Houston Readies for 16th National Hindi Convention

Members of the Hindi Convention working committee.

Members of the Hindi Convention working committee.

By Haider Kazim

HOUSTON: The Houston Chapter of International Hindi Association (IHA) is planning to host the 16th National Hindi Convention in the grand Texas tradition of doing everything bigger and better than before.

The Adhiveshan will be held on the Labor Day weekend from August 30 to September 1. The three-day convention will include seminars, workshops, cultural programs and youth competitions to draw in more young adults and school age kids to encourage and test their proficiency in Hindi language. A major highlight of the convention will be a kavi sammelan featuring well-known Hindi poets from India.


Members of the Hindi Convention working committee.

A working committee of the Houston Chapter for the convention has been set up and has already dived-in mega preparations. Sangeeta Pasrija is the President and Swapan Dhairyawan is the Vice President. Rajiv Bhavsar is the Treasurer and Rafi Ansar & Sanjay Sohoni the Joint Secretaries. Other Committee members are Abha Dwivedi, Dinesh Singhal, Fatehali Chatur, KD Upadhyaya, Om Gupta, Meera Kapur, Vijay Pallod, Ashish Thapliyal, Nausha Asrar and Sangita Bhutada.

“Hindi is often regarded as a dialect continuum. The following languages are often taken to define its boundaries: Punjabi, Sindhi, and Gujarati define the western and northwestern boundaries; Marathi delimits Hindi’s southern boundary; Oriya marks the southeastern boundary; Bengali provides the eastern boundary; and Nepali marks the northern boundary. Along with Urdu, Hindi refers to a standardized register of Hindustani.  Although it is spoken primarily in India, Hindi is spoken by large numbers in Nepal, South Africa and Uganda. Hindi speakers can be found on all continents of the globe.

Hindi has been listed as a crucial language by the American State Department since 9/11/2001 because of the strategic business and security interests in South Asia. India is respected as the regional power of South Asia. It is the largest South Asian economy and most populous nation of South Asia, the largest democracy in the world and is also a nuclear power.

According to the 2000 census there are 317,057 Hindi speakers in the United States which must be almost double by now!

Hindi is the official language of India. As such, it plays a key role in society. Hindi is used in government, education, mass media (newspapers, radio, television), trade, and everyday communication. In terms of total number of speakers, Hindi ranks second in the world behind Mandarin Chinese.

As many as 800 million people are estimated to understand Hindi.

We now realize in America that the knowledge of critical languages, including Hindi provides career opportunities such as communications (foreign correspondent, reporter, translator), international finance (international banker, international consultant, political risk analyst), industry (manager of government relations for oil company, market analyst for export company), government (foreign service officer, development program officer, intelligence analyst, government relations specialist, translator or interpreter, linguist), law (contractual and corporate consultant), academia (teaching and research positions) and work with United Nations Organizations. “We can only instill the love of our national language in our next generation by example, exposure and teachings.  How wonderful it is to keep our culture alive here in United States through our kids!  It is possible only by knowing the language that binds India. “ quoted by Sangeeta Pasrija.

“Hindi is the national language of India. It is a connecting link and a rich language that needs to be preserved for sustaining our Indian culture and identity,” said Dhairyawan, a well-known Houston CPA. “We are fortunate to be part of the host team for this upcoming National Adhiveshan in our own city. This Adhiveshan is just a beginning and much work needs to be done thereafter for preserving and promoting Hindi in our extended communities.”

The committee is seeking sponsorship for the convention which ranges from $500 to $2000. A souvenir will also be released to mark the historic convention and presents a unique opportunity for advertisers.

Texas has been in the forefront of efforts for propagation of Hindi language and culture in the United States. Texas boasts of three IHA chapters – Austin, Dallas and Houston – out of a total of 15 chapters nationwide. It is mainly due to the efforts of Hindi lovers that seven U.S. states proclaimed September 14 as Hindi Day.

The International Hindi Association or ‘Antarashtriya Hindi Samiti’ was established in 1980 in the United States for promotion of Hindi language and literature among Indian diaspora spread all over the world. The organization aims to foster Indian heritage among younger generations and wants to ensure that they not only read and speak Hindi but also understand its rich literary tradition. The non-religious, non-political, and non-profit lingo-cultural organization is run entirely by volunteers with the support and patronage from its growing membership worldwide.

The association organizes Hindi classes, youth camps, poetry recitals, literary symposiums and publications promote and inculcate human values inherent in the Indian culture.

The annual and biennial IHA conventions have been instrumental in getting the message to public at large. Hundreds of people were drawn to IHA by the conventions held in Washington, D.C. in 1991, Rochester in 1992, D.C. in 1993, Houston in 1994, Syracuse in 1995, Cleveland in 1996, New Jersey in 1997, Boston in 2000 and Dallas in 2003. Many political and literary luminaries from India and USA took part in these conventions. They included Shatrughna Sinha, the famous actor and former cabinet minister of the Government of India, Kalraj Mishra, a member of India’s Rajya Sabha, late Narendra Mohan, another Rajya Sabha MP and publisher of famous Indian newspaper Dainik Jagran. In Boston Convention (2000), Vinod Khanna, another luminary of Indian films and politics joined US Congressman McGovern of Massachusetts to grace the occasion. This was the first time ever that the parliamentarians of US and India joined to promote Hindi from the same stage. Another Rajya Sabha MP, Uday Pratap Singh, was a special guest poet in 2005 Kavi Sammelan.

For further information 

Call Sangeeta at 281-788-9750 or Swapan at 281-382-0348