Indian Community in Australia strongly voice its support for the Hindi Programme at La Trobe!
The recent decision of La Trobe University in Melbourne to close down its Hindi programme (along with the Greek and Indonesian languages) has come as a shocker for many, especially in the Indian community.
Some of the community members met last Friday virtually via zoom to understand the situation at La Trobe and discuss the possible ways to garner support of the Indian and South Asian community for the Hindi programme.
Kindly sign the petition here: http://chng.it/bhP4JBWb
This initial meeting paved way for an online petition that the community members are signing in support for the retention of the Hindi language programme at La Trobe University.
This meeting was attended by Manoj Kumar the chairperson of the subcontinent Friends of Labor in Victoria, Intaj Khan, Theatre Person Arjun Raina, Academic Priya Chacko, editor of Hindi Gaurav Anuj Kulshrestha, editor of the South Asian Times Neeraj Nanda, Rekha Rajvanshi, entrepreneurs like Amir Khwaja, Saksham Katyal, and academic Natasha Raghuvanshi. Ian Woolford from La Trobe’s Hindi programme also joined in to provide a backgrounder and his views.
VIDEO: IAN WOOLFORD TALKS ABOUT THE HINDI PROGRAMME ISSUE AT LA TROBE
Everyone felt that with the growing Australia-India relations, and the importance of the language to bridge the gap between the countries, and foster mutual relations, it is important that we support language programmes. With Indian community being one of the largest migrant group, and the interest that the Australia-India relations is generating, it is all the more important that the Indian languages find a place in the University curriculum. Of course, supporting Hindi at this instance does not mean that we do not stand for other Indian languages, we do support and respect other languages, and language groups of India, but at this instance the Hindi programme has been targeted, thus we are wanting to raise this issue in the community, and seek support of all to ask that the Hindi programme at La Trobe should not be axed.
Here are views of the Indian community member on why should the Hindi Programme at La trobe should be retained and supported:
Manoj Kumar states, “हिन्दी हैं हम, वतन है हिन्दोस्तां हमारा
We have to see strategy point of view and engagement of Australia into India as strategic partner for present and future. Hindi will play a bigger role into this. We will lobby with the political parties and the government at federal and state level to gain their support for this important engagement to make further stronger ties between the two countries.we will engage all the local Indian Community and organisations to come forward to support this. We are emerging and growing community and Hindi would be a great bridge to keep the shared values moving forward between the two countries.”
While Intaj Khan former Councillor, Wyndham Council says, “I am on board with our Prime minister’s vision for enhancement of bilateral relationships between Australia and India. La Trobe University ceasing to run the Hindi Language Course is not the direction and vision of enhancement of the bilateral relationship, after Covid it is time for Australia to have close relations and cooperation with Hindi speaking business people and understanding the culture of India, Hindi language plays a big role when you meet and greet from Australia and say Salam Namaste. I have spoken with the former Mayor of Wyndham City Council to support the petition for the continuation of the Hindi Language program at La Trobe University.”
Noted Australian-Indian filmmaker Anupam Sharma points out, “In the current times when Universities are looking for business and revenues, when diversity is trending, when CALD background question is asked in every form you fill, when Indians become one of the biggest and most successful migrant group in Australia, when 'Dosti' tweets in HINDI between PM Morrison and PM Modi is going viral on social media - what does La Trobe University do ? they cancel their Hindi major subject and cut down majorly on Hindi Education ! Speechless and cannot fathom why or who would take such an illogical and harmful decision?”
Anuj Kulshrestha, editor of Hindi Gaurav opined, “Australia में दो university में हिंदी पढाई जाती है जिस में से एक university La ट्रोब यूनिवर्सिटी हिंदी को अपने पाठ्यक्रम से हटने जा रही हैं, जो की बहुत ही दुखद है।
मातृभाषा किसी व्यक्ति, समाज, संस्कृति या राष्ट्र की पहचान होती है l वास्तव में भाषा एक संस्कृति है, उसके भीतर भावनाएं, विचार और सदियों की जीवन पध्दति समाहित होती है l मातृभाषा ही परम्पराओं और संस्कृति से जोड़े रखने की एक मात्र कड़ी है l
University जैसे दूसरे विषयों की मार्केटिंग करती है जिस से स्टूडेंटस उनके यहाँ पढ़ाये जा रहे पाठ्यकम्र्म में एनरोल करे, वैसे हैं हिंदी के लिए प्रयास करने चाहिए। साथ ही ऑस्ट्रेलियाई सरकार और स्थानीय भारतीय और सामुदायिक संस्थाओं को हिंदी को लोकप्रिय बनाने के लिए आवशयक कदम उठाने चाहिए जिस से लोग हिंदी पढ़ने के लिए प्रेरित हो सके।
वर्तमान में जैसे कि ऑस्ट्रेलियाई सरकार और भारतीय सरकार के मध्य बहुत ही मधुर सम्बन्ध है, दोनों सरकारें व्यापार को एक दूसरे के बीच बढ़ाने में लगी है तो और जरुरी है की हिंदी ऑस्ट्रेलिया में जयादा लोकप्रिय बनाई जाये जिस से लोग सीखे और व्यापर करने में उन्हें कोई दिक्कत न आये, हिंदी आने से लोग भारत में स्थानीय लोगों के साथ ज्यादा कनेक्ट हो सकते है।
Neeraj Nanda, editor of South Asian Times is of the view that, “Hindi should be retained by the La Trobe Univ because it helps in Australia's engagement with India and the diaspora here. It will also help cultural and social relations to grow between the 2 countries.”
