Hindi Divas is celebrated on 14 September because on this day in 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India had adopted Hindi written in Devanagari script as the official language of the Republic of India. Later, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru announced this day to be celebrated as Hindi Divas in the country. First Hindi Divas was celebrated on 14th September 1953.
The Indian Cultural Centre, Indian Consulate Sydney hosted Hindi Divas, on September 16th this year. Rekha Rajvanshi of ILASA Inc. organized the program, which had three sessions- first session was- Welcome and Keynote speaker Dr Gaytri Singh’s speech, second session was about Hindi Teaching in Australia and challenges and the third session was about Hindi Literature in Australia.
The Program started with a welcome note by Rekha Rajvanshi of ILASA, she also recited a beautiful poem on Hindi. Mr S K Verma from the Indian Consulate welcomed all. He spoke about the importance of Hindi and also informed community about Indian Consulate planning to resume Hindi classes. He said a qualified Hindi teacher will be appointed by the government of India to run these classes and course will be designed properly with the provision of a certificate at the completion.
Gunjan Tripathi of Hindi Samaj recited Saraswati Vandana. Dr Harry Harinath, Chair of Multicultural NSW, said- ‘I completed Madhyama in Hindi at school in Southern India. I believe demand for Hindi will grow as the trade figures between Australia and India increase, in the meantime we need to keep on working hard to promote Hindi.’
MP Strathfield, Jodi McKay spoke about the importance of learning languages other than English. She commented, ‘In July this year we celebrated NAIDOC week and the theme this year was ‘Language Matters’, I went to Homebush West which has a big multicultural community, where all the languages resonated including Hindi. If Labor comes in power in 2019 (I am sure of that), we will make sure that Hindi is taught in NSW schools and community schools.’
MC David Townsend invited keynote speaker Dr Gaytri Singh, who is a well-acclaimed Hindi academic from India with over 35 years of experience in teaching and research of Hindi language and currently serves as the Principal of Armapore Post Graduate College in the Kanpur University. Dr Singh has published books, research papers, articles and presented at various conferences, seminar and symposium in India and overseas. Dr Singh spoke about the status of Hindi in India. She also mentioned English scholars, who studied Hindi, and found that Hindi is highly phonetic, the pronunciation of new words can be reliably predicted from their written form.
With growing demand of Hindi, Hindi Divas celebrations have grown too. Hindi poet, teacher and organizer of Hindi Divas, Rekha Rajvanshi said, “I moved here in December 2001 and started teaching Hindi at IABBV Hindi School. I proposed Hindi Divas celebration to Shubha Kumar, President India Club and we organized Hindi Divas Kavi Sammelan in 2008 and in 2010 with other organizations. In 2011, Hindi Mela concept was discussed with Neena Badhwar and Mala Mehta and Tara Chandra ji, and we started celebrating it annually. ‘Indian Literary and Art Society of Australia Inc’ (my organization) along with ‘Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan’ with the support of Indian Consulate Sydney organized poetry competition for youth at the NSW Parliament House in 2015, A National level Hindi Conference at the University of Sydney last year, and Hindi Samaroh this year at the Indian Consulate’s Cultural Centre.’
The program ended with tea and snacks provided by the consulate. Hindi Divas was food for thought and Hindi lovers enjoyed this thought provoking celebration of Hindi.