Asserting that India is the most tolerant country in the world, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday said secularism is safe in this country, not because of any government or party, but because it is in the blood and veins of every individual living here. He also stressed that the basic primary education must be in mother tongue.
"Ours is a great country, fortunately India is again on the move, world is now recognising and respecting India once again, nobody can ignore us. Though some people might write here and there small things, don't worry about it. Some people are not able to digest India's progress, they are suffering from indigestion, we cant help it," Naidu said.
Addressing the platinum jubilee celebrations of Mount Carmel Institutions here, he accused the western media of carrying lots of negative stories about India, forgetting the great achievements being made by the country and its people in various fields.
Acknowledging that there are certain challenges before the nation like social inequality, poverty, gender disparity, which need to be addressed, the Vice President said, India doesn't believe in colonial rule or doesn't want to impose itself on other countries, and has never attacked any country in its long history.
"....India is the most tolerant country in the world, one can take it for granted. People discuss secularism, secularism is safe, not because of this government or that government, this party or that party, secularism is in the blood and veins of every individual, this has to be understood by one and all. In India anybody can reach the top posts of the nation, he said. "Show me any other country where such equal opportunities are given for all sections. What are they, some people, are trying to teach us? See what is happening internally in those countries, the so called advanced rich nations, I don't want to name any."
There should be no place for violence, Naidu said adding that peace is the prerequisite for progress. Karnataka Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot, former Governor of Rajasthan Margaret Alva, who is also the alumni of the institution and Metropolitan Archbishop of Bengaluru Peter Machado were among those present times. The Vice President advised to take pride in one's own language, religion, but not to denigrate others.
"We are seeing here and there some people have the weakness of denigrating others and deriving vicarious satisfaction, it is not good. Every religion is great in its own way. What we have to focus is not religion, religion is personal way of worship, we should focus more on our culture and heritage, which are way of life," he said.
Noting that he feels happy talking about mother tongue, Naidu said the basic primary education must be in mother tongue, as it will be easy to understand, grasp and to communicate "Mother tongue (is like) mother. I'm happy that we are again back to roots. The primary basic education must be in mother tongue, afterword you can go to brother tongue or other tongue, I have no problem...mother tongue is like your eyesight, other languages are like spectacles, if you have eyesight, spectacles will work," he said.
Expressing happiness that the new education policy is giving importance to mother tongue, Naidu further said he was not against other languages. "Learn as many languages possible, but first learn the mother tongue. There is a wrong perception in the minds of the people that unless you have English education, you cannot go up, it is not true, learning English is an additional strength," he said, as he pointed out that the President, Vice President and the PM of India studied in village school and did not get convent education.
Calling on the students to encourage, learn, propagate and feel proud of mother tongue, he said, "but don't denigrate or neglect other languages." Stressing upon women's education, the VP said 50 per cent of the population are women, they should be given equal respect, equal place and opportunity, and provide them empowerment.
Highlighting the importance of character, caliber, capacity and conduct, he said, "unfortunately in the present trend, here and there some people replace these 4Cs by other 4Cs- cast, community, cash and criminality, it may give only temporary gains." Observing that he has been in the thick of public life all these years and amid the boundaries of protocol which he has to abide by being the Vice President, Naidu who is at the verge of ending his term said, "I'm going to retire on August 11, country is going get freedom (celebrating) August 15, I'm getting before that."
(With PTI Inputs)