Chennai: President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday unveiled a statue of Mahatma Gandhi and said that learning the language of another state helped both the individuals and the country.
Delivering a speech in three languages – Tamil, English and Hindi, the President said that learning the language of another region or state could be very educative and open a window to “a culture that is at once familiar and new”.
In Delhi, he said he had observed cases of north Indian school students learning Tamil. He said that twinning programmes between different states were popularising the language of one region in another. Such steps reinforced national harmony, he added.
The President unveiled the Gandhi statue at the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha here.
He said it was a matter of immense happiness that the Sabha, founded by Mahatma Gandhi, had completed 100 years. It had worked to promote Hindi in southern states.
The President said that there was a practical benefit to learning languages of other states.
“We live in an age when a growing Indian economy is leading to significant internal migration. Young men and women from one part of the country are studying or working and adding value to another part of the country.
“In such cases, knowing the language of the state or region one is located in can only be an asset. It adds value to an individual’s CV – and it adds value to India.”
The President said that during India’s freedom movement, the poetry of Subramania Bharati inspired not just the people in Tamil Nadu but all over the country.
In the same manner, the liberating ideas of Periyar – one of our foremost advocates of human dignity – were not limited by language or geography.
He also recalled that two of his predecessors in Rashtrapati Bhavan, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, who was India’s last Governor-General, and President R. Venkataraman, were multi-lingual intellectuals from Tamil Nadu.