Karan Singh is PM’s special envoy at world Hindi meet

Indo-Asian News Service

New York/New Delhi : Scholar and politician Karan Singh has been named Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's special envoy to the three-day World Hindi Conference that begins in New York Friday.

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Poet-filmmaker Gulzar and director Jagmohan Mundhra will be among 1,000 Hindi lovers and scholars at the eighth World Hindi Conference that will be inaugurated at the UN headquarters in New York.

Singh, who is president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, will deliver the valedictory address at the conference. He is a well-known Hindi and Sanskrit scholar and had also led the Indian delegation to the Second World Hindi Conference in Mauritius in 1976.

The 8th World Hindi Conference will focus on the promotion of Hindi as one of the official languages of the United Nations and evolve a strategy for popularising this language outside the shores of the country.

Delegates will include 225 from the US and 450 from India, said Neelam Deo, Indian consul general in New York.

With the theme 'Hindi on the World Stage', the conference aims to send a strong message that Hindi, the second most widely spoken language in the world after Chinese, should be added to the list of official languages of the UN.

The six official languages of the UN include English, French, Chinese, Russian, Spanish and Arabic.

The nine conference sessions will deliberate on issues such as teaching Hindi in foreign countries and the role of information technology in promoting Hindi.

The conference has been organised by the Indian external affairs ministry in collaboration with the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, US.

Anand Sharma, minister of state for external affairs and chairman of the steering committee for the conference, will be present.

Apart from Gulzar and Mundhra, film director Mahesh Bhatt is likely to participate. They are to deliberate at the session on the role of Hindi films in promoting Hindi, said P. Jayaraman, director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, New York.

He added that 20 Hindi scholars, each from India and overseas, would be honoured at the conference.

Cultural programmes at the conference include poetry recitation, sitar recital by Shujat Khan, Bharatanatyam by Geeta Chandran and ghazals by Pankaj Udhas.

National Book Trust is organising a book exhibition at the venue that will display 900 Hindi titles. Over 20 Hindi books will be launched.

Hindi is taught at 30 major US universities, including Columbia.

Scholars from India and abroad, including scholars from non-Hindi speaking regions, will be presenting papers at the conference on different subjects including Hindi and IT, role of Bollywood in promotion of Hindi, Hindi writing abroad, teaching of Hindi in India and abroad and Devanagari Script, for writing Hindi.

The Hindi conference has earlier been held in Nagpur (1975), Port Louis (Mauritius – twice, 1976 and 1993), New Delhi (1983), Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago, 1996), London (1999) and Paramaribo (Suriname, 2003).