Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday urged Indians to speak in their mother tongue more than in English, in an effort to promote Indian culture instead of looking towards the west, PTI reported.

“I always tell people one should never forget his or her mother, motherland, native place and mother tongue,” Naidu said at an event to commemorate the birth centenary of Carnatic musician MS Subbulakshmi. “Those who forget cannot be called human beings.” However, he added, it was acceptable to speak in English with a foreigner.

After releasing a Rs 100 commemorative coin in memory of Subbulakshmi, he said, “Why should a Tamilian speak to another Tamilian in English? Both know Tamil. They can talk to each other in their mother tongue,” according to IANS. Subbulakshmi used to be called MS Amma [mother]. But, we now have a weakness towards the English language, and use the word mummy, he said. “Amma comes from the heart, and Mummy comes from the lips. In Urdu, it is Ammi”.

In June, when he was the information and broadcasting minister, Naidu was criticised by several leaders for referring to Hindi as the national language of the country. He had said that it was important to learn the “rashtra bhasha” Hindi, and stressed on the promotion of the “matru bhasha” or mother tongue. Then too, he had said English was given too much importance.