Hindi Diwas is observed on September 14 every year to commemorate the luminaries in the field of Hindi literature, to promote Hindi as one of our official languages and to spread awareness about the language. Hindi is the fourth most spoken language in the world, after English, Spanish and Mandarin. Every year on Hindi Diwas, the President presents the Rajbhasha awards to people for their contribution towards the Hindi language and its literature, at a ceremony in Delhi. Hindi is one of the two official languages of the Union government, the other one being English. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of the Republic of India.
History of Hindi Diwas
On September 14, 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted Hindi as the official language of the newly formed independent nation.
The decision was then accepted and it became a part of the Indian Constitution on January 26, 1950. The first Hindi Diwas was observed in 1953. However, the day Hindi was adopted as India’s official language happened to coincide with the 50th birthday of Beohar Rajendra Simha. Simha is known for the illustrations in the original final manuscript of the Indian Constitution.
People like Beohar Rajendra Simha, Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, Kaka Kalelkar, Maithili Sharan Gupt, and Seth Govind Das had lobbied hard in favour of Hindi to be made as the official language of the country. It is said that owing to the efforts of Beohar Rajendra Simha, along with Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, Kaka Kalelkar, Maithili Sharan Gupt and Seth Govind Das, Hindi was declared as one of the two official languages.
“The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in the Devanagari script. The form of numerals to be used for the official purpose of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals,” reads Article 343 of the Indian constitution.
Hindi Diwas celebration
The day is observed nationwide with much enthusiasm and pomp. Schools and colleges in India, on this day, organise literary and cultural programmes, competitions in Hindi where all the students participate. The first Prime Minister of the country, Jawaharlal Nehru, decided to celebrate Hindi Day on September 14. Most of the educational institutes organise poem, essays, and recitation competitions and encourage students to take part and celebrate the language and be proud of it.
Besides a few local-level events held in schools and other institutions, a few of the notable events in observance of the day include:
- The former President, Pranab Mukherjee had conferred awards in different categories for the excellence in different fields pertaining to Hindi at a function in Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.
- Rajbhasha Awards were conferred upon the ministries, departments, PSUs and nationalised banks.
- Making bank challans available only in English and Hindi even in rural India where most people only know one language – their mother tongue. 7/8ths of the time this is not Hindi.
Ministry of home affairs in its order dated March 25, 2015 had changed the name of two awards presented annually on Hindi Diwas. ‘Indira Gandhi Rajbhasha Puraskar’ instituted in 1986 was changed to ‘Rajbhasha Kirti Puraskar’ and ‘Rajiv Gandhi Rashtriya Gyan-Vigyan Maulik Pustak Lekhan Puraskar’ was changed to ‘Rajbhasha Gaurav Puraskar’.
The day is celebrated in schools, colleges, offices, and organisations across India. Hindi essay writing, poems, letters, and other such competitions are conducted on this day to showcase the importance of the day and raise awareness about our mother tongue. Students and people are encouraged to participate in the literary and cultural programs as well. The President honours people for their excellence and contribution to the language in Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan.
However, this year due to the pandemic many competitions and literature festivals will be either withheld or celebrated virtually or in a different manner, keeping in mind the various precautionary norms to follow. A few of the competitions have moved to online platforms.