Hindi continues to acquire international respect as the Indian diaspora spreads its citizenship across the globe at a monumental pace. More so, India has now become a world power in all aspects of sociology, politics, economics and international relations.
In this new environment, the teaching and practice of Hindi, must also be given an international outlook as India has taken international and meditative role in the whole gamut of international relations, international politics, and its active participation in some of the major multilateral agencies, all of which are aimed at creating a new aura of peace, progress, prosperity, and also in areas of, climate control and the environment.
I humbly suggest that as India walks with greater respect and adulation on the world scene, there is an urgent demand that Hindi be enlisted as one of the major languages of conversations. It is, therefore incumbent on Prime Minister Narendra Modi who now lays claim as one the foremost statesmen, both in Indian politics and international relations that he uses his influence and mesmerism to insert that Hindi becomes as one of the principal languages in both oral and written pieces of communication and conversations in all contributions at all the international bodies.
Just as Prime Minister Modi was able to convince the United Nations, some years ago to declare International Yoga Day, in similar fashion he should promote this idea, thus giving Hindi its rightful place in the international arena.
In 1934 Lord Macaulay, one of the most famous names in English history, wrote one of the infamous documents in the history of cultural imperialism, in his” Minute on Indian Education”.
Lord Macaulay writes as follows: “I have no knowledge of either Sanskrit or Arabic. But I have done what I could to form a correct estimate of their values. I have read translations of the most celebrated Arabic and Sanskrit works. I am quite ready to take the Oriental learning. I have never found one of them who could deny that a single half shelf of a good European library was worth the whole literature of India and Arabia…when we pass from the works of imagination to works recorded and general principles investigation the superiority of the European becomes absolutely immeasurably. It is, I believe, no exaggeration to say that all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in the Sanskrit is less valuable than what they may be found in the most paltry abridgments used at preparatory schools in England.”
Look how Lord Macaulay distorted the Sanskrit language in 1934. In today’s world of mass communication and IT, it must be incumbent that India prepares itself to mount a new campaign to ensure Hindi as a preferred mode of communication. And this must be done sooner than later, as with the influence of technology, a new language could appear thus relegating all languages to the dustbin. Hindi remains an immortal piece of communication and is present in all Hindu religious literature.
A review of the quantum of students studying Hindi in Trinidad and Tobago reveals that in the Hindi Nidhi classes of which Chanka Seeteram and Bob Gopee are the President and Vice-President respectively over 500 students are enrolled from ages five to nine years annually. The Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) over 1,000 students; the Bharariya Vidhya Sanstaan about 60 students. At the Indian High Commission some 58 students wrote the First year examination (Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced Levels for the academic year 2018-2019. Additionally, nine students availed themselves for the eight-month, “Propagation of Hindi Abroad Scholarship at the Kendriya Hindi Sanathan, Agra, India from the year 2016 to present.
There five radio stations and three television stations that beam, Indian culture, religious and Hindi programmes daily, which if are given the required push to further enhance Hindi as Trinidad and Tobago’s second language, after English. Hindi is profusely used in mandirs, at very few homes, public places of worship. The Hanuman Chalisa and the Ramayana are well accepted and adopted here, hundreds of Ramayana Satsangs and Hanuman Chalisa programmes, and several other religious boks are held annually with live presentations. One of the famous ironies in Hindi here is that the majority of our singers sing Bollywood movies song with little or no learning of Hindi. Soap operas have caught the national imagination of a great percentage, not exclusive to people of the Indian diaspora.
India-born Prof. Hari Shankar Adesh who came to teach Hindi under auspices of the Indian High Commission has stayed here since 1966 and founded the Bharitya Vidya Sanrithnan (BVS), and despite his age, he continues to make remarkable contribution to the reawakening of Hindi. And because of his tutelage several students have successfully completed examinations in Ordinary” and “Advanced levels” at the London University External Examinations.
