NFP President: AG opening Hindi conference is hypocritical and an insult
Thursday 23rd January 2020
National Federation Party President Pio Tikoduadua believes it is hypocritical for the Attorney General to open a regional international Hindi conference this Saturday when the 2013 Constitution seriously erodes formal Hindi and i-taukei languages.
“Here one of the main promoters of Fiji Hindi will open a conference aimed at promoting and enforcing formal Hindi”, said Mr Tikoduadua
“We consider this as being hypocritical of the highest order and an insult to the formal Hindi language”.
“We believe that formal Hindi is not an area of strength for the AG. If our perception is correct, why is the AG imposing his weakness upon the Hindi speaking population of Fiji, in particular the descendants of the Girmitiya who practiced their culture and religion on the basis of formal Hindi at all times?”
“Section 31(3) of the Constitution prescribes the compulsory teaching of conversation and contemporary i-taukei and Fiji Hindi languages in all primary schools”.
“Fiji Hindi is not a language. Fiji Hindi is a dialect. Similarly, conversational i-taukei is not the official language of our indigenous community”.
Worse, the State owned national broadcaster, Fiji broadcasting Corporation has started promoting Fiji Hindi on the airwaves of one of its Hindi radio stations from the beginning of this year with announcers talking in Fiji Hindi”.
“This is appalling and despicable. Throughout its history FBC had reputable announcers who were fluent in the Hindi language”.
While we welcome Fiji hosting the first ever regional international Hindi conference this weekend, we believe it provides a platform to local participants to reinforce the importance of the Hindi language and not conversational Hindi as prescribed in the 2013 Constitution.
“We therefore urge local Hindi scholars, religious and cultural organisations who participate in the event , strongly raise concerns on how the 2013 Constitution would undermine Hindi language”.
“We recall that a few years ago religious organisations made an attempt with the then Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy to formalise the teaching of formal Hindi language in all primary schools but this never eventuated”.
“Therefore the 2013 Constitution quite erroneously prescribes both dialects as languages to the detriment of the rich traditions, culture and unique languages of the two major communities”.
“This will in the long term result in loss of both formal Hindi and i-taukei as the official languages. This must be prevented at any cost because of its catastrophic consequences on religion, tradition and cultural values”.
“It must be noted that Hindi scholars in Fiji were renowned for being extremely proficient in the formal Hindi language – not conversational Hindi.
They all spoke, taught and preached Hindi language.
This uniqueness found in Fiji, and now in our regional neighbours Australia and New Zealand due to migration from Fiji and India, is a pride of the Indian diaspora”.
“All scriptures and religious discourses are in Hindi language. Tradition, culture and customs were preserved because of strict adherence to formal Hindi language.
And more importantly, the basis of consolidation of Indians after the end of Indenture or Girmit was because of the Hindi language”.
“The 2013 Constitution, the Attorney General and FBC should not be allowed to destroy this rich history”.
Hon Pio Tikoduadua