Hindi not competing with other languages, don't feel inferior in speaking mother tongue: Amit Shah – The Indian Express

Hindi is the country’s official language but will prosper only through coexistence with other Indian languages, said Home Minister Amit Shah on the occasion of Hindi Diwas Tuesday as he urged people to speak in their mother tongues.
The Home Minister said Hindi was not competing with other Indian languages. “Different opinions come. But I want to clarify that Hindi is not competing with any other Indian language. It is actually a friend of all Indian languages and it will prosper only with co-existence,” Shah said.
This is a marked departure from Shah’s 2019 speech on Hindi Diwas where he pushed for the idea of ‘One Nation, One Language’ and stressed that it was only Hindi which could unite the whole nation.
The remarks had sparked a furore and invited sharp reactions from opposition political parties, particularly in south India.
“There is no need to hesitate, no need to suffer any inferiority complex. When the PM speaks in Hindi at the highest of international platforms, what are we worried about? Those days are gone when we used to think how we will be judged if we speak in Hindi. You will be judged by your work, your ideas, not by your language,” Shah said, claiming that many countries had progressed by doing all their work, including in the field of science and technology, in their own language.
The Home Minister was speaking at the Hindi Diwas programme organised at Vigyan Bhawan by the Department of Languages in the ministry.
He advised parents to speak to their children in their mother tongue at home even if they are studying in English-medium schools. “No foreign language can connect you with this country’s core thoughts. If you abandon your language you will be cut off from your roots. Such people will never prosper,” Shah said.
“Earlier when Indian leaders went abroad and spoke on the international stage, hardly anyone in their own country understood what they were saying. But Atal (Bihari Vajpayee) ji started and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now made it a tradition to speak in India’s official language on all international stages,” Shah said.
Hindi Diwas was not celebrated in 2020 owing to the pandemic.
The Home Minister suggested that India did well in the battle against Covid-19 because PM Narendra Modi established communication with states and the people of the country in Hindi.
“Data shows we have done better than the rest of the world in fighting Covid 19. How did we succeed? In the rest of the world, the government fought Covid, but in India the people and state governments along with the Centre fought it together. This happened because PM Narendra Modi spoke to states and the people through 35 meetings and events where he spoke in the official language. This created an environment to combat Covid,” Shah said.
“Some people spread misinformation that local languages can become an impediment to personality development. But the best means of expression is one’s own language. Mahatma Gandhi said that primary education must be in the local language. A child is most comfortable when he is taught in the language he speaks at home,” Shah said.
He said that is why the government had suggested teaching children in their mother tongue in the National Education Policy.

Shah said that even during the freedom struggle local languages had a prominent role and all key leaders including Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabbhai Patel on the emphasised use of local languages. “Gandhiji said without knowing local languages, you cannot understand this nation’s consciousness,” Shah said.
The Home Minister was speaking at the Hindi Diwas programme organised at Vigyan Bhawan by the Department of Languages in the ministry.
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