Union Minister of Home Affairs Shri Amit Shah graced the Hindi Divas Samaroh 2019 as Chief Guest today at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. Also present on the dais were Ministers of State for Home Affairs Shri Nityanand Rai and Shri G Kishan Reddy, as well as Secretary and Joint Secretary, Department of Official Language.
Shri Shah said that while unity in diversity is India’s defining trait, a common language is needed as a culturally unifying factor. Shri Shah remarked that even Gandhi ji and Sardar Patel, who forged a united India, appealed to people to accept Hindi as the national language. Shri Shah lauded the work done by the Department of Official Language in popularizing Hindi, and appealed to citizens to work towards making Hindi the most widely used language in the world. Shri Shah also emphasized Hindi as a factor that unites India.
Shri Shah appealed to all to get connected with Hindi. He noted the unanimous consensus for Hindi as 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 on the linguistic richness of India, he said that the nation was home to 122 languages and more than 19500 dialects.
Shri Shah said that a country that forgets its language kills its cultural existence. Language connects us to the roots of the nation. Addressing the youth of India, Shri Shah called for introspection and said that if we lose our language, we will be cut off from our culture. He 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.
Shri Shah said that we must leave the inferiority complex towards Hindi and our other languages that has set in due to colonial hangover. He called for greater use of the national language in all aspects of life. He said that only when we understand the importance of Hindi, can it thrive and prosper. He said that 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.
Shri Shah said that while diversity in languages is the strength of our nation, a national language needed so that foreign languages and cultures do not overpower our own. He proclaimed that next year, the Hindi Divas Samaroh would be a public program, as Hindi belongs to the people. He said that the Government would take Hindi Divas outside Delhi, and would celebrate a Hindi Saptah across the country. He called Hindi the heart and soul of the freedom struggle.
Shri Shah noted Vinoba Bhave’s love for Hindi and Gandhi ji’s assertion that a nation is mute without its national language. He said that our power to express our culture will die in the absence of our national language. Quoting Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya, Shri Shah said that without Hindi, democracy is not possible in India. The language of the state should be that which people can understand. He remembered Purushottamdas Tandon, who proclaimed national language to be the lifeblood of a nation.
Shri Shah remembered former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the first Minister of External Affairs to give a speech in Hindi at the United Nations in 1977. He hailed this as a seminal step to break the inferiority complex of Indians with respect to Hindi. He also hailed former 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 the Prime Minister’s commitment to Hindi, he noted that wherever the Prime Minister addressed expatriates, he spoke in Hindi. Shri 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.
Shri Shah called upon institutions and individuals to be committed to the growth and use of Hindi. He spoke of the need to proliferate Hindi in technical fields like medicine, engineering and law. He expressed confidence that Hindi would have reached ever greater heights by 2024 elections. 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.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State Shri G Kishan Reddy said that while Telugu was his mother tongue, he had equal love for Hindi. He said that a mother tongue and national language must go together. He noted that the Constituent Assembly accepted Hindi as a national language, as it had been the unifying thread between cultures, religions and regions during the freedom struggle. He called Hindi a source of self-pride for the country. He noted the famous Tamil poet Subramania Bharathi’s love for Hindi. He added that Hindi is India’s greatest social and cultural heritage and is emerging as a powerful cultural capital of India. He remarked that even multinational firms were accepting Hindi as a functional language. He noted the growing popularity of Hindi with India’s films, and said that the growth of Hindi on the global stage adds to India’s soft power. He advocated a greater use of IT for the development and popularization of Hindi.
Minister of State Shri Nityanand Rai said that languages are the souls of societies and nations. People express themselves in their languages. He added that Hindi consists of our emotions and aspirations, and acts as a connecting language for the whole of India. He called Hindi the symbol of India’s democratic system and said that our nation’s identity depends on the strength and popularity of our national language. He noted that the Constitution has given us the responsibility of the growth and development of Hindi and called for greater use of Hindi in the official work of Union Government and that of various regional languages in the official work of State Governments. He said that Antyodaya is our goal, and Hindi plays a vital role in achieving that goal, as it is the commonest language of communication across the nation.
Shri Shah launched the E-Saral Hindi Vakya Kosh and E-Maha Shabda Kosh Mobile App, both initiatives of the Department of Official Language that aim to harness information technology for the growth of Hindi. He awarded Rajbhasha Gaurav Puraskar and Rajbhasha Kirti Puraskar to government departments and public sector units respectively for their contribution to Hindi.