PM for Hindi's development
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday called for making Hindi a strong internet language and the development of better Hindi software and search engines.
He also said books by non-resident Indian (NRI) authors should be included in the syllabi of educational institutions in India as the 8th World Hindi Conference began here on Friday.
The prime minister's message was delivered by video to the conference.
Anand Sharma, India's minister of state for external affairs, said: "Hindi's cause would be better served if it were to be made more flexible, more accommodating, and we favour spoken language over bookish one."
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised Hindi at the inaugural function held at the UN headquarters and called it a "language of understanding and harmony."
Others who spoke on the occasion included India's Ambassador to the US Ranendra Sen, Permanent Representative of India at the UN Nirupam Sen, Mauritius Education and Human Resource Development Minister Dharamvir Gokhul and Nepal's Trade and Commerce Minister Rajendra Mahato.
All the dignitaries, except the Secretary-General, spoke in Hindi.
Over 1,000 delegates from India, the US and other countries are attending the three-day conference organized by the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the US branch of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
The main theme of the conference is 'Hindi on World Stage'. Nine academic sessions are being held to deliberate on themes such as 'The role of Information Technology in Promoting Hindi', 'Globalisation, Media and Hindi', 'Hindi Literature Overseas' and 'The Role of Bollywood in Promoting Hindi' chaired by Bollywood film director and writer Gulzar.
Girija Vyas, the chairperson of India's National Commission for Women, chaired the first academic session on 'Hindi at the UN'.
Mrinal Pande, the editor of leading Hindi daily Hindustan, chaired the session on 'Globalisation, Media and Hindi'. She said there has been a boom in Hindi publications in the past five years.
Three exhibitions have been organised at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, which is the venue of the conference. One of the exhibitions, 'Hindi from India to Overseas' is curated by the National Museum of India while the Pune-based Centre is presenting 'Hindi and Information Technology' for Development of Advanced Computing. A book exhibition displaying over 900 Hindi titles is also being held.
"Bollywood mein Hindi", a specially commissioned documentary on the role played by Bollywood in promoting Hindi in the world, is being screened at the conference.
A kavi sammelan was held on the first evening of the conference. Popular Hindi poets like Ashok Chakradhar and Balkavi Bairagi were present at the event.
Shujaat Khan on sitar and Gita Chandran's Bharatanatyam recital is the cultural fare for the second day while Pankaj Udhas will sing ghazals on the concluding day.