Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, hoping that in future more and more vernacular language newspapers would come up in the country, on Sunday said he would not call them as regional newspapers and, instead, would prefer to call them real national newspapers as they feed the people with news and views in the national languages.
Speaking at the centenary celebrations of premier Odia newspaper The Samaja here, he said the vernacular newspapers not only reflect local aspirations, they are also very close to the public. “I am confident that The Samaja is an asset to Odisha and it will attain even greater heights in the time to come.”
Naidu also used the opportunity to clear the air on the recent debates in the country over the language issue and said all efforts must be made to promote all the Indian languages. “We must all respect our mother tongues; and after promoting our mother tongues, we can learn any other language,” he said, emphasising that all schools must promote mother tongues at least up to the primary level.
“Mother tongue is like your eyesight and other languages are like your spectacles. If you have a good eyesight then only the spectacles will give you a better vision,” Naidu said, urging the people of Odisha to first practise and perfect the use of Odia language and then pick up any other language.
The Vice-President began his address in Odia and spoke in it for nearly two minutes amidst loud cheers from the audience.
Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also spoke on the occasion. All of them referred to the contributions made by The Samaja for the development of the State.
They also recalled how the hundred-year-old institution, launched by legendary Utkalamani Pandit Gopabandhu Das in 1919, has so far helped strengthen nationalism in Odisha.