Venkaiah Naidu said India was home to 19,500 languages and dialects, of which 200 were facing the threat of immediate extinction.
Ahead of the International Mother Language Day on Sunday, Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu wrote to all members of the Upper House urging them to promote and preserve Indian languages. He lamented that regional languages were being given short shrift.
Writing to each member in their own language, Mr. Naidu said India was home to 19,500 languages and dialects, of which 200 were facing the threat of immediate extinction.
“For us in India, International Mother Language Day has special significance. Cultural and linguistic diversity form the bedrock of Indian civilisation. Our values and vision, aspirations and ideals, life and literature find expression in our mother tongue,” he wrote in the three-page letter.
Languages were being driven to extinction, he said, because of the mindset of looking down upon regional languages and “wearing the linguistic badge of competence in English as a false sign of superiority”.
Extolling the virtues of mother tongue, Mr. Naidu urged members to be facilitator in promoting native languages. “Given your standing among the people you represent, your effort could give a fillip to the promotion of Indian languages,” he wrote.