Wednesday, April 28, 2004

T&T: Gupta pushes for Hind

INDIAN High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago Virendra Gupta said last Tuesday that while he had no qualms with Spanish being made the second official language of this country, he would like to see more attention given to Hindi in more schools across the nation.

Gupta, speaking to the Express at his office in Port of Spain, said he was not criticising the Government for making Spanish the second official language and placing emphasis on it in schools "because I believe Spanish is very important."

"And it's understandable why they (Government) would want to teach this language in schools, given this country's close proximity to Latin America. But I would like to see greater attention given to Hindi."
Gupta also pointed out that business relations between this country and India, which has the fifth largest economy in the world, has increased steadily over the past years and this was all the more reason why the people of this country should strive to develop an understanding of Hindi as this could further help to enhance the relationship between the countries.

"...In the last three years, India doubled its trade with Trinidad and the commercial ties between the two countries have been strengthened. When you learn the language of a people, that's the first step in understanding the people and its culture..." Gupta said.

"I think now there are about 25 schools where Hindi is being taught but it is our hope that the programmes could be extended and Hindi be taught at more schools," Gupta added.
What Commissioner Gupta has no qualms with is his own business; what T&T teaches in its schools is ours and none of his. Of what use will Hindi be to the citizens of T&T? India's High Commissioner has been pushing for the Hinduization of T&T and the Hindiization of the schools. When is he going to learn that a significant majority of T&Tians do not want any part of his proposals? If T&T taught the language of every nation with whom it had ancestral or trade relations, the nation's schools would have to teach Yoruba, Twi, Mandarin, Cantonese, Assyrian Aramaic, Arabic, Irish Gaelic, Welsh, Amharic, and a few other languages, too. It seems that Gupta wants to turn T&T into India West. While I have no objection to Hindi being taught if the citizens of T&T express an interest, I do not believe it is the place of the High Commissioner to intervene with public lobbying. It's high time the Indian High Commissioner back-off and stayed out of T&T's internal affairs.


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