NEW DELHI: India will host the next World Hindi Conference later this year as part of efforts to popularize Hindi in the world, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said here Saturday on the occasion of World Hindi Day.
Addressing a gathering, which included Mauritius Vice Prime Minister Showkutally Soodhum and Hindi experts and enthusiasts, she said that the date and place would be decided soon.
The last such conference, the Ninth World Hindi Conference was held in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 2012. The event is held every three years, while the secretariat is in Mauritius.
The first conference was held in 1975 and then prime minister of Mauritius Sir Seewoosagar Ramgoolam was the chief guest.
Sushma Swaraj also said that there is need for more articles on foreign policy in Hindi. She said that recently she found that the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) "did not have even one article in Hindi on foreign policy".
"How will those who do not know English learn about India's foreign policy" if there are no articles in Hindi, she said, adding there was need for more Hindi translations of foreign policy articles.
She said with the coming of the Narendra Modi government "there is more prachar (spread) of Hindi language" in foreign policy.
According to the external affairs minister, she had made clear that if a visiting dignitary speaks in English, she too would do likewise. But if the dignitary chooses to hold dialogue in his or her own tongue then "don't force me to speak in English. Then they should know that Bharat's language is Hindi".
She said that with the prominence being given by the ministry to Hindi they would be needing more translators and added that she looked forward to seeing file notings soon in Hindi too.
But she added that Hindi was like a "sister" language to the other Indian languages and meant to take along the others in the forward march.
Soodhum said his country would give its full support to "Bharat Ma" for popularizing Hindi across the world. "I want to assure that on the world stage for popularizing Hindi, if there is need to support Bharat Maa, then Chhota Bharat (as Mauritius is also known) will lend its support wholeheartedly," he said in Hindi.
He said he felt great pride in his Hindi roots and added that Mauritius has launched a Hindi union in colleges and universities to teach Hindi.
Secretary (East) in the ministry of external affairs Anil Wadhwa said that Hindi was becoming popular across the world thanks to social media, like Facebook and SMS, and also due to Bollywood films and its songs.
He said in many countries, the Hindi language was not understood but Hindi films and film songs were immensely popular.
The ministry of external affairs has also appointed Neena Malhtra, as joint secretary for Hindi, in a new move to give importance to the language. Earlier, it was handled by a deputy secretary.
On the occasion, many students of Hindi from foreign countries, including China, Iran, Japan spoke in Hindi on stage. A student from Romania also recited a Hindi poem of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Students from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Vietnam, Japan, China, Romania and some Central Asian countries also gave a dance performance to Hindi and Punjabi compositions.Some of the students were also given awards for their Hindi essay writing.