Respecting and recognising the mother tongue and promoting it is vital for the survival of any civilisation, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu has said. Addressing the valedictory function of the 39th World Congress of Poets (WCP) here on Sunday, Mr. Naidu said, “the colonial rulers always try to attack the culture by destroying the local language and we should not fall prey to that.” “Every nation must encourage their children to study primarily in the mother tongue, as I always say the mother tongue is your eyesight and the other language is your spectacle. If you have eyesight, then spectacle will give better sight. If you don’t have eyesight and if you wear glasses, nothing will be visible. Promote, propagate and write in mother tongue first, then go to other languages. All other languages are important. You should respect, learn and understand your mother language,” he said.Stating that promotion of literature was also an “impactful method” to preserve and promote language, the Vice-President pointed out the best way to do so was to use it extensively in everybody’s life. “That is why, wherever I go, I suggest to people to promote, practise and feel proud of their mother tongue. That’s why in the beginning itself I used certain Odia words,” he said.On the importance of poetry in life, he said, “what is needed is to encourage youngsters to take to poetry, literature, music, dance and other arts so that they can become an ideal citizen. I would also like to ask universities to encourage literature, arts and humanity education. We need poets, writers, artists and singers as much as we need doctors, engineers and scientists.” “Poetry should promote peace, motivate people to cultivate universal brotherhood, social harmony and tolerance, and poetry can serve as a powerful catalyst for transformation. I urge schools to make poetry reading and appreciation a compulsory part of curriculum,” Mr. Naidu said.