Business Standard

PM calls for using language to unite people, Tharoor welcomes 'departure from Hindi dominance'


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday pitched for using language as a tool to unite India, while lamenting that it has often been exploited by "selfish interests" to create a divide in the country.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor welcomed the "departure from Hindi dominance" and took up the "language challenge" by tweeting the word 'pluralism' and then adding its Hindi and Malayalam translations.
Addressing the Malayala Manorama News Conclave in Kochi via a video link from here, Modi also asked the media to play the role of a bridge to bring people speaking different languages closer.
He said that for ages, language has been a very powerful vehicle for the most popular ideas travelling across time and distance.
Tharoor was present when the prime minister was addressing the event.
"India is perhaps the only country in the world with so many languages. In a way it is a force multiplier. But language also been exploited by selfish interests to create artificial walls in the country to divide," the prime minister said and wondered whether the power of language can be used to unite India.
"This is not as difficult as it seems. We can simply start with publishing one word in 10-12 different languages spoken across the country. In a year, a person can learn over 300 new words in different languages.
"Once a person learns another Indian language, he will come to know the common threads and truly appreciate the oneness in Indian culture," he told the gathering, adding this way people in Haryana can learn Malayalam and those in Karnataka can learn Bangla.
Soon after the prime minister's address Tharror tweeted, "PrimeMinister @NarendraModi ended his speech at the #manoramanewsconclave by suggesting we all learn one new word a day from an Indian language other than our own. I welcome this departure from Hindi dominance & gladly take him up on this #LanguageChallenge."

Tharoor and his party colleague Abhishek Singhvi had come out in support of another Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, saying "demonising" Narendra Modi was "wrong" and the prime minister should be praised for doing the right things.
While Singhvi said Modi's acts must be judged "issue-wise, not person-wise", Tharoor said praising the prime minister for doing the right things would lend credibility to the opposition's criticism of him.

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First Published: Aug 30 2019 | 5:20 PM IST

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