Indian leaders conversing with foreign dignitaries have generally spoken in English and also addressed international gatherings in English, the country’s official language ever since its independence from British colonial rule in 1947.
But Prime Minister Narendra Modi has broken the custom and is increasingly resorting to Hindi, the national language and one that is spoken by the majority of the population in this polyglot nation, during talks with foreign leaders and in his official addresses.
In his maiden foreign trip after assuming office in New Delhi less than a month back, Mr. Modi spoke all through in Hindi. Mr. Modi gave two public speeches during his two-day official visit to this quaint nation that takes a lot of pride in its culture, language and way of life.
On Sunday, he spoke at the banquet hosted by Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay. An address to the joint session of Parliament followed on Monday.
On both the occasions, Mr. Modi — just like he did during his election rallies — spoke extempore, with some talking points and the drafted speech which he did not consult kept on the table or lectern before him.
Both the speeches, which the Bhutanese leaders heard through interpreters, were well received.
In fact, veering away from their age-old custom of not clapping in congratulatory gestures, the gathering at the National Assembly — the lower house of Parliament which was the stage for Mr. Modi’s address on Monday — broke into spontaneous applause after Mr. Modi’s rousing speech.