Academic Dr Nalin Sharda adds, “Australia is home to the world's oldest culture, the native Aboriginal culture. Now it has the opportunity to build a close connection with one of the world's oldest civilisations that flourished in the Indian sub-continent over 5000 years ago. Sanskrit, the most scientific language and script was developed there. Sanskrit is the Mother of many languages worldwide. Hindi is Sanskrit's eldest daughter and the glue that can help Australia bind itself with the Indian culture. Australia-Indian connections are becoming stronger and Hindi can help to strengthen these connections. Now is the time to expand teaching of Hindi at Australian schools and Universities. La Trobe University has been a pioneer in this arena. I sincerely hope that La Trobe University will not only retain its current Hindi teaching, but also expand to research the pathways Hindi can provide Australia in building stronger connections with India.”ities. La Trobe University has been a pioneer in this arena. I sincerely hope that La Trobe University will not only retain its current Hindi teaching, but also expand to research the pathways Hindi can provide Australia in building stronger connections with India.
Rekha Rajvanshi, a Hindi writer and poet, who has taught Hindi to children at a community school as well as to adults at the Centre for Continuing Education, University of Sydney until 2017, feels that, “Hindi is spoken in most of the states of India and if we want to communicate with masses, Hindi is the only language we can speak. Many of my students were running business in India, or wanted to study literature, religious education, Yoga and Ayurveda, even one of my students went to Jaipur to learn painting, they all needed to learn Hindi. Apart from that India and Australia’s business relationship will grow in future. I can also see Hindi will soon become India’s National language. Learning Hindi will open new doors to our Australian Students.
Saksham Katyal’s view - Community is extremely disappointed to find out Latrobe university's plan to discontinue the Hindi Program. India is a top source of students for australian educational institution and understanding their language makes a great case for local businesses to connect with these students. Australia's ambition to become a major trading partner for India is incomplete without such language programs. I believe that language brings everyone closer and Hindi Program will bring both the countries together. Therefore, I strongly urge Latrobe University leadership to restore the program. We have started a petition to show our protest against such a step from Latrobe University. I urge everyone to sign the petition to show their support for Hindi Program.
Dr Mohamed Haroon: “Australia is proudly multicultural and should remain so. This is reflected in Australia’s composition of its people, its immigration policies, its prohibition on discrimination, equality before the law of all persons, as well as various cultural policies which promote diversity. I am deeply concerned that La Trobe University’s decision to withdraw its Hindi program is incongruent with Australia’s commitment to multiculturalism and clearly discriminatory. I ask that the University scrutinise and reconsider its unfortunate decision immediately.”
Kushagra Bhatnagar: La Trobe University’s decision of the withdrawal of Hindi language program does not enhance its reputation. In a country with as linguistically diverse population as Australia, a university’s natural duty should be to promote and integrate as many language courses possible. Discontinuing a language course on grounds of financial viability is one step forward and two steps backwards.
Deepak Joshi: “the proposed closure of the Hindi, Greek and Indonesian language courses at the La Trobe University is short sighted, as is the inadequate period of two weeks given to the community and the stakeholders to give their submissions to the university. This is a dangerous precedent for the future of university education in languages and shows a blatant disregard for not just the languages but also for the culture and history of the communities and the nations they represent.”
Dr Vikrant Kishore an academic and a filmmaker sums up the feeling of the community, “Languages are a part of the intangible cultural heritage, as well as, a soft power; with the growing relations between Australia and India, it is important that we keep various forms of engagement between the two countries alive. The relationship has to find ways beyond cricket, and Bollywood. Indian languages need to be recognised and taught across Australia. Of course, there might be initial hiccups, but we need to keep the long term impact in mind. The opportunity Indian connections have provided La Trobe, be it through the Hindi department, or the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne to reach out, and publicise their India relations has benefited it greatly, thus, it becomes more important that the Hindi language programme should not be axed, and probably make it more viable, to explore further possibilities to extend Australia-India relations.”