PORT LOUIS: It is crucial to protect, propagate and conserve Hindi in its pure form as language and culture are interconnected, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said at the 11th World Hindi Conference which began here today by paying tribute to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The three-day conference, aimed at expanding the reach of the Hindi language at a global level, started by observing a two-minute silence to pay tribute to Vajpayee, who died in New Delhi on Thursday at the age of 93 after a prolonged illness.
In her opening statement, Swaraj said with this convention, Hindi representatives from across the globe are paying tributes to Vajpayee, who was an exponent of Hindi and established the language at the international level by addressing the UN for the first time in Hindi.
Emphasising on the protection of India’s culture and Hindi, Swaraj said India has taken the responsibility to protect the language in other countries.
She said the BJP-led government is making efforts to make Hindi one of the official languages of the United Nations.
A Hindi weekly news bulletin from the platform of the UN has started broadcast as part of a pilot project, she said.
All Hindi-speaking people from across the world can listen to the news broadcast from the UN, she said.
“This weekly bulletin could be converted into a daily bulletin. For that the world body will oversee the response of listeners and rate accordingly for two years. If the response will be good, then it will be converted into a daily news bulletin,” she said.
Swaraj said a UN twitter account in Hindi has also been started to give Hindi speaking public access to the programmes and news related to the UN.
“India has made it clear that it is ready to bear all expenses to make Hindi one of the official languages of the UN, but its rules for acquiring such a status prevents the country from doing so,” she said.
Underlining that language and culture are interconnected, she said obsolescence of a language is also followed by that of culture so it is necessary to protect, propagate and conserve the language in its pure form.
She said that unlike the previous world Hindi conventions where the emphasis was on language and literature, this time, culture has also become an important part of it.
The minister said that several countries have raised concerns regarding the protection and promotion of Hindi language.
In such scenario, it is the responsibility of India to prevent the language from becoming obsolete in these countries.
The World Hindi Conference is organised every three years and in the past it has been organised thrice in India, twice in Mauritius, and one time each in Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, the UK, the US and South Africa.
This year the symbol of the world Hindi conference is “a peacock and a dodo”.
Dodo symbolises the gradual obsolescence of Hindi and the Indian peacock will come to save the dodo.
On the occasion, Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth issued two new postage stamps — one has the image of the national flags of India and Mauritius while the other has the image of national birds, peacock and dodo.
The prime minister also announced to name the cyber tower in Mauritius made with the Indian assistance as “Atal Bihari Vajpayee tower”.
Goa Governor Mridula Sinha and West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi also took part in the inaugural session.
During the conference, delegates from India and various countries will deliberate on eight subtopics on ‘Hindi World and Indian Culture’. (AGENCIES)