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Bollywood makes Hindi popular among Australian students

entertainment Updated: May 24, 2007 15:51 IST

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Bollywood has made the Hindi language course offered by the University of Sydney's Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) quite popular among Australian students.

Introduced in 2006 and run by Dr Philip Claxton, the Hindi language course is a thriving component of CCE's languages unit. "So far the response has been quite overwhelming and the numbers very healthy," Claxton said.

"In fact Bollywood is responsible for a large amount of interest in Hindi", he added.

CCE is a non-profit centre of the University of Sydney. Its role is to make teaching and research expertise of the University available to the public through short courses. Each year CCE publishes four general programmes, each containing around 260 courses, and a range of specialist programmes.

"Studying Hindi has been a really interesting and enjoyable journey," said Howard Shibuya, a Hindi language student.

"As a language teacher myself, for me, studying Hindi is about a combination of crossing cultures and improving my own higher-order thinking," she said.

"We have had a lot of fun with Phillip Claxton, who has given us a very strong foundation to continue this language", she added.

Surprisingly, the target audience for Hindi language are not the traditional stereotype India bound entrepreneurs.

"There are an extremely wide range of people who come to do the classes, ranging from heritage students who have an Indian background themselves to those whose partners, fiancés, spouses speak either Hindi, Urdu or Punjabi, to those who have an interest in religious traditions," finds Claxton.

Some of Claxton's other students include those who need some basic language to do fieldwork in India and Pakistan.

Claxton's brush with Hindu culture goes back to his university days, Indo Link, an ethnic magazine reported.

Currently a full time editor with a legal publishing house, Claxton's interest in the Vaishnava Bhakti tradition prompted him to explore both Hinduism and the Devanagiri script on a more profound level.