Senior Lecturer & Head, Dept. of Hindi Studies,

Mahatma Gandhi Institute

The World Hindi Day, commonly known as Vishwa Hindi Divas, is celebrated by Hindi lovers on the 10th of January every year. It started on 10th January 2006 in India and since then, Indian embassies and high commissions as well as all those institutions and organisations with the prime mission of propagating Hindi language worldwide, are actively involved in this celebration. 10th January is a historical date as the first World Hindi Conference, held in Nagpur, India, was organised in 1975 and the aim behind celebrating the World Hindi Day on this date is to commemorate this special occasion and to further bring to the world the beauty of this language.

Hindi is one of the fastest growing languages in the world. Originated from Sanskrit, it is a very scientific language by its nature where the pronunciation of every alphabet is exactly represented by the script. Hindi is one of the most widely spoken languages globally. The outreach of Hindi in countries of Indian diaspora or newly formed diaspora countries where Indians have migrated is significant. In fact, directly or indirectly, officially or unofficially, Hindi holds a very important place in all sectors globally. The openness of the Indian economy to the world and the growing quest of people in knowing Indian culture and traditions are some prime factors for the growth of Hindi on the global front. Hindi cinema has also been one of the engines in the propagation of the language. In terms of technology, cyber journalism and writing of personal blogs in Hindi are growing at a rapid pace. Hindi is taught, both formally and informally in many countries around the world namely the USA, UK, France, Bulgaria, Italy, Poland, Germany, Russia, Japan, Korea, Australia among others and also in practically all Indian diaspora countries like Mauritius, Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago and others.

In Mauritius, the World Hindi Day is also celebrated with great fervour. Hindi is generally understood by Indo-Mauritians and also by some people from different communities in the country. Many socio-cultural organisations in the country work alongside to promote the language both in its spoken and written forms. Incentives are also given by the government in this line. Along with regular programmes in Hindi and news in Hindustani, programmes like Srijan, Nayi Drishti, Gyan Sarovar and others on MBC TV and radio are commendably contributing to the propagation of the language. In the field of creative writing, Mauritian writers have profusely published their works. Abhimanyu Unnuth, the prolific Hindi writer and recipient of several prestigious awards, is undeniably one of our strongest ambassadors in the global Hindi sphere through his writings.   

Hindi has travelled from the days of baithkas to reach the University. The Mahatma Gandhi Institute works in collaboration with the University of Mauritius, where courses up to Masters’ level are being run. The Mauritius Institute of Education collaborates with the MGI for the training of primary and secondary educators. Research and creation of digital contents in Hindi are also being done at the MGI. Online Introductory courses have also been designed for the general public to learn Hindi and other Indian languages. Being a nodal institution in the propagation of Indian languages including Hindi in Mauritius, the MGI has been entrusted by the Government of India in 2018 with an updated Language Laboratory with related software in Indian languages for teaching these languages more effectively.

The World Hindi Secretariat, with the object of promoting Hindi as an international language and further the cause of Hindi towards its recognition at the United Nations as an official language, also gives prime importance to the celebration of the Hindi language. On every 10th of January, the WHS invites a guest speaker (a non-native Hindi scholar) from abroad to address the Mauritian audience. A cultural programme, glorifying Hindi and Indian culture and traditions, also forms part of the occasion.

Mauritius is indeed becoming a hub for the promotion of Hindi in the region. This has been acknowledged by Indian authorities. Training has recently been provided to several primary educators in India. Educators are constantly trained in using ICT in the teaching of Hindi both in primary and secondary schools. Digital contents, educational applications and multimedia materials are being created for students. Quality textbooks are being produced. The 11th World Hindi Conference, recently organised in 2018 in SVICC which attracted scholars and delegates from all over the world, was an eye-opener for them where they could take stock of what Mauritius has to offer to the world of Hindi. Many Indian diaspora countries have also shown their interest for future collaborations with Mauritius in this field.

Hindi has a bright future keeping in mind its growing global impact. Its strong presence on the internet testifies that there is a huge market for it on the international front, translation being one of them. Being a multi-lingual nation, no doubt, Mauritian Hindi learners have greater scope to join the big wave of this language expansion. Rigorous training and support through ICT will definitely help in this sense. And for that, established institutions like the World Hindi Secretariat, the Hindi Speaking Union, Hindi Pracharini Sabha and Arya Sabha among others will be expected to work closely with the Indian High Commission for the propagation of Hindi, ultimately paying tribute to this historical date of 10th January, the Vishwa Hindi Divas.