The 10th World Hindi Conference in Bhopal saw a conflict of sorts, perhaps inadvertently, between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, as suggested by their speeches during the inauguration of the conference by the PM.
Even as Sushma Swaraj expressed her concern over English's growing effect on Hindi, the PM's speech was liberally peppered with English words.
During the inauguration session, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, her deputy VK Singh and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made efforts to use pure Hindi words in their speeches even if they found some words difficult to pronounce.
Sushma Swaraj said, "I am pained to say that today, not only do we have to think of promotion (Sanvardhan) of Hindi but also its protection (Sanrakshan). The way English's growing effect is reflected in Hindi, the language is losing its identity (Asmita)."
Sushma Swaraj who consciously chose to stick to Hindi words, accidentally used English word 'report' once after mentioning 'rapat' (the Hindi word for report) at least twice. However, she corrected herself and stuck to Hindi.
However, when the Prime Minister Narendra Modi rose to speak, he used English words several times in his speech. The English words that his speech featured included 'agencies', 'Gandhian', 'stethoscope', 'thermometer', 'drainage', 'electrifying effect' 'secretariat', 'dictionary', 'Russia', 'Russian', 'requirement' 'technology', 'acknowledge', 'aspiration', 'values', 'digital world', 'message', 'convey', 'software', 'expert', 'app', 'market', 'modern', 'exclusive', 'inclusive', 'mobile phone', 'contact list' etc.
The PM also mentioned the word 'technology' several times in his speech.
The PM's frequent use of English words appeared to be in sync with the message he imparted through his speech on Hindi language, in which he stressed the need for organising workshops in Hindi and other Indian languages and including words from them in Hindi.
Modi, however, didn't talk of assimilating foreign languages in Hindi, but his speech sent out a message that Hindi needed to be made flexible.
Talking to HT, noted Hindi writer Ashok Chakradhar justified the PM's use of English words in his speech.
"If we don't take words from other languages to broaden our horizon and make our communication more efficient at the international level, we would remain confined to a place. I don't believe in puritan form of a language. If English had been confined to a puritan form, its dictionary would not have grown this much," said Chakradhar.