario there. They told me that they had made a rule in the family that no matter how busy one were to be, if they were not outstation, then all the family members would have dinner sitting at the table together and equally compulsory on the dinner table was conversing in Telugu language only. This was also the rule for the children who were born there. Seeing this love for the mother tongue, I was highly impressed by this family,” the Prime Minister said.
Further emphasizing the importance of mother tongue, Prime Minister Modi said ‘as our mother moulds our life, in the same manner mother tongue also shapes our life’. “The mother and mother tongue, both together strengthen the foundation of life; lending it permanence. Just like we cannot abandon our mother, similarly, we cannot leave our mother tongue either,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister exhorted people to be proud of the fact that world’s oldest language Tamil is in India. He said, “…every Indian should be proud that we have such a significant heritage of the world.” He said, “In the same way, many ancient scriptures are also there; their expression too is in our Sanskrit language. The people of India are proud to be associated with 121 forms of mother tongues and 14 of these languages are spoken by more than 1 crore people in everyday life. That is, many European countries do not have a total population than the people who are associated with 14 different languages in our country.”
Prime Minister Modi said in 2019, Hindi ranked third among the most spoken languages of the world. He said every Indian should also feel proud about this. He recalled the work being done by Surjan Parohi ji, who turned 84 this month, in Suriname to save the heritage of his language. He said Surjan Parohi ji whom he had honoured in 2015 is a national poet who writes very good poetry. His forefathers also went to Suriname years ago, along with thousands of workers, to earn a living, the Prime Minister said.