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India is making fresh efforts to promote Hindi as an official language at United Nations.  

Syed Nazakat/ New Delhi

India is pushing forward its proposal to include Hindi as one of the official languages of the United Nations. The ministry of external affairs [MEA] is currently reviewing a draft advocacy paper to present the Indian case with regard to introducing Hindi in the UN.

A senior official of the ministry of external affairs told Sahara Time that the ministry is preparing a comprehensive proposal to put forward its demand of including Hindi language as one of the official languages of the UN. “We are preparing a report how to facilitate the inclusion of Hindi language at UN. There were some objections in the earlier report and now we are addressing these objections in the new report,” said a senior official of MEA on the condition of anonymity as he said he is not authorised to speak on this subject. 

The MEA is already engaged in promotion of Hindi language abroad. The ministry has held last year a number of international Hindi conferences in Australia, Abu Dhabi and Tokyo and in New York as part of diplomatic efforts to popularise Hindi language globally. With emphasis being laid on greater use of Hindi, MEA has also launched its Hindi website as part of an effort to make available the country’s foreign policy to a much wider populace. The Hindi website http://www.mea.gov.in, developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), will initially be a mirror image of the Ministry’s English version and its further development is expected later. 

According to the estimates around 340 million to 500 million speak, and as many as 800 million people understand Hindi language. Outside India there are countries like Nepal South Africa, Mauritius, the United Kingdom, the United States, Yemen, and Uganda where a significant number people speak Hindi. 

The government believes that at a time when Indian economy is shining and the country is emerging as next global power it is the best time for the country to promote its national language and get it recognised as an official language of United Nations.  United Nations uses Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish as its official languages in its intergovernmental meetings and documents. 

But including Hindi as one of the official languages of the United Nations is not that easy. There are financial, procedural as well as legal implications. The procedure for getting any language recognized as one of the Official Languages of the UN involves obtaining approval of the General Assembly. Such a proposal has to be approved by more than half of the members of the General Assembly where every member-State has a vote. In addition, recognizing any language as the official language of the UN entails a substantial increase in the expenditure of the UN necessitating an enhanced contribution by every member country, which is why most of the members remain reluctant to support such a proposal. 

But the ministry of external affairs is quite confident that this time around Hindi will be included as one of the official languages of the UN. “India is emerging as a next big power on the world scene and our national language – Hindi- should be, and I think it will be included soon at the UN,” said the MEA official. 

India has already started diplomatic efforts to promote Hindi at international level and to gain the support of other countries. The MEA has set up the World Hindi Secretariat in Mauritius along with the ministry of external affairs has has prepared Hindi-Chinese, Hindi-Arabic, Hindi-French, and Hindi-Spanish dictionaries to promote Hindi. A consolidated Hindi-based dictionary of UN languages is also under compilation. 

Box

India wants Hindi language included as one of  the official languages of UN 

UN uses six official languages i.e. Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish 

340 million to 500 million speak, and as many as 800 million people understand the Hindi language 

MEA is engaged in promotion of Hindi language abroad, launched Hindi website, organizing international Hindi conferences and distributing free Hindi literature 

There are financial, procedural as well as legal difficulties in recognizing Hindi as a official language of UN 

(Sahara Time, 2007)

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