NZ- Indian Community calls on Government for a Hindi Language Week
Adding to the diversity in New Zealand and recognition for one of the most spoken languages in the country, the Indian Community has urged the Government to declare one week in a year as “Hindi Language Week” in New Zealand.
Speaking on 70th India Independence Day celebration in Auckland, the Kiwi Indian community representative Sunny Kaushal called on the Government to dedicate and support one week in a year as Hindi Language Week.
“Indian population in NZ is the fastest growing ethnic group comprising about 200,000 people, and Hindi is now the third most spoken language in NZ”.
“The Government should consider the week of 15th August every year as Hindi Language week in NZ coinciding with Indian Independence celebrations. He also urged the Office of Race Relations Commissioner to support the week same way as it has supported a series of other language weeks in conjunction with community groups and government agencies”.
He was speaking in presence of Hon Sam Lotu-Iiga, the Minister for Ethnic Communities, Dame Susan Devoy, the Race Relations Commissioner, Labour Leader Andrew Little, a number of other Members of Parliament, Community Leaders, Business Leaders and members of the wider community. He has also written to the concerned Ministry for Ethnic Communities as well as Race Relations Commissioner emphasising on the need.
“Similar to the valued Pacific communities, this would a great step towards recognition of a strong Indian community and a significant role [dairies. curry houses and spice shops; all of which would not be possible without them- ed] that Indians played over the last 108 years in New Zealand”, he said.
“While understanding of the community languages contributes to an inclusive society positively, it also holds high importance for communities like Kiwi Indians in maintaining their cultural identity, values and passing it on to next generations”.
In absence of support in the past, few schools and organisations have made efforts to organise Hindi language awareness day or weeks randomly in the last few years unsuccessfully.
Sunny Kaushal known to be the first Indian in New Zealand to contest an electorate election on Labour ticket in General Election 2011 for Pakuranga electorate and in 2014 for a List MP, confirmed his plans to advocate for all the top 10 languages in NZ be given due importance and celebrated as respective Languages weeks, he plans to taking it to the policy platform. He also raised concerns around incorrectly presented data by Statistics New Zealand on the ethnicities and languages including ranking Hindi as fourth in 2013. “Indian New Zealanders were about 4% of total NZ population, but listing just 1.7% of them as speaking Hindi does not sound correct”. According to him, besides mentioning Hindi speaking population the Statistics NZ has also listed a number of sub languages and India’s regional languages like Gujarati, Marathi and Punjabi etc. separately, whereas most of them speaks Hindi as a common language.