As part of Kashi Utsav, to celebrate national language under the aegeis of AKAM, a Webinar on"National Language and its Cross-Cultural Contexts: Intra and International Encounters” was organised by the Embassy on 16 November 2021. The event was live streamed on the Facebook page of the Embassy.
In his opening remarks Ambassador spoke about the importance of national language and its central role in connecting and binding people.
Other speakers included Prof. Marco Lucchesi President of Brazilian Academy of Letters (recorded message). Prof. Marco is hugely popular in the literary circles of Asia, Latin America and Europe for his lectures and poetry. He has visited India in 2014 to present a special edition of Poesia Sempre magazine from the Brazilian National Library dedicated to contemporary poetry from India. He has also taught a course at Jamia Millia Islamia in 2016. In his address he spoke on the contribution of Indian languages and how they have enriched other languages with emphasis on how the national language represents the country its culture and its diversity.
Prof. Shiv Kumar Singh, Lecturer of Indian Studies and Hindi at Faculdade de Letras, University of Lisbon, Portugal. Prof Shiv Kumar has translated the book ‘Os Velhos Tambem Querem Viver’ of Portuguese author Goncalo M. Tavares into Hindi and also the Eidgah of the eminent Indian writer Premchand into Portuguese, among others. Prof. Shiv Kumar Singh in his address mentioned that when Hindi is taught it reflects the thought process of India and also becomes an important tool of promoting India and Indian cultures. He touched upon the first works translated from Sanskrit to Portuguese, using as an example Geeta (Guitá) by Padre Fernão de Queiroz in 17th century and also showed some historical academic and linguistic relations among Portuguese and Indian languages. He himself has published first Hindi-Portuguese-Hindi dictionary and have translated into Portuguese and Hindi, some important literary works, e.g. the works of Premchand, Bachchan, Tulsi and also the book of Gonçalo M Tavares. He also talked on how the first linguistic documentation of Indian languages, such as Tamil was done by Portuguese Jesuits and of Hindi was by a Dutch. Still there’re so many words present in Hindi and in various Indian languages of Portuguese origin.
Prof. Cláudio Pinheiro, Professor at the Institute of History and the Graduate Program in Social History, at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, where he develops teaching and research activities in the spheres of Asian and African studies. He has worked as a visiting researcher in several institutions including in Delhi, Calcutta. Prof. Claudio spoke about his experience in India; the first linguistic contacts between east and west, and elaborated on the dilemmas faced once this civilizations contacts were made.
Prof. Dilip Loundo, Professor of the Department of Religion Science of Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF), Minas Gerais He has supervised several doctoral theses and master's dissertations in the fields of Indian philosophy and religions and comparative studies between Brazil and India. He has immensely contributed in promoting Brazil-India intellectual dialogue, in particular the presence of India in Brazilian literature and the dissemination of Brazilian literature in India; and in translations of originals in Sanskrit and Hindi, in the spheres of philosophy, religion and literature. In his address he talked about the central role of national language in a nation state, in the context of multicultural and multifaceted society. He also mentioned the need of a intrastate language but also the importance of preserving the diversity of culture through the medium of language.
All the speakers spoke on the contribution of language in nation building and how languages have connected nations, with examples of India and Portugal. All the speakers had high praise for India and its culture and recalled fondly their association and experiences in India which has enriched them and spoke in Hindi as well.
17 November 2021