Give more re­spect to re­gional lan­guages: Pres­i­dent Kovind urges Hindi speak­ers

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NEW DELHI: Pres­i­dent Ram Nath Kovind on Thurs­day asked Hindi-speak­ing peo­ple to give more re­spect and space to re­gional lan­guages and their speak­ers in a bid to make Hindi more popular across the coun­try.

Ad­dress­ing a func­tion on the oc­ca­sion of ‘Hindi Di­vas’ here, the Pres­i­dent said Hindi con­tin­ued to face op­po­si­tion in some parts of the coun­try even though it be­came an of­fi­cial lan­guage many decades ago.

Home Min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh, who was also present at the func­tion or­gan­ised by his min­istry, said in his ad­dress that Hindi could be en­riched fur­ther if its speak­ers also used words from other lan­guages.

Re­fer­ring to re­cent in­ci­dents on the Ban­ga­lore Metro, where a pro-kan­nada group op­posed Hindi sign­boards in the train ser­vice, and ear­lier ag­i­ta­tions against Hindi in Tamil Nadu, Pres­i­dent Kovind said there was a feel­ing among some peo­ple that Hindi was be­ing im­posed on them.

“Non-hindi speak­ing peo­ple de­sire that we (Hindi-speak­ing peo­ple) give at­ten­tion to their lan­guages. Those who speak Hindi should give space to other lan­guages. We all have the re­spon­si­bil­ity to give re­spect to non-hindi speak­ing peo­ple and re­gional lan­guages,” he said.

Kovind sug­gested that those who speak Hindi should greet a Ta­mil­ian with a ‘vanakkam’, a Sikh with ‘Sat Sri Akal’ and a Mus­lim with an ‘Adaab’ — words of greet­ing in Tamil, among Sikhs and in Urdu re­spec­tively. They should use the word ‘Garu’ (sir) while ad­dress­ing a Tel­ugu-speak­ing per­son, he said.

The adop­tion of other lan­guages and cul­tures will help unite the peo­ple and the coun­try, he said.

The pres­i­dent said he had used the Rus­sian word ‘spa­siba’ (thank you) while end­ing his speech at a state ban­quet dur­ing the re­cent visit of Be­larus Pres­i­dent A G Lukashenko. The guest was so de­lighted that he spon­ta­neously re­sponded with a ‘Jai Hind’.

The Be­larus pres­i­dent also an­nounced that Hindi would be taught in that coun­try’s state univer­sity from this month.

Kovind also asked lawyers and doc­tors to use Hindi and other re­gional lan­guages at work.

“In In­dia, peo­ple don’t un­der­stand the lan­guage of lawyers and doc­tors. In courts, now, grad­u­ally Hindi and other lan­guages are be­ing spo­ken. Sim­i­larly, if the doc­tors start giv­ing pre­scrip­tions in De­vana­gari and other lan­guages, the doc­tor-pa­tient dis­tance will be re­duced,” he said.

In his ad­dress, the home min­is­ter said Hindi was the uni­fy­ing lan­guage for the coun­try and had helped bring peo­ple of dif­fer­ent re­gions to­gether dur­ing In­dia’s free­dom strug­gle.

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