India is working to ensure the “rightful place” for Hindi at the United Nations, a senior official of the Ministry of External Affairs said on Saturday.
Announcing the 12th World Hindi Conference to be held in Fiji from February 15 to 17, Saurabh Kumar, Secretary (East) of the Ministry of External Affairs, said the efforts of the Government of India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on promoting Hindi had enhanced the stature of the language across the world.
“We have achieved limited progress at the United Nations regarding Hindi. The UN has made a provision to provide all the important messages and press releases in Hindi. This provision has been made also for Bangla and Urdu. We will make efforts to ensure a rightful place for Hindi at the UN,” said Mr. Kumar, elaborating on the role of Hindi in India’s outreach to the world, especially in places that received Indian indentured labourers during the 19th century.
Mr. Kumar said the upcoming World Hindi Conference in Fiji would provide an opportunity for India to highlight the links between India and the Pacific Ocean region where Hindi-speaking people from the Gangetic belt and from other parts of India were taken during the 19th century. A delegation of 270 academics, experts and Hindi writers would be flown to Fiji to participate in the conference.
“140 years ago, thousands of Indians were taken to Fiji during the colonial period as labourers and today their descendants residing in Fiji are proud of their Indian heritage and language,” said Mr. Kumar.
The World Hindi Conference was started to promote the language across the world and the first such event was held in 1975 in Nagpur. “This year’s World Hindi Conference is our humble tribute to those forefathers,” said Mr. Kumar.
The conference will be inaugurated by Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka and India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. The gathering will be addressed by Deputy Prime Minister of Fiji Biman Prasad who was recently on a visit to India. Mr. Prasad described the World Hindi Conference as “historic and appropriate”.
“Fiji is probably the only country outside India that has Hindi as an official language. Hindi is being taught from primary to secondary schools and offered as a language of study in university. The new coalition government has just announced that Hindi along with English and our indigenous language will also be spoken in Parliament,” said Mr. Prasad.