New Delhi: A group of 31 young delegates from 13 countries, including Russia, Australia, Sri Lanka, and South Korea, are currently visiting India as part of a maiden ‘Hindi Vishwa Yatra’ hosted by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
The council’s president, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, said efforts are being made to introduce India to more people living abroad through Hindi.
Addressing a press conference here, he said Hindi is a “language of civilisational values” and efforts are underway to have it recognised as an official language of the United Nations.
The batch of young delegates, part of the first ‘Hindi Vishwa Yatra’ being held from May 20-29, interacted with media persons in the evening at the New Maharashtra Sadan here and shared their experiences.
The 13 countries that are part of the yatra are — Russia, Poland, Australia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, South Korea, Italy, Fiji, Mauritius, Japan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Tanzania, Sahasrabuddhe said.
As part of the programme, the 31 delegates who have been selected based on their proficiency in the Hindi language, have attended lectures on democratic values and 75 years of India’s freedom at the Delhi University, and visited the Central Institute of Hindi, Agra, he said.
In Delhi, they have visited the Crafts Museum, and will tomorrow visit the Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya in Wardha as well as the Sewa Gram of Gandhi in Maharashtra, he said in response to a query.
Asked if such yatras will be organised for promoting other Indian languages too, he said, “We respond as per the demands from people, and in the future, we would like to have such yatras for Bengali, Tamil, and other languages”.
Most of the delegates spoke in fluent Hindi, and two of them — from Australia and Tanzania — even sang a Bollywood song each, much to everyone’s delight.
Sahasrabuddhe acknowledged the popularity of Bollywood in foreign countries, saying the Indian film industry is becoming a “purveyor of our Indian culture”.
India-born Samarth Ram Raghvendra (19), who lives in Australia, and is part of the delegation told PTI, “I am delighted to be back in the country where I was born… Hindi really draws me and my parents, whose mother tongue is Kannada, encouraged me to learn Hindi”.
Beatrice Cavallaro (24), from Italy, and Gabriela Nowocien, from Poland, both university students, were delighted to be in India “for the first time” and “learn about its culture and food and traditions”.
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Nowocien, who hails from Krackow, came to the press interaction wearing the traditional ‘salwar kameez’ and Indian hand jewellery.
Sahasrabuddhe said, “We want such students who are part of the yatra to be ambassadors of the Hindi language and Indian culture in their countries”.
Later, the delegates were felicitated and treated to some recorded songs of legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar.
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