Announcing that ‘Hindi Diwas’ will be celebrated publicly from 2020, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said that Hindi would achieve new heights by the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
Shah appealed to citizens to get connected with the language and work towards making it the most widely used in the world. He also appealed to people to at least talk to their children in Hindi, saying any language will remain lively till the people speak it with pride.
He also informed how the number of official files put in front of him in Hindi has increased from 20 to 60 per cent since he took charge as Home Minister in May after the Lok Sabha polls.
“This Hindi Diwas came just after I took charge as Home Minister. I assure that Hindi would have achieved new heights when we contest the next Lok Sabha election in 2024. The Hindi Divas Samaroh would be a public programme from next year, as Hindi belongs to the people. The government would take Hindi Diwas outside Delhi and would celebrate a ‘Hindi Saptah’ across the country,” Shah said on the occasion of Hindi Diwas.
The minister, however, clarified that other languages of the country would not be suppressed for the growth of Hindi.
“Hindi has always moved forward with everybody’s support and it would grow following a similar route. We would try to make it first with everybody’s acceptance and with honouring each language.”
Shah said it would be the responsibility of the Department of Official Languages under the Home Ministry to let Hindi language reach every sector.
He said people in northeastern states take tutions to learn Hindi, adding that the Centre would further facilitate them to learn the language.
Remarking that even Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who forged a united India, appealed to people to accept Hindi as the national language, Shah emphasised Hindi as a factor that unites India.
Shah noted the unanimous consensus for Hindi as the national language in the Constituent Assembly, in spite of the Assembly’s sheer diversity. He said that this decision was an important factor in ensuring cultural unity of India.
Noting the linguistic richness of India, Shah said that the nation was home to 122 languages and more than 19,500 dialects.
“The country that forgets its language kills its cultural existence. Language connects us to the roots of the nation.”
Addressing the youth of India, Shah called for introspection and said that if we lose our language, we will be cut off from our culture and asserted that the richest languages of the world belong to India.
The depth of Indian languages is unparalleled because of the equally unparalleled depth of Indian culture, he said.
He called for discarding the inferiority complex towards Hindi and other languages that has set in due to the colonial hangover.
Shah called for greater use of the national language in all aspects of life. “Only when we understand the importance of Hindi, can it thrive and prosper. We must be proud of our language.”
Noting the role played by teachers in the growth of languages, he said that teachers and educators must instil a sense of pride about Hindi in students.
Shah said that while diversity in languages is the strength of our nation, a national language was needed so that foreign languages and cultures do not overpower our own.
Calling Hindi the heart and soul of the freedom struggle, Shah noted social reformer Vinoba Bhave’s love for Hindi and Mahatma Gandhi’s assertion that a nation is mute without its national language. “Our power to express our culture will die in the absence of our national language.”
Shah remembered former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the first Minister of External Affairs to give a speech in Hindi at the United Nations in 1977 and hailed this as a seminal step to break the inferiority complex of Indians with respect to Hindi.
He also hailed late Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj’s contribution to the global growth of Hindi, who encouraged the UN to use more Hindi, including on social media. “This eventually led to the Hindi Twitter account of the UN.”
Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to Hindi, the Home Minister noted that wherever he addressed expatriates, he spoke in Hindi.
Shah noted that the Prime Minister addressed even the UN General Assembly and the World Economic Forum in Davos in Hindi, making him the first head of government to address WEF in a national language other than English.
The minister called upon institutions and individuals to be committed to the growth and use of Hindi, and spoke of the need to proliferate Hindi in technical fields like medicine, engineering and law.
He expressed confidence that Hindi would have reached greater heights by the 2024 election. He asserted that the growth of Hindi will never be at the cost of any other language and added that Hindi is the language of coexistence.
On the occasion, Shah also inaugurated ‘E-Saral Hindi Vakya Kosh’ and ‘E-Maha Shabda Kosh Mobile App’, both initiatives of the department of official languages that aim to harness information technology for the growth of Hindi.
He also awarded Rajbhasha Gaurav Puraskar and Rajbhasha Kirti Puraskar to government departments and public sector units for their contribution to Hindi.