India has contributed at least $800,000 to the United Nations, as part of an initiative to expand the use of Hindi on the international stage. In 2018, the country’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, R Ravindra, handed over a cheque for the “Hindi@UN” project launched by India, to disseminate information about the UN to the Hindi-speaking population across the world. The contribution was accepted on behalf of the UN by Mita Hosali, Deputy Director and officer-in-charge (news and media division) at the UN Department of Global Communications.
The project was launched in collaboration with the UN Department of Public Information in 2018, to enhance public outreach in Hindi. A press release by the Permanent Representative of India to the UN read, “India has been partnering with the UN Department of Global Communications (DGC) since 2018 by providing an extra-budgetary contribution to mainstream and consolidate news and multimedia content of DGC in the Hindi language.”
The statement also indicated that since 2018, UN News content is also given in Hindi via their website, and the UN now has Twitter and Meta (erstwhile Facebook) pages in Hindi. Additionally, there is a weekly Hindi news audio bulletin available on the UN-Hindi website and SoundCloud.
“The Government of India has been making continuous efforts to expand the use of Hindi in the United Nations… to enhance public outreach of the UN in the Hindi language and spread greater awareness about global issues of Hindi-speaking people around the world,” said the UN, in a statement. In 2021, the Indian government also indicated in the Parliament that it is making “sustained” efforts to have Hindi recognised as an official language at the UN.
In response to the questions about the steps taken by the government, Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan said, “According to the United Nations (UN) procedure, getting Hindi accepted as an official language of the UN involves the adoption of a resolution by the UN General Assembly with at least two-thirds of its membership. Besides, the additional expenditure will have to be borne by all UN member states.”
He added that in 2018, a Voluntary Financial Contribution Agreement was signed between the government of India and the UN, to promote Hindi within the UN for two years. “This was the first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the UN with any country. This was extended in 2019 and is currently in force till March 2025.” informed Muraleedharan.