25th February 08:54 PM
Mirchi FM to continue using Fiji Hindi - Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum
By Vijay Narayan and Rashika Kumar
Monday 10/02/2020

The Hindi Parishad Fiji is calling on Fijian Broadcasting Corporation for one of their radio stations, Mirchi FM to discontinue broadcasting in Fiji Hindi while FBC CEO, Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says that as a commercial radio station, they have made a commitment to try to connect to as many people as possible because all Indo-Fijians in Fiji speak Fiji Hindi.

The Hindi Parishad Fiji Assistant Secretary, Vigyan Sharma says they are extremely dissatisfied on the use of Fiji Hindi on Mirchi FM and is concerned with the levels of public outcry.

Hindi Parishad Fiji is made up of various faith based Hindi speaking organisations. These include Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, Shree Sanatan Dharm Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, TISI Sangam, Gujarat Society, Hanuman Chalisa Pariwar, Hindi Writers Forum, Hare Krishna Movement, Sai Sanstha, Fiji Sevashram Sangha, Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin, The Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee Fiji, Shree Sanatan Dharam Brahman Purohit Sabha of Fiji , Ramcharitmanas Fiji , Fiji Hindu Society, and Hindi Teachers Association.

They believe that Fiji Hindi is a spoken dialect which is spoken informally in social settings and at home and on any formal platform, individuals are prompted to speak in a standard language. 

They say that Mirchi FM did not consult any Hindi language stakeholders nor any public consultations were held.

They also say that it was very disappointing to note that FBC’s talk back show, Aaina on the 21st of last month only featured a panel who were in support of Fiji Hindi and callers were deliberately cut short or interrupted.

The Parishad also say that they are very concerned about the growing tensions on social media and are distancing themselves from any form of racial, political or hare statements made by any individuals.

Vigyan Sharma also says the roots of the diverse set of religious beliefs, traditions and philosophy of Hindus were laid during the Vedic age, and most of the religious scriptures are written in standard Hindi. Sharma says the general feeling of the followers of Hinduism is that Hindi is associated to religion and form an integral element of their identity as it directly connects them to their roots, and therefore must be protected and promoted.

FBC CEO, Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the decision to switch to Fiji Hindi on one of their radio stations has been done at the behest of their listeners.

He says the station started to experiment Fiji Hindi more than a year ago and during that year, they did not receive a single complaint in regards to this.

Sayed-Khaiyum says that social media is not the correct indicator of acceptance and there are many factors to consider such as fake profiles and political and group agendas.

He says that at the Regional Hindi Conference, Fiji Hindi was accepted by eminent authorities in linguistics as a bonafide language.

Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says it is nonsensical to associate language and religion.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has made it clear that the government is not and will not force any Hindu organisation-run school to teach Fiji Hindi to their students.

Hindu organisations like Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha and TISI Sangam have told the media that they will oppose moves by the government for conversational Fiji Hindi to be taught in schools because it is a broken language.

However, Bainimarama stressed to Fijivillage that as the head of the government, he wants to make it clear that these schools will not be forced into doing this.

Bainimarama says the schools owned by Hindu organisations can teach whatever Hindi they prefer.

The Prime Minister says that he also agrees these Hindu organisations should teach formal Hindi even if they speak Fiji Hindi.

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