New York, 1,000 delegates and dignitaries and the presence of the prestigious United Nations…no, this was not an international forum to discuss world problems or a platform to give away big awards, but the commencement of the 3-day 8th World Hindi Conference which was held at the UN headquarters on the 13th of July.
Hindi, the official language of multi-lingual India, is the second most spoken language after Chinese. The External Affairs Ministry of India, the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and other Indo-American organizations are trying to pave the way for Hindi to be declared as an international language. Minister of State for External Affairs, Anand Sharma said that if Hindi has to be accepted worldwide, it needs to be simple enough for the common man to relate to. Only then can the world truly appreciate the contributions of Hindi writers in literature and academics. The conference discussed issues such as the progress and influence of Hindi on the modern world, Hindi at the teaching level in foreign countries as well as the use of the language in Information Technology.
Courses in Hindi
It is heartening to observe the increasing number of foreign students taking up correspondence courses to learn Hindi. From a meager statistic in the 60s, the numbers have risen above 300, a majority of them being from Fiji and Mauritius. According to these students, Hindi is a very easy language to learn and they are thrilled to be able to speak fluently only after a month of learning.
Bollywood and Hindi
We are already aware of the growing popularity of Bollywood and its stars overseas. Switzerland and the countries of the Gulf-Arab region are the latest entrants into the long list of Bollywood fans. Though people here may not necessarily understand Hindi, they are in love with the music, dance and opulence of these movies. These movies are even being used by researchers and film scholars for analysis. 24-hour FM Hindi radio stations have sprouted, further proving the popularity of the language.
With the growing influence of Hindi, the increasing popularity of Bollywood and the sheer richness of Indian culture across the globe, Hindi will soon overtake Chinese as the most spoken language in the world. Do you think that someday in the far future it might even break records and give English, the most global language of them all, a run for its money? Is Hindi the new French?