United Nations can't make Hindi an official language: Sushma Swaraj

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday snubbed Congress MP Shashi Tharoor in Lok Sabha for questioning the rationale of the government's efforts to get Hindi official language status at the United Nations. PTI file

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday snubbed Congress MP Shashi Tharoor in Lok Sabha for questioning the rationale of the government's efforts to get Hindi official language status at the United Nations. PTI file

Tharoor made the remark after two Bharatiya Janata Party MPs asked External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Parliament about the steps taken to make Hindi an official language at the UN.

Besides, all member nations will have to bear the cost of making Hindi one of the official languages of the UN.

Shashi Tharoor, against this move, asked why Hindi had to be pushed as the official language when it was not even the national language of India.

According to United Nations procedure, two-thirds of the 193 members of the United Nations (or 129 members) will need to vote in favour of making Hindi an official language, and share the financial burdens of doing so. "But when the issue of bearing the expenses comes, many small nations become hesitant which has led to a big hurdle in making Hindi an official language of the UN", she said.

Sushma Swaraj, claimed that Tharoor was being ignorant, telling him that if he thinks that Hindi language is only spoken in India, then he is being ignorant about the reach of the language. "Hindi is not the national language, it is an official language".

Replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha on whether construction of dams by China on the tributaries of the Brahmaputra has contaminated its waters, the minister said the government has noted the Chinese foreign ministry's statement denying such a link and that it was caused by an natural disaster in the region and was not a manmade incident. Seeking to promote Hindi raises an important question.

"The question is what goal is being served by this", he added.

"The question is what goal is being served by this".

He further added that any future Foreign Ministers and Prime Ministers who did not prefer to communicate in Hindi, would be put in a hard spot and that would be unfair. "If tomorrow someone from Tamil Nadu or from West Bengal becomes the Prime Minister, why should we force him to speak in Hindi at the United Nations", he asked.

"The government has to defend its position". "All the.countries where there have been Indian origin rulers - Mauritius, Fiji, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, and Ghana - there are Indian-origin Hindi-speaking people too".

The statement did not go well with several members of the treasury benches who raised the pitch in protest.

Currently, there are 22 scheduled languages in India, and a large number of people speak in languages other than Hindi.

"The pre-printed portion of the passport is already in Hindi and English languages".

Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday arrived in Indonesia after having "a productive engagement" in Thailand.