English an illness inflicted by British: Venkaiah

English an illness inflicted by British: Venkaiah

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu speaks during the Hindi Diwas Samaroh 2018, in New Delhi, Friday, Sept 14, 2018. PTI Photo

Advocating primary education in one's mother tongue, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday cited studies to suggest that children have developed an inferiority complex due to the preference for English, which he described as an "illness inflicted" by the British.

Naidu was addressing an event organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on the occasion of 'Hindi Divas', celebrated annually to commemorate the day (September 14) when Hindi written in Devanagari script became the official language of India under Article 343 of the Constitution.

Insisting that India cannot progress without Hindi, because more people speak the language, Naidu said English was thrust upon during the colonial rule and the mindset of ignoring one's mother tongue should go.

"I am not against any language. We need to learn other languages but that should not be at the cost of one's mother tongue...It is easy to express feelings in one's mother tongue. That is the experience of all. So one should speak in one's mother tongue at our homes. We need to get rid of the illness inflicted on us and left behind by the Britishers," Naidu said.

"You won't get the same happiness when you call your mother 'Maa' than 'mummy'. 'Maa' comes from within your heart but 'mummy' just comes from your tongue. Try this at home and you will understand," Naidu said.

Insisting that primary education should be in one's mother tongue, the vice president said mother tongue is one's eye and a foreign language is like spectacles, and there was no point in having it when one does not have an eye.

"There are several studies that children have developed an inferiority complex and lower level of confidence as their medium of education was English. We need to address this," he said. However, Naidu did not elaborate on the research on which he referred to.

Cites world leaders

He also referred to those like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping speak in their own language and not in English while engaging with leaders of other countries.

"Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has a PhD (written in English) but when he came he spoke in his mother tongue. We have to understand this spirit," Naidu said while insisting that one should promote the use of Hindi as well as other Indian languages. Incidentally, Rouhani's PhD thesis was under the eye of a controversy over plagiarism charges.

Naidu, whose mother tongue is Telugu, said as a college student he had participated in anti-Hindi agitations and had even been part of a group that blackened a post office.

“In 1993, when I came to Delhi as BJP general secretary, I understood that I did not blacken the post office but my face itself,” he said.


READ ALSO: Congress slams Naidu for remarks on learning Hindi
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