For Latin-American tango, Meira Kumar brushes up Spanish | delhi | Hindustan Times
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For Latin-American tango, Meira Kumar brushes up Spanish

Kumar will fly to three Latin American countries— Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay— on Saturday for a fortnight-long tour.

delhi Updated: Jan 06, 2012 00:18 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times

Even as she was busy running the House during the day time last month, Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar had reserved her early mornings for an unusual routine—brushing up Spanish vocabulary.

Kumar will fly to three Latin American countries— Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay— on Saturday for a fortnight-long tour. Since the tour is aimed at building a new friendship between Indian and these Latin parliaments, Kumar wants to convey it in the guests’ own language.

Kumar, a former Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, wishes to extensively use Spanish in writing messages and speeches during the tour. She even hired a Spanish language expert to hone her vocabulary and routinely started revisiting Spanish grammar and basic language course books, sources in the speaker’s office told HT.

During her diplomatic career, Kumar was posted in Spain where she got a chance to fine-tune her Spanish skills. “She has an old fascination for the language. A few years ago, when a parliamentary delegation from Uruguay had come to visit Indian parliament, Kumar used a lot of Spanish words during her conversations,” a Lok Sabha official told HT.

Parliament insiders fondly recall how US president Barack Obama had floored Indian MPs by using words like “Namaste” and “Bohut Dhanyabad” while referring to landmarks in Indian metros in his speech at Parliament’s Central Hall in 2010.

Kumar will also visit Pablo Neruda foundation, set up in memory of the poet in Cile. In Indian diplomatic radar, Latin America is seen as a favourable investment destination.