Modi to address UN General Assembly in Hindi: Rajnath Singh

Updated - April 20, 2016 05:55 am IST

Published - September 14, 2014 01:42 pm IST - New Delhi

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address UN General Assembly in Hindi. File Photo

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address UN General Assembly in Hindi. File Photo

Home Minister Rajnath Singh told a gathering at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Sunday that PM Narendra Modi would address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in Hindi. The PM is scheduled to address the UNGA in New York on September 27.

Speaking at a ‘Hindi Day’ event, Mr. Singh said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver his speech in United Nations in Hindi.” Sanskrit is the mother of all Indian languages while Hindi and other regional languages are sisters, he added.

In his interactions with world leaders in India and during visits to Japan and Brazil, PM Modi has stuck to Hindi. However, he has occasionally used English sentences. This has found support from the BJP and the government’s twitter handles have started tweeting in Hindi.

In 2010, then member of the Indian delegation and an MP Rajnath Singh spoke on ‘Measures to eliminate international terrorism’ in Hindi at the UNGA. “I would like to deliver my statement in Hindi as Hindi is our national language,” he had stated.

Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the first person to speak in Hindi at the United Nations General Assembly. Vajpayee addressed the 18th plenary meeting at the 32nd session of the UN General Assembly in Hindi on October 4, 1977. At the time, he was Foreign Minister in the Janata Party government.

In his speech he described the defeat of the Indira Gandhi led Congress in March, which brought an end to the internal emergency, as “a historic non‐violent revolution.” He said, “Calculated efforts by forces of darkness and tyranny to destroy democracy were decisively defeated.”

Vajpayee spoke for economic cooperation and nuclear disarmament. “We are told that nuclear weapons are necessary as a deterrent against war and that it is only the assurance of their use that constitutes the core of deterrence. We do not accept that thesis,” he said. India had tested a nuclear device in 1974, and did so again in 1998 under Vajpayee’s premiership.

Vajpayee spoke at the UNGA's Millenium Summit in 2000, also in Hindi. He concluded his speech, in which he renewed the call to disarm, with a Sanskrit shloka.

Then Foreign Minister PV Narasimha Rao also addressed the UNGA in Hindi in 1988. Interestingly, the mother tongues of both Modi and Rao are not Hindi. Rao, who could speak 17 languages, went on to become PM.

In 2012, Samajwadi Party MP Dharmendra Yadav,-- who was part of the Indian delegation-- spoke in Hindi to the UNGA.

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