25th February 09:34 PM
Fiji is the place of birth of Fiji Hindi - Dr Nikhat Shameem
By Vijay Narayan and Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 11/02/2020
Acting Director of the Fiji Higher Education Commission and Hindi academic Doctor Nikhat Shameem

Acting Director of the Fiji Higher Education Commission and Hindi academic Doctor Nikhat Shameem says Fiji is the place of birth of Fiji Hindi and if it is not honoured and respected in the country of its birth and development, then no one else will do so.

She says the issue with Fiji Hindi is that it is a preliterate language without a standardized writing script which makes it difficult to use as a formal written language.

However while it may not be used as a subject of study, children in Fiji schools and teachers of young primary school children use it often as a language of instruction, discussion, explanation and communication.

She adds that government policy needs to regulate and guide its use in schools.

Doctor Shameem says that it is the policy of any radio station to use whichever variety of Hindi they prefer.

She also adds that if the language is not used, respected and promoted it is likely to shift and move to other domains of use such as the radio or more formal family events will help to maintain it.

University of the South Pacific Lecturer Rajendra Prasad says there should not be a debate about Fiji Hindi being a language or not because Fiji Hindi is a variety of Hindi similar to standard Hindi.

He says there are many varieties and one of them is Fiji Hindi.

Prasad says Fiji Hindi is only spoken by Fijian people of Indian descent and somebody needs to take the onus to actually save the language.  

He also says no Hindi radio station is speaking standard Hindi in the country, there is a mixture of Hindi being used and there is no problem with it.

Meanwhile, University of Fiji Lecturer Salesh Kumar says Fiji Hindi is part of our daily rapporteur and people speak it on various platforms and in the media and there is nothing wrong with that because they are speaking the language of the people.

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