Highlighting the importance of preserving, protecting and promoting Indian languages, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday spoke in 22 languages at an event held in New Delhi to mark the International Mother Language Day.
He urged all the citizens to take a pledge to promote mother tongue and also learn other languages. The Vice President called for a national movement to promote Indian Languages in a big way, and said: "When we protect and promote mother tongues, we protect and promote linguistic and cultural diversity also."
Calling for a link between the language and employment, the Vice President said that knowledge of Indian languages must be made compulsory for recruitment up to a certain level in government jobs.
Stating that language should become a catalyst for inclusive development and growth, Mr Naidu stressed the need to use local language in administration. He also said the medium of instruction should be mandatory in languages up to high-school level.
He appreciated the Supreme Court for providing judgment copies in six languages and wanted all other subordinate courts to follow the same.
Emphasising the importance of protecting and conserving India's unique and rich linguistic heritage, the Vice President said that celebration of Matribhashas should not remain a one-day affair and wanted all citizens to use their respective mother tongue on a daily basis.
"Only then the celebration of this kind will attain serious meaning," he added
Observing that more than 19,500 languages and dialects are spoken in India as mother tongues, he said that the languages were a repository of collective knowledge and wisdom amassed over the course of the long journey of our vibrant civilisation.
Naidu said that Indian languages have always been celebrated for their scientific structure and phonetic, uncomplicated spellings and clear grammatical rules. "Our languages have been vehicles of our vast and highly sophisticated ancient, medieval, and modern literature," he added.
Mr Naidu said that Mahatma Gandhi had reminded the country the mother tongue should not be neglected but this did not mean that one need not learn other languages like English.
Earlier, upon his arrival, the Vice President was welcomed in 22 Indian languages by the students dressed in traditional Indian attire representing the vibrant culture of different states. He also visited bookstalls set up by various central governmental institutions.