Johannesburg, South Africa will be hosting the 9th World Hindi Conference scheduled to take place at the Sandton Convention Centre, spread over a period of 3 days from the 22 to 24 September this year.
The Conference is being partnered by the Hindi Shiksha Sangh of South Africa, an organization established in South Africa since 1948 with its primary aim being to provide an umbrella body that would promote and coordinate the teaching of Hindi and to provide guidance and direction to institutions that are engaged in the promotion of the language in the written and oral traditions, also to create awareness and propagate the rich traditions of Indian cultures in the form of North Indian music, dance, drama and the arts and the study of Hindi literature and Hindi religious scriptures.
At a press conference and breakfast meeting held at the Johannesburg Country Club today, Mr Heeralall Sewnath Director of the Hindi Shiksha Sangh said, “We felt that we needed to make a bid for hosting this important conference in South Africa for the first time especially with its primary objectives of promoting the Hindi language, culture and literature”
He spoke about the “Natalie Hindi” which was a mixture of Bhojpuri, Urdu and Tamil which developed into a dialect which became an effective communicative language in Natal whilst Gauteng developed an “Afrikaans Hindi” as Indians settling here learnt the Afrikaans language and it was easy for them to mix Hindi and Afrikaans using both vocabularies in their communication.
The High Commissioner of India, Mr Virendra Gupta said at the media conference, “Organising of the 9th World Hindi Conference in South Africa has special relevance to the completion of 150 years of the arrival of Indians as indentured labourers in the 1860’s to South Africa, and it was Gandhiji who started his satyagraha here in South Africa and advanced the movement through Hindi, English and the Gujarati languages”
“Later on Hindi became the medium of freedom fighters during the anti-colonial rule and it will be a tribute to the values and principles propounded by Mahatma Gandhi, who initiated his satyagraha campaign from South Africa” he added.
The World Hindi Conferences are organized and held every 3 to 4 years in different parts of the world and started in 1975 in Nagpur India. The primary object of this conference was to show the significance of Hindi before the world as a global language so that it can achieve its rightful place globally.
Thereafter it was held in Mauritius in 1976, New Delhi in 1983; Mauritius once again hosted the Conference in 1993 and the Conference then moved to Trinadad and Tobago in 1996.
The 7th World Hindi Conference was held in London in 1999, the 8th held in New York in 2007 and this year the 9th Conference is being organized in Johannesburg South Africa.
The main objectives of the Conference are the propagation of Hindi in foreign countries promoting the teaching and research of Hindi as a world language.
The Conference would also encourage research work of original writings in Hindi by foreigners and people of Indian origin, also to establish the relevance of the Hindi language in the globalised world.
It would also interact with linked workshops, discussions and exhibitions with schools, universities, NGO’s, institutes and individuals involved in the teaching and propagation of Hindi, and understand their needs and requirements and respond to relevant proposals focusing on the challenges being faced in the propagating of the culture and tradition.
Mr. Vinod Sandlesh, Director of the Indian Culture Centre said, “There was a strong support from the Indian government, and the last World Hindi Conference held in New York in 2007, concluded with an appeal to India to make a concerted effort to mobilize other nations towards giving recognition to Hindi as the seventh official language of the United Nations”
The six official UN languages currently being used are English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Arabic and it is a significant fact in accordance to a survey conducted in 1998 that Hindi is the second most spoken language of the world after Chinese” he added.
The Conference foresees a large contingency of Ministers and Parliamentarians with about 600 delegates from India and over 1000 locally and abroad attending the event.