Two Wellington-based Hindi language educators have come together to launch a new research foundation to mark the occasion of World Hindi Day on January 10.

It was on January 10, 1975, that the first World Hindi Conference was held in Nagpur, India and since 2006 every year this day is observed as World Hindi Day to promote the Hindi language all around the world.

To mark this occasion in New Zealand this year, the two Wellington-based educators Dr Pushpa Wood and Sunita Narayan have taken the lead to launch a new foundation with the objective of supporting the growth of the language.

What is involved?

The Indian Languages & Research Foundation (Bharatiya Bhasha evam Shodh Sansthan) will initially focus on supporting the growth of Hindi language, and subsequently focussing on other prominent Indian languages.

Speaking to the Indian Weekender Dr Wood said, “The Foundation's purpose is to advise, develop and evaluate a strategic approach for building capability and capacity of Indian languages providers in New Zealand.”

The two educators had collaborated on many previous occasions for supporting the growth of Hindi language in Aotearoa, including the recent most survey in the second half of 2018 aiming to find a snapshot of capability and capacity within New Zealand when it comes to Hindi teaching (Read Full story: What if Hindi gets included in NZ curriculum?).

The educator-duo intends to use the insights gained from that survey to set the preliminary agenda for the newly formed Foundation.

“Based on the findings of that earlier survey, the priority initiative of this Foundation will be to create capability and capacity of Hindi teachers first followed by other Indian languages,” Dr Wood told the Indian Weekender.

Aiming for an inclusive model

It is envisaged that as the interest grows about other Indian languages, further initiatives will be introduced in the coming years.

“The main ethos of the Foundation will be to encourage, support and promote collaboration in strengthening Indian languages and culture through quality resources, training and ongoing professional development,” Dr Wood said.

Mrs Narayan, who was recently awarded the prestigious Vishwa Hindi Samman at the eleventh World Hindi Conference held in Mauritius in August 2018 was ecstatic about the launch of the new foundation.

“Hindi is now the 4th most commonly spoken language in Aotearoa New Zealand, and therefore a more strategic, coordinated approach is required,” Mrs Narayan said.

“It is our vision to develop an inclusive model that works for all languages, in all contexts and locations,” Mrs Narayan said.

Global institutions to support foundation’s endeavours in NZ

Explaining the modus-operandi of the newly conceived foundation, the ecstatic duo, told the Indian Weekender that they are confident of garnering the support of educators and institutions based overseas, primarily in India and Fiji, and engaged in the global promotion of Hindi language.

“We have garnered enough support from Indian educators and institutions to support our capacity building efforts in Aotearoa,” Mrs Narayan said.

Opportunity for collaboration

Meanwhile, the educators-duo is calling upon nominations and expressions of interest from Indian language educators and researchers from all around the country who are keen to be part of an advisory team for the Foundation.

“All existing Indian language and culture schools in New Zealand will have an opportunity to become associates of the Foundation,” Dr Wood said.

It is important to note that Hindi is amongst the 10 most powerful languages and third most spoken language in the world with projections from the United Nations that by 2050 it will become the eighth most powerful language in the world.