Ahmedabad: Criticising what he called "English mentality" that makes Indians encourage their children to speak in English, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday stressed the need to promote use of mother tongue among kids.
"We should teach our children to speak in mother tongue. Whether it is Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Malayali, Assamese, Punjabi, Bhojpuri, whatever it is, we should teach mother tongue to our children, the language that comes from the womb," Naidu said, addressing a Swachh Bharat Mission programme here.
"When leaving the country (after India gained Independence), Englishmen left behind English mentality because of which we teach our children to say 'mummy', 'daddy'," the Urban Development and Information and Broadcasting Minister said. He showed through gesture how the word 'maa', which in many Indian languages mean to address mother, comes from the gut while 'mummy', an English word, comes from the lip.
"When talking to each other, children should be encouraged to speak in Gujarati (mother tongue), why use English?" Naidu said, giving example of how on their recent visits to India, the Chinese, French and Russian Presidents spoke in their mother tongue despite knowing English.
"I am not against English, we should learn English, as well as Hindi, but we should always practice, speak and teach kids to speak in mother tongue. Otherwise, in the coming times, all those speaking in their mother tongue will also begin talking in broken English," he quipped.
During the programme, Naidu announced that the Centre has handed over a cheque of Rs 2.9 billion to Gujarat for urban development programme. While praising the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said Modi's mantra of "reform, transform and perform" has improved service delivery to beneficiaries while cutting out middlemen.
The union minister said that the government is committed to work for the uplift of poor and accused the opposition of targeting the government because it cannot digest the development work being carried out by the Centre.
"Opposition is misleading people by saying that the government only works for Adani and Ambani. When the Opposition was in government for fifty years, it helped people stash black money abroad and made rich richer and poor poorer. The government is committed to providing housing to all by 2022," Naidu, who also holds the portfolio of Urban Housing and Poverty Alleviation, said.
On the occasion, an MoU was also signed between the state government and a private organisation, Energy Efficiency Service Limited, to convert street-lights in the state into LED bulbs. The agreement stipulates that the private organisation will be paid back from the money saved on energy consumption in next seven years.
Naidu praised the west Indian state of Gujarat for making 160 cities and towns open defecation free, and felicitated representatives of Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Junagadh municipal corporations, and various municipalities for implementation of cleanliness mission.