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India’s official language is honoured with Hindi Divas celebrations held at the Indian Consulate
Hindi, written using Devanagari script, is the second largest language in the world and is spoken by around 260 million people. On 14 September 1949, the Government of India adopted Hindi as the official language of the Republic of India. As each year passes, the Indian diaspora community continues to celebrate this occasion on Hindi Divas.
This year, under the leadership of Consul General of India in Melbourne Manika Jain, Dr Subhash Sharma hosted an event featuring many prominent speakers from Melbourne’s Indian community at the Indian Consulate.
The program began with the recital of Hindi Vandana by Nirmal Chawdhary, followed by a welcome speech from Manika Jain. In his address, Dr Dinesh Shrivastava stressed the importance of Hindi during the freedom struggle and its relevance in the modern era.
In 2011, Hindi – along with four other Asian languages – was added to the school curriculum in Victoria. In addition, the recent white paper by the Australian Government voiced support for the rise of further cultural synergy between India and Australia.
Frank Merlino, Principal of the Victorian School of Languages (VSL), and Colin Avery, Principal of Rangebank Primary School (the only primary school offering Hindi language lessons in the state), shared their views on the future of Hindi in Victoria. They praised the efforts of Pooja Verma who has been working to create Hindi learning materials for children who have begun learning Hindi as their third language. They also urged parents of the Indian community to support this initiative.
The Hindi Divas event was also an opportunity to distribute the prizes from the recently held Hindi Essay Writing competition. Mansi Agarwal and Vanessa Khurana from VSL Blackburn were awarded first and second prize, while Swarjyoti from VSL Glen Waverley received third prize. Grishma Pillai from VSL Brunswick received a consolation prize for her efforts.
The rendition of ‘Raghupati Raghav Rajaraam’ and ‘Lalaji ne Chilka khaya’ by students of Anushree Jain tugged at the hearts of all those present.
Nupur Goyal and Tushar Goyal shared their experiences about how learning Hindi while overseas has helped them bond with their kin back in India.
Harihar Jha’s Hindi poem highlighted how Hindi is a confluence of various dialects like Urdu, Braj and Awadhi. The mood then lightened and smiles spread once Arvind Gaindhar took to the stage.
The program also gave everyone an opportunity to listen to Dr Nalin Sharda speaking about how Hindi remains the language in which we think, though we may embrace various cultures an languages with open arms. Mr Arvind and Sunila Srivastava presented couplets from our rich cultural heritage written by celebrated poets Surdas and Tulsidas.
It was definitely an event to remember as we reconnected with our roots.