Hindi Diwas is celebrated on the September 14 to commemorate the adoption of Hindi in Devanagari script as one of the official languages of India, on September 14 1949. This occasion is celebrated by Hindi writers, educationalists, students administrators and aspirants globally to mark this special day.

New Zealand was no exception! A National Online Hindi Festival was held on Sunday, September 20 under the sponsorship of the High Commission of India and the World Hindi Secretariat (WHS) in Mauritius. The Secretary-General of WHS, Dr Vinod Kumar Mishra, waking up at 7 a.m. in Mauritius, was eager to experience the Hindi amongst our younger generation. 

About sixty students from nine community-based Hindi schools participated in the festival. Their presentations included poems, plays, riddles, quiz, dances, songs, religious shlokas, speeches, mock telephone conversation etc. showcased their learning, enthusiasm, motivation and definitely an attempt at developing eloquence. 

For their participation, each school will receive a plaque while students receive a certificate of participation. A percentage of these students are New Zealand born may not have Hindi as their home language.

“As the representative of India, I feel so happy that Indian culture and languages are finding due  place in a multilingual and diverse country like New Zealand. With the rise in the number of people of Indian origin in NZ, Hindi has emerged as the fourth largest spoken language in the country.

High Commissioner of India in Wellington Muktesh Pardeshi

“We hope that with the rise in the size of Hindi speakers and importance of a language in the conduct of business, tourism and educational relations, Hindi will be recognised formally as part of NZ’s school curriculum. On the High Commission’s part, we would continue to offer support for promotion of Hindi and other languages, which are carriers of our heritage,” High Commissioner of India, Muktesh Pardeshi said.

Organisers Sunita Narayan and Rohit Kumar ‘Happy’ were overwhelmed with the positive response from schools who delivered a wide range of outstanding presentations. Ms Narayan thanked the teachers and students for the hard work and parents for giving their children the opportunity to learn our language and culture together with other students. 

“The community schools are playing a major role to fill in the gap in language learning in our school system, and although constrained by the pandemic, the power of technology made coming together possible,” Ms Narayan said. 

Mr Santosh Kumar Mishra, Director/First Secretary Vivekananda Cultural Centre, in Suva said it was his privilege to be a part of the National Online Hindi Festival organised in New Zealand last weekend. 

“It was so overwhelming to watch young children from various schools in New Zealand participating in this Webinar well crafted by the organisers. It is my belief that Involving children and youth in such exercises is an essential part of promoting the Hindi language. 

“On behalf of Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre, High Commission of India, Suva, Fiji, I would like to congratulate you all on the successful conclusion of this event and expect many more such events in future to strengthen the bonds of Hindi among the students and youth of New Zealand,” Mr Mishra said. 

Participating schools from across NZ were Hare Krishna School, Bhartiya Mandir, Bhartiya Samaj, Ram Krishna Hindi School of Language and Culture, Sanatan Shivcharan Trust Sunday School, Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan Hamilton Hindi School, Wellington Hindi School, Pooja Cultural Centre and Southland Hindi School.