Hindi was made the official language in the country in 1949 and there have been several efforts to promote it since. On Hindi Diwas, here are some interesting facts about the language, including its spread outside Indi
Every year, September 14 is celebrated as Hindi Diwas. Image for representational purpose only. Photo: istock
Language forms the very essence of any kind of communication. For a country like India, its rich diversity translates into many different languages and cultures which have their own unique identity and that is why India does not have a national language. However, Hindi is used as one of the two official languages (English being the other one) for the purpose of communication by the government of India in the Parliament.
Every year, September 14 is celebrated as Hindi Diwas to celebrate the language on the birth anniversary of Beohar Rajendra Simha, an Indian scholar and proponent of the Hindi language. Interestingly, the language which uses the Devanagari script has quite a history in the country.
Here are some key facts about the days, the language and where it stands today:
History of Hindi Diwas
India adopted Hindi as the official language on September 14, 1949 because it coincides with the 50th birthday of Simha. He, along with the likes of Hindi poet Maithili Sharan Gupt, social reformer Kaka Kalelkar, Hindi novelist Hazari Prasad Dwivedi and Indian independence activist Seth Govind Das was known to promote the language for its widespread use within the country.
Mahatma Gandhi and the Hindi language
While Hindi is predominantly known to be spoken only in parts of India, there is an active effort to encourage people in non-Hindi speaking states to learn the language. In southern India, the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, which has its headquarters in Chennai, is known to promote the language through various mediums.
Interestingly, Mahatma Gandhi who was the founder president of the sabha, started the movement in 1918 as a means to unite north and south India with Hindi, as many people spoke the language. The sabha is also recognised as one of the Institutes of National Importance (INI) in India.
Hindi around the world
Not many people know this but different kinds of Hindi are spoken around the world and the language even holds an official status in some other countries. These include the island of Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago, Mauritius, Guyana, Singapore, Suriname and India’s neighbour Nepal. The language travelled to these countries because of colonisation, which took many Indian Hindi-speaking natives to work in these places.
World language ranking
Hindi is the third most spoken language in the world with as many as 600 million speakers after Mandarin and English. It is followed by Spanish and Arabic.
Resistance to the language in south India
The efforts to spread the Hindi language in south India have been met with resistance, starting from the late 1930s with Indian social activist EV Ramasamy, popularly known as Periyar. Dissent intensified after attempts were made to make it the sole official language. After several protests, riots and movements, the Official Languages Act of 1963 was amended in 1967 to guarantee the use of two official languages in Hindi and English by the government.
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