India is a country with incredible linguistic diversity, with more than 1700 languages and dialects spoken across its regions. However, while each of these languages is unique and important, it is also true that some languages have gained more prominence than others both nationally and internationally. Hindi, for example, is one such language that has become increasingly prominent in recent years.
While it is true that Hindi does not represent all of India, it is more widely spoken globally than any other Indian language, with over 600 million speakers worldwide, according to Ethnologue. As India's economy continues to grow and become more prominent on the global stage, it is important to consider the role that Hindi could play in representing the country internationally.
The Indian government has been promoting Hindi globally through various initiatives and programs. The government has established Hindi language departments and chairs in universities around the world to promote the language and facilitate research in Hindi literature and culture. Further, the MEA has launched an initiative of creating “Bharat – Ek Parichay – Sharing Knowledge With The World” corner at libraries of prestigious universities / educational institutions abroad to introduce Hindi and Indian culture to foreign students.
The government has also been promoting Hindi through cultural exchanges, festivals, and events, such as the World Hindi Conference and the International Hindi Day. These efforts are aimed at enhancing the global reach and importance of Hindi, facilitating international communication, and promoting Indian culture and heritage.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India is committed to enhancing the capacity of institutions that promote the Hindi language on the global stage. To achieve this, one of the measures is to establish a language laboratory that will enable teachers to receive training.
Promoting Hindi could also help India achieve greater recognition and influence in international forums. However, it is important to acknowledge that promoting Hindi as the face of India does not mean disregarding or downplaying the importance of other Indian languages. It is understandable that some people may feel that the promotion of Hindi comes at the expense of their local language and culture.
Seema Guha, Foreign Editor of Outlook Magazine, holds a contrarian view that India's successive governments have spent a lot of time, money, and effort to promote the Hindi language both at the United Nations and across the world through its missions abroad, but the attempt has been lacklustre and unimaginative.
The Hindi Section in the Office of the Registrar General of India states here that "All officers/employees in the Office of the Registrar General of India are encouraged to do their work originally in Hindi."
India is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world, with over 700 languages and thousands of dialects, and multilingualism remains at the heart of the country despite efforts to promote Hindi. India's linguistic diversity is one of its strengths, and the government should continue to promote and support the use of regional languages across the country. However, promoting Hindi as an official language for the nation may be pragmatic. The vocabulary of Hindi is updated often by the government, compared to many other Indian languages but the efforts need to be more concerted and efficient.
I believe that other regional languages are also going to gain importance and be promoted by the new National Education Policy, and the recognition of Hindi as an official Indian language internationally does not pose a threat to other languages of India. The government should continue to invest in the promotion and development of regional languages and cultures, while also recognizing the importance of Hindi in representing India on the global stage. Ultimately, it is possible to strike a balance between promoting Hindi and celebrating India's rich linguistic and cultural diversity.
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Hindi will continue to be an important language in schools in most parts of India. If you're interested in teaching Hindi to your preschooler, we have several articles that offer helpful tips and tricks to get them started on the right path. Check out our collection of Hindi learning tips for preschoolers, where you'll find valuable insights to make learning Hindi easy and enjoyable for your little one.
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