Union Minister Amit Shah on Saturday graced the Hindi Divas Samaroh as Chief Guest at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. Also present on the dais were Ministers of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai and G Kishan Reddy, as well as Secretary and Joint Secretary, Department of Official Language.
Shah said that while unity in diversity is India’s defining trait, a common language is needed as a culturally unifying factor. Shah remarked that even Gandhi and Sardar Patel, who forged a united India, appealed to people to accept Hindi as the national language. 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. Shah also emphasized Hindi as a factor that unites India.
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.
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, he 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.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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.