NEW DELHI: 'Amma' or 'Ammi' comes from the heart while 'Mommy' comes from the lips, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said today, as he urged people to communicate in their mother tongue.
Naidu, while addressing an event to commemorate the birth centenary of music legend M S Subbulakshmi, asked people not to forget their own language but said it was fine to talk in English when speaking to a foreigner.
"Subbulakshmiji used to be called as MS Amma (mother). We have now weakness for English language. We now use mommy and or daddy... But, 'amma', such a beautiful language (sic), for a mother, comes from the heart or 'ammi' in Urdu comes from the heart, while mommy comes from the lips. So, Hindi, Sanskrit or Urdu or Telugu, we should always speak in our mother's tongue," Naidu said.
A Tamilian can speak to a fellow Tamilian in Tamil and a Telugu-speaking person can also communicate with another Telugu-speaking person in their mother tongue, he said.
Incidentally, Naidu, who served as a Union minister in the Modi Cabinet, before becoming the vice president, had earlier this year said it was important to learn 'Rashtra Bhasha' (national language) Hindi as most people in the country speak that language.
He had also stressed on the promotion of 'Matrubhasha' (mother tongue), and lamented that too much importance was given to English language in the country.
"I always tell people that one should never forget his or her mother, motherland, native place and mother tongue. Those who forget (these) cannot be called human beings, they are something else. So, always speak in your mother tongue.
Respect the language that has come from your mother's womb," he said at the event today.
"There is nothing wrong in speaking English, to Englishmen," he added.
Naidu exhorted Indians to always feel proud of their heritage.
"Whatever has been bequeathed to us from our ancestors since time immemorial, it should be our duty, our 'dharma' to preserve it," he said, adding one should be pround of one tradition and cultural heritage.
Describing India as the "best", Naidu, famous for his witty one liners, said Indian culture and heritage, the country's family system and it value system were immensely popular across the globe.
"Unfortunately, even in India, we are trying to look to the West. But, the West is looking to us, and we are looking to the West... But, we are the best," he said.
He, however, said there was nothing wrong about imbibing something that is good elsewhere.
"But we should not forget what is there in our land. See the respect we give to our land. We don't call it fatherland, we call it motherland. That's why in our country, most of the rivers are named after women also - Ganga, Yamuna, Cauvery, Narmada, Tapti and others," he said, extolling the pride of place women had in Indian society.
The vice president, who spoke after Union culture minister Mahesh Sharma at the function held at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), in a lighter vein, also said, "I do not belong to Mahesh Sharma's party. I now belong to the party of the Indian people."
The senior BJP leader, who held the portfolio of urban development in the Union Cabinet, was elected vice president in early August.
Naidu also recalled the contributions of Subbulakshmi or MS, as she was fondly known to music aficionados, and exhorted the young generation to draw inspiration form her life and unparallelled achievements.
"She captivated the hearts of millions through the magical power of music, from Mahatma Gandhi to the common man," he said.