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World Hindi Day: Indian leaders who introduced the language to the world

The main objective of celebrating World Hindi Diwas is to promote Hindi as an international language and strengthen its global presence. It is also a platform to bring together Hindi-speaking communities from different countries and celebrate their cultural diversity.

Edited By: Arushi Jaiswal @JaiswalArushi New Delhi Updated on: January 11, 2024 14:21 IST
World Hindi Day is celebrated on January 10.
Image Source : PTI (FILE) World Hindi Day is celebrated on January 10.

World Hindi Day: World Hindi Day, also known as Vishwa Hindi Divas, is celebrated on January 10 every year. The day is observed to promote the Hindi language worldwide. It was first observed in 2006 by then-Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. While there isn't a specific individual or leader solely responsible for introducing the Hindi language to the world platform, several Indian leaders have played significant roles in promoting Hindi and representing India on the global stage. Hindi is one of the official languages of India, and its promotion has been a collective effort over the years. 

Here are some notable figures who have contributed to the promotion of Hindi at the international level:

Jawaharlal Nehru: As the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, played a significant role in promoting Hindi on the world stage. He used Hindi to communicate at various international forums during his tenure as Prime Minister. In 1949, Hindi was adopted as the official language of India. Nehru emphasized the importance of education in promoting Hindi. Efforts were made to establish Hindi departments in universities outside India, and scholarships were provided to foreign students to study Hindi.

Indira Gandhi: The first and only woman Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, also made efforts to promote Hindi on the world stage. During her official visits to other countries, Indira Gandhi occasionally used Hindi in her speeches and interactions. She supported the idea of Hindi as a national language and encouraged its use in government and education. In 1975, Indira Gandhi inaugurated the first World Hindi Conference, which brought together Hindi scholars, writers, and enthusiasts from around the world. These conferences aimed to promote the language and facilitate its growth on the global stage.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was known for his eloquence and powerful oratory skills in Hindi. He emphasized the importance of Hindi in various international forums, advocating for its recognition as one of the official languages of the United Nations. Vajpayee was the first Indian leader to deliver a speech in Hindi at the UN General Assembly. Vajpayee first addressed the UNGA’s 32nd session in 1977 as the foreign minister under the Janata Party government headed by then Prime Minister Morarji Desai. Vajpayee, who was proficient in English as well, played a pivotal role in elevating Hindi to the international stage by consistently delivering speeches in the language during his addresses at the United Nations. Apart from this, his speeches and poems reflected his deep love for the Hindi language and its rich cultural heritage. His government also took steps to encourage the use of Hindi in government offices, educational institutions, and public life.

Narendra Modi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government have made significant attempts to take Hindi, which is the official language of India, to the world stage while also giving it domestic encouragement. PM Modi, after being elected to office for the first time in 2014, addressed the United Nations General Assembly in September 2014, and 2015 in Hindi, marking a paradigm shift in the approach to speaking Hindi on a world platform like the UN. In 2019, PM Modi addressed the Climate Action Summit 2019 during the 74th session of UNGA in Hindi. In 2020 and 2021, he again addressed the UNGA in the native language, in yet another bid to establish Hindi on the world stage. In 2021, he chaired the UNSC high-level open debate on Enhancing Maritime Security in August and addressed in Hindi. India hosted the G20 Summit in New Delhi last year in which several world leaders participated including US President Joe Biden. PM Modi addressed the opening ceremony in Hindi. 

Sushma Swaraj, the External Affairs Minister, actively promoted the use and recognition of Hindi on the world stage. Swaraj, who used to have engaging conversations in both Hindi and English with equal proficiency, consistently opts for Hindi in her speeches and diplomatic engagements, representing India's foreign policy. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the then External Affairs Minister of India Sushma Swaraj addressed the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi. She had attacked Pakistan over the issue of terrorism saying India is engaged in fighting poverty but its neighbour Pakistan seems engaged in fighting with New Delhi. She emphasized the importance of Hindi as one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and expressed the need for its greater recognition in global diplomacy. Sushma Swaraj was known for her effective use of social media to engage with people and address their concerns. She often used Twitter to communicate with the public and also utilized Hindi in her tweets. It's worth noting that the promotion of Hindi on the world stage has been a consistent goal for various Indian leaders, and Sushma Swaraj played a role in advancing this agenda during her tenure as the Minister of External Affairs.

While these leaders played significant roles in promoting Hindi, it's important to note that Hindi has deep historical roots and has been an integral part of Indian culture and identity for centuries. Apart from leaders, many prominent Hindi writers and poets such as Munshi Premchand, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, and others have contributed significantly to the popularity and recognition of Hindi literature, which indirectly helps promote the language globally.

Also Read: World Hindi Day: A look at PM Modi’s push for promoting the language across globe, India

 

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