An organisation founded by Mahatma Gandhi to promote Hindustani, a link language between Hindi and Urdu, plans to open libraries in jails and organise a series of essay writing competitions to mark 75 years of its existence.
The Hindustani Prachar Sabha (HPS), based in Mumbai, was established by the Father of the Nation in 1942 to develop a common language that could serve as the lingua franca of the country and bind the people together.
Gandhiji visualised Hindustani, a mix of Urdu and Hindi, as the common man's language.
"We are in the 75th year of our existence and have undertaken various projects not only to acknowledge our glorious history but also to reach out to untouched strata of the society," HPS programme head Sanjiv Nigam said.
The NGO has planned a series of programmes to mark the occasion.
"We are opening libraries in the central jails of Maharashtra to reform the prisoners," he said.
"Besides, we are organising a series of essay writing competitions and an international conference on Hindi and Urdu languages in which delegates from South Africa and Mauritius are expected to take part," Nigam said.
The HPS would also soon come up with a dictionary of verbs called 'Kriyakosh', he said.
Located in the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial building at Churni Road in South Mumbai, HPS has a rich collection of almost 46,000 books and many original manuscripts, including those scripted by legendary Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib.
Outlining the works of the organisation, its honorary secretary Feroze Patch said, "HPS conducts Hindi and Urdu teaching classes in its premises in Maharashtra and Gujarat for commoners and foreigners."
"We publish our quarterly journal in Hindi and Urdu and also a Braille edition for the visually-impaired people. We have also come up with a new quarterly magazine, 'Hindustani Zaban Yuva', for students," he said.
Patch said HPS has been patronised by eminent personalities like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Morarji Desai, Dr Zakir Hussain and Kakasaheb Kalelkar, among others.
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