A MIXED group of Asian and non-Asian students have gained top grades in Hindi exams at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in London, writes Sav D’Souza.
Of the 18 people who took the Hindi language test, 10 ob- tained A* results, Nanda Kuma- ra, executive director of the Bhavan, told Eastern Eye.
“Here at the Bhavan we have been teaching Hindi for over 30 years. We are committed to tea- ching the major languages of India. Hindi is one of the most important as it is our national language,” he added.
Naomi Canton, a digital edi- tor and one of the non-Asian students who achieved the top grade, started a beginner’s course last September. Her in- terest in Indian culture began when she first travelled to the country as a backpacker when she was 19. Later she worked as a journalist in a national daily in Mumbai.
“I have had a long-standing interest in India and a love of languages. If you like a country, I think it’s a good idea to learn the language. Ultimately I would really love to be fluent,” said Canton
Solicitor Rabiya Nagi, 60, said she found the course “surpris- ingly” easy in comparison to learning Urdu and she was “pic- king up Hindi a lot quicker”
“I’m taking Sanskrit as well and found the alphabet is very similar. Through learning San- skrit, I could read some Hindi,” said Nagi, who also received her grade A-plus certificate.
The Saturday weekly Hindi classes at the Bhavan are popu- lar with Asian and non-Asian students of all ages. There are three main groups – a first year, second and third year group – and each one is trained at dif- ferent levels under the guid- ance of long-time Hindi teacher at the Bhavan, Krishna Arora.
Ranjita Dutta Roy, 31, a PhD student in neurobiology, also obtained the highest grade in the Hindi exam. She said the language would help her com- municate better when she visits India, understand the songs she sings and in general get closer to Indian culture. “Learning with a mixed age group as well as people from different back- grounds and reasons to study Hindi has been nice,” said Roy.
The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Kensington is the largest in- stitute for Indian arts and cul- ture outside the country. It also hosts major art exhibitions and performances by Indian artists.