In our English driven world, our mother tongue is often relegated as only a “second language”, not of any consequence. As a result, while many of us can speak Telugu, we can’t read or write it, something which worries academicians.
Our Tollywood stars are no different. Actors like Mahesh Babu and Venkatesh, who grew up in Chennai, do not know how to read and write in Telugu and prefer the dialogues to be written in a language they are comfortable in. On International Mother Language Day on February 21, we find out how much importance do celebs give to their mother tongue.
“People usually make it a point to speak in English, probably to sound stylish and posh. But one shouldn’t be ashamed of speaking in his or her native language. The more languages you speak, the better, but do not give your mother tongue a miss. When I have kids, I will make it a point that they learn Telugu,” says actor Nikhil Siddhartha, who can read, write and speak in Telugu.
Lakshmi Manchu also feels that it is important to know one’s mother tongue. “My father, back then, was very particular about me learning Telugu, but I could not retain the words. Though I know how to speak in Telugu, I can’t read and write,” says Lakshmi, adding,” I am definitely going to teach Telugu to my daughter Vidya Nirvana, so she knows where she is from. And I will also make sure that she learns Tamil as well (as her dad Andy is from Chennai).”
As Prof. Tummala Ramakrishna from the Department of Telugu, University of Hyderabad, points out, “Children should be taught in their native language during their primary school levels (till Class IV) so that they know the language and can pass it on to the next generation, so the authenticity of the language is not lost. In developed countries, people study in their native language, and learn other languages if it interests them.
But in India, English is taught from the primary level, for academic excellence and a sound career. There is no point just learning how to speak, one must also know how to read and write in their native-language.”