NEW DELHI: On the occasion of Hindi Diwas, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday stressed on the need to have a unifying language that becomes a mark of India's identity in the world and keeps "foreign languages" from finding a place in the country.
He said efforts will be made to expand Hindi to different parts of the country and asked everyone to use their native languages as much as possible.
Shah said that today, if any language which can unite the country, it is Hindi that is spoken the most. He said Hindi should reach every individual and every home in the country.
"Next year we will hold the Hindi Divas functions in different parts of the country. I appeal to every parents to speak to their children in their own language and also with the co-workers," he said.
He said when the country will face the next general election in 2024, Hindi would have achieved a monumental status.
The home minister said socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia had said in a democracy, the language of the government should be a language which people can understand.
"When I first took charge of the Home Ministry, in the first 10 days, not a single file has come to me with Hindi noting. Now, 60 per cent files which come to me have Hindi notings," he said.
"Though I believe that the diversity of languages and dialects is one of the biggest strengths of India, there is a need for our country to have one language, so that foreign languages don't find a place. This is why our freedom fighters envisioned Hindi as 'Raj bhasha'," Shah said in his address at a Hindi Diwas programme.
Shah said that any nation that abandons its language cannot preserve its culture and consequently loses its existence.
"On the occasion of Hindi Diwas, we should introspect. There are many countries in this world whose languages have become extinct. The country that abandons its language loses its existence too. The country that loses its language can't preserve its culture," he said.
"We need to understand that the richness of Indian languages cannot be compared with any foreign languages," he added.
The Home Minister appealed the citizens to use their mother tongue more so as to preserve its existence. "A language stays alive only when the community of its speakers take pride in it, promote it, and encourage the young generation to use it."
India has two official languages - Hindi and English, and 22 scheduled languages. The country does not have any national language, a fact which has been a subject of much debate since independence.
Earlier in the day, Shah, in a tweet, had asked people to use Hindi more to realise the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
"On the occasion of Hindi Day, I appeal to all citizens to use their mother tongue and Hindi more to realise the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel," Shah said in a tweet.
भारत विभिन्न भाषाओं का देश है और हर भाषा का अपना महत्व है परन्तु पूरे देश की एक भाषा होना अत्यंत आवश्यक है जो विश्व में भारत की पहचान बने। आज देश को एकता की डोर में बाँधने का काम अगर कोई एक भाषा कर सकती है तो वो सर्वाधिक बोले जाने वाली हिंदी भाषा ही है। pic.twitter.com/hrk1ktpDCn— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) September 14, 2019
Bharatiya Janata Party Working President JP Nadda also greeted the nation on the occasion of Hindi day and said: "Hindi is the most spoken and understood language across India, which unites all of us in the thread of unity and is also our identity in the world. Wish you all a very Happy Hindi Day. Let us all increase the use of Hindi in our daily lives and inspire others as well."
हिंदी भारत में सर्वाधिक बोली एवं समझी जाने वाली भाषा है जो हम सभी भारतीयों को एकता के सूत्र में पिरोती है एवं विश्व में हमारी पहचान भी है।— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) September 14, 2019
आप सभी को हिंदी दिवस की हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं।
आइए हम सभी अपने दैनिक जीवन में हिंदी के प्रयोग को बढ़ाएं एवं दूसरों को भी प्रेरित करें। pic.twitter.com/GAK1MWFezk
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also took to Twitter on the occasion and said: "Hope and desire is Hindi. Hindi is the language that brings everyone together. Wishing all the writers, poets and journalists engaged in the service of Hindi literature, a very Happy Hindi Day..."
आशा-अभिलाषा है हिंदी,— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) September 14, 2019
सबको साथ लेकर चलनेवाली भाषा है हिंदी!
हिंदी साहित्य की सेवा में लगे हुए सभी लेखकों, कवियों और पत्रकारों को नमन करते हुए देशवासियों को हिंदी-दिवस की शुभकामनाएँ!!
Hindi Diwas is celebrated every year on September 14, marking the significance of the day when the country's Constituent Assembly adopted Hindi as the official language of India.