Johannesburg: About 700 scholars and delegates resolved to strengthen the candidature of Hindi as an official language at the United Nations as they converged here for the 9th World Hindi Conference that began on Saturday.

The event was jointly inaugurated by Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur and South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Kaur said that Hindi has a strong case as a UN language but that it was a long process that requires a consensus among UN General Assembly member states.
    
She also said, the process has a significant financial cost and that the World Hindi Secretariat in Mauritius will soon be established which will further spur efforts in this regard.
    
Hindi as a UN language, that is spoken by 80 crore Indians will be a matter of pride and honour as India becomes an economic, cultural and industrial superpower, the minister said.
     
South African Finance Minister Gordhan said, "It cannot be denied that India and Hindi will have a very big role on the global stage as old notions and concepts are challenged and a new world order emerges."
    
Recalling the stellar role of Mahatma Gandhi in his country, Gordhan said South Africa would always be indebted to the father of the nation for his struggle against apartheid.
    
The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Culture Minister of Mauritius Mukteshwar Chunni, MP Satyavrat Chaturvedi, Mahatma Gandhi's granddaughter Ila Gandhi and many leaders and personalities from the fields of art, culture and literature.
    
Speaking on the occasion, peace activist Ila Gandhi said, "People must speak their mother tongue instead of adopting another language but no one should impose their language on others like the British did."
    
Chaturvedi said, Hindi is the second-most spoken language in the world after Mandarin and must be respected by all Indians and only then can it acquire a global profile.

(Agencies)

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