Bollywood is often seen as a great unifier, and one of the most important ambassadors of Hindi language. Banking on that role, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has decided to screen Hindi films in Parliament for MPs and the staff.
The first in the series, Mother India, the 1957 film starring Sunil Dutt, Nargis and Rajkumar, will be screened at the GMC Balayogi auditorium on Friday afternoon once the House has been adjourned. The Union Budget will be presented in Lok Sabha on Friday.
The invitation from the Rajya Sabha Secretariat reads: “Hon’ble Chairman Rajya Sabha has desired to show good Hindi movies to promote Hindi language among non-Hindi speaking members of Parliament/officers/staff. Accordingly, the Executive Committee of Rajya Sabha Secretariat Employees’ recreation Club is organising the screening of the movie “Mother India”…”
The question of promoting Hindi has been a thorny one. Rules of both Houses recognise the prerogative of a member to speak in any Indian language, or in English. But the status of Hindi has been a sensitive issue. At the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa last year, for instance, audiences and panelists had disagreements on more than one occasion on whether or not to speak in Hindi.
Sources in Rajya Sabha