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Sunday, July 15, 2007 : 0330 Hrs


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    Hindi at UN: India to take action to get official status

    New York, July 15 (PTI): India has said it would take quick and focussed action on recommendations of the 8th World Hindi Conference and make immediate diplomatic moves to seek the status of an official language for Hindi at the United Nations.

    Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma, however, refused to give any timeframe for Hindi getting the onerous status in the world body, pointing out that it is a complex issue and involved extensive and intensive consultations with the 192 member states.

    Indian diplomats would begin holding consultations immediately with the aim of getting support of two-thirds members States to get the proposal through, he said.

    The conference is expected to issue a declaration containing recommendations and views expressed by various participants.

    Briefing reporters, Sharma said India has already made its decision clear at the inaugural function of the Conference at the United Nations which was attended not only by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon but also top UN officials and ambassadors of at least 50 countries.

    They know the Indian decision, he remarked, adding that there is a great significance of organising the inaugural function at the United Nations. It sends a clear signal when more than 1,000 delegates speak with one voice-- something which no other country could achieve till date.

    Besides, the function came weeks before the UN General Assembly is due to open its annual session in September, he told reporters.

    Asked the cost if the proposal does go through, Sharma said the prestige of the language cannot be measured in monetary terms. India would do whatever needs to be done.

    However, the minister got into an argument with a reporter when he sought to preface his question with his opinion that while the government is trying to improve the status of Hindi abroad, it needs to look at its condition at home, implying that it is not good.

    "I do not agree with your opinion," Sharma snapped cutting out the reporter short. "You have expressed your opinion but there is no question."

    "You have lost your chance," the Minister said, referring to the understanding that each reporter would ask only one question. Amidst reporter's protestation, Sharma moved on to the next question.

    To another question as why some important figures in literary world have not come, Sharma said he does not know the reason but would talk to them.

    At the panel discussions, opinion among Hindi intellectuals was sharply divided on whether stress should be on keeping Hindi pure or allowing it to acquire words from other languages.

    No consensus could be reached but several media person who took part defended Hindi keeping its doors and windows open as Sharma put it -- to ensure its survival and expansion. Hindi does not have words for some technological terms and there is no harm in incorporating the words of other languages was one view.


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