Among the books the BVS published are: Standard Real Hindi, Hindi Verna Bodh, Sahitya Sarovan, Hindi Sahitya Sarovan. There is also the BVS Hindi Jyoti Magazine, which comes off irregularly. The BVS gave a new renaissance of Hindi since 1966.
The Hindi Nidhi, under Bob Gopee, produced: “Ab Hindi Bolo, Geet Arpanam and Geet Arpanam Revised in 2019. The Indian High Commission publishes a magazine sometimes.
India’s great Prime Minister Indira Gandhi paid a two-day visit here in October 1968 and inked several MOUs including the Construction of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Cultural Co-operation and we always hear that it is on stream, but 52 years later, the Indian diaspora is yet to see its completion. Several Prime Ministers from India and Trinidad and Tobago have paid reciprocal visits and meaningful and monumental benefits are still in the horizon.
Dr. Vimlesh Kanti Verma’s visit to Trinidad and Tobago hosted teaching seminars in Hindi in 2012, did have an impact in the furtherance of Hindi. My only hope that it has added language value to its participants.
Before I exit this dissertation, I would like to commend Ms. Sunita Pahuja who continuously strove to enhance the teaching of Hindi here, and Dr Deepak Pandey who work tirelessly to get the job done.
In an interview with Ms. Pahuja, with me just before left to India, countered that the Indian High Commission is an important agency to foster interest towards Hindi and the High Commission provided students with Hindi books, CDs, etc. Hindi Day is celebrated every September, and World Hindi Day is celebrated January 10 annually.
Indian High Commissioner, Arun Kumar Sahu hosted guests to mark World Hindi Day, and present was former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday. Mr. Sahu offered all possible assistance to the local schools if they are interested in teaching Hindi to young children.
My great grandparents left India on June 2 1888 on the ship Arrah and arrived here on October 2, 1888. My great grandfather’s name was Ramoutar Sitaram, and my grand-father who was also aboard name was Gajadhar Ramoutar, and they were dispersed to agricultural estate in Esperanza Estate. They came from the District Shahabad in the State of Haryana,
Trinidad and Tobago remains a powerful participant in the study of Indian diaspora issues. There are about 400,000 East Indians who now make this land their home. Initially 148,000 East Indians were brought here from India, principally from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar by the then British colonial government between 1845 and 1917 to work on the sugar, cocoa and coconut plantations. Their presence marked an opportunity o enhance its economic and financial stability, May 30 has been declared a public holiday since 1995 and it is called Indian Arrival Day.
Indian culture remains an integral synthesis in the multiracial, multi-religious and multi-cultural society which has shaped, and continues o shape the land, The Indian diaspora has built a great storehouse of human qualities and moral, ethical and spiritual values conducive to the welfare of our sector, and to the total cosmopolitan nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
The richness of our hearts, the purity of our minds, and the nobility of our character have always been the touchstone of our lives.. We continue to serve society without any selfish ambition or selfish attachments as we are always reminded that service to humanity is verily service to God. This has been, and continues to be a special feature of our philosophy of life.
We have extracted this model through Hinduism in Hindi language.
Mr Ramoutar holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Ryerson University, Toronto, which he did on a Rotary International Scholarship. He holds Accreditation in Public Relations from the Public Relations Society of America(PRSA) and the International Association of Business Communicators(IABC), received over 35 national and international awards, including the Humming Bird Award from the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He writes for a network of newspapers including Toronto Sun, IANS, PTI, Empire Magazine, World Hindu News, Hinduism Today. Trinidad Guardian and several magazines. Recipient of the Rotary’s Paul Harris Pin, and Peace Award from Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago.
Mr. Ramoutar can be contacted by phone 868-474-5586. Address 61 Main Road, CAPARO, Trinidad, West Indies. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Photo to follw
His Motto: “Driven by Commitment. Powered by Integrity”.
PS. I have authorized usage of this article: “Hindi should become universally accepted at all geopolitical organs”.