“Ek din meri Hindi bahut achi hogi [One day my Hindi will be perfect],” says German Ambassador Walter J. Lindner, in a video put out on Monday to celebrate Hindi Diwas.
Move over Yoga day; there is a new way to prove your Indophile credentials, courtesy Twitter on Hindi Diwas.
Lindner who had engaged a tutor for Hindi even before he took up his post in India has used Twitter to post his progress in the language. On Monday, Linder tweeted Hindi Diwas wishes in Hindi and thanked his teacher Prahlad Kumar. He is not the only ambassador in India who has chosen to go beyond embracing the culture—Linder has travelled across the country and enthusiastically uses his social media account to publicise Delhi tourist spots—by learning an Indian language. The Polish Ambassador to India Adam Burakowski also speaks chaste Hindi. Burakowski, who is a true-blue lover of everything Indian, including Hindi movies—he claims he watches one nearly every day--tweeted from Mussourie: “Hindi bhasha bahut bahut sundar hai'' (Hindi is a beautiful language).” Burakowski has also translated Sadaat Hasan Manto's poems from Urdu into Polish.
Ritva Koukku-Ronde, the Finnish Ambassador to India, tweeted: “Namaskar, Aap sabhi ko meri taraf se #HindiDiwas2020 ki bahot shubhkamnaye. Aaiye aaj hum saath milkar Hindi bhasha aur uske sahitya ka jashn manaye. Dhanyawaad.” [Best Wishes for Hindi Diwas. Let's celebrate Hindi literature together]. Going beyond just tweeting, the Finland Embassy in India is celebrating this day with some of the best works of Indian literature.
At a time when language politics is heating up, the Hindi Diwas—a day to celebrate Hindi as one of the official languages—the day is being observed with renewed Twitter frenzy. Envoys posted in India are not the only ones tweeting to celebrate the day, but Indian missions abroad too—like in the case of Yoga day—are doing their bit.
In Myanmar, where there is a considerable Hindi speaking community, there was a poetry competition. But for the most part, Indian missions across the world demonstrated the power of Bollywood. As the Indian Embassy in Lebanon demonstrated with videos from Lebanese singing Hindi songs.
But it was also a chance for India in the Arab countries to use this opportunity to promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reach-out mission. The consulate in Dubai chose to celebrate a word in Hindi and its translation in English and Arabic to find common words in both languages. While pushing Hindi has largely been seen as the BJP's agenda, viewed through the prism of saffronisation, the World Hindi Day—a day celebrated abroad—on January 10, was introduced by the UPA.
Under Modi, however, the use of Hindi—especially at world forums—has increased to make it about being the language of a more assertive India. Former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj always chose to speak in Hindi. In the Parliament, Swaraj once stated that India was ready to bear all expenses, up to Rs 400 crore, to make Hindi one of the official languages of the UN.