It was interesting to hear former Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu hold forth on the language issue. Unencumbered by any office, he spoke freely on Hindi imposition which is a pet project of the RSS and Modi Government. Naidu handled the sensitive subject in his own inimitable style. Addressing a News Broadcasters Federation, he said “‘We are a federal country, we have different states, but we are one nation. My preference is always for my mother tongue, then brother tongue and then any other tongue.” Recalling how as Rajya Sabha Chairman he had ensured all members could speak in their mother tongue. Describing mother tongue as eyesight, Naidu described English as spectacles. “Without eyesight, there is no use for the most expensive pair of glasses.” It was politically significant that Naidu called on people to “try and learn one language that is spoken by a large number of people — be it Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali or Marathi”. By this, he meant those from Hindi-speaking areas should also pick up an Indian language. “There should be no imposition of any language and also no language should be opposed. We should also not oppose English,” he said. Known for his quips as Rajya Sabha Chairman, Naidu made it clear he may have retired on August 11, but isn’t tired. And would continue to interact with people.