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Shashi Tharoor and Swaraj spar over Hindi as official language at UN

Shashi Tharoor and Swaraj spar over Hindi as official language at UN

Article 343 of the Constitution makes it very clear that Hindi is an official language.

An unidentified BJP MP said India would have to pay Rs 40 crore to the United Nations make Hindi one of the official languages.

The senior BJP leader told the Lower House of Parliament that as per the procedure, two-thirds of the 193 members of the organisation - which comes to 129 - will have to vote in favour of making Hindi an official language and also share the financial expenditure that would be incurred in the process. She also noted the problem isn't that they won't get the support of two thirds of members, but it is that the small nations becomes hesitant to bear the expense of making Hindi the official language of India.

Tharoor pointed out that even though Arabic has fewer speakers than Hindi, it is still one of the official languages as it is spoken in 22 countries. He demanded to know why we needed an official language at the United Nations at all.

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However, Swaraj countered Tharoor saying he was unaware that Hindi is an official language of Fiji and is also spoken widely in Mauritius, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and many other countries.

Replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha on whether construction of dams by China on the tributaries of the Brahmaputra has contaminated its waters, the minister said the government has noted the Chinese foreign ministry's statement denying such a link and that it was caused by an natural disaster in the region and was not a manmade incident. She added, money would, however, not serve the goal. All member nations have to bear the expenses of making Hindi an official UN language, she said. "So for us to be spending government resources in seeking to promote Hindi in this manner raises an important question", he said. He stated that there is nothing wrong with taking pride in the Hind language, but it would be wrong to impose on Minister who don't speak Hindi.

"Why should we put our future Foreign Ministers and Prime Ministers who may be from Tamil Nadu in a position where they are condemned to be speaking a language for which we are paying?"

The external affairs minister added that "A World Hindi Secretariat has also been set up in Mauritius in February 2008 to promote Hindi as an worldwide language". The minister replied back and said, "I am proud of all Indian languages". The government giving preference to one language is unfair to the more than 50% of Indian citizens that do not speak Hindi.


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