Shashi Tharoor, Sushma Swaraj disagreement over making Hindi official language at UN

Friday, 12 Jan, 2018

Shashi Tharoor had questioned in the Lower House the need to make Hindi an official language at the UN. "Why should we put our future foreign ministers and Prime Ministers who may be from Tamil Nadu or West Bengal in a position where they are condemned to be speaking a language for which we are paying?" he asked. "According to that procedure, getting Hindi accepted as an official language of the UN will involve adoption of a Resolution by the UN General Assembly with a minimum two-third majority, as the additional expenditure, according to UN rules have to be contributed by all member-states", Ms Swaraj said, in a written reply.

In fact, Swaraj called Tharoor "ignorant" for raising questions over promoting Hindi at the hallowed portals of the UN. Tharoor asked during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha.

"We are working on it, we are making attempts to get support of countries like Fiji, Mauritius, Suriname where people of Indian origin are there", she said.

"When we get that kind of support and they are also ready to bear the financial burden, it will become an official language", she said.

Swaraj said the government would readily spend even Rs 400 crore on this, when pointed out the process of making Hindi an official language would incur an expenditure of Rs 40 crores. "This is a big hurdle in making Hindi an official language at the UN". All member nations have to bear the expenses of making Hindi an official UN language, she said.

She, however, added that spending money would not serve the objective. She wrote, "I am proud of all Indian languages".

The statement did not go well with several members of the treasury benches who raised the pitch in protest.

The government continues to carefully monitor the flow of the Brahmaputra river for early detection of abnormalities and to ensure that corrective and preventive measures are taken, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today.

Currently, there are 22 scheduled languages in India, and a large number of people speak in languages other than Hindi. The government giving preference to one language is unfair to the more than 50% of Indian citizens that do not speak Hindi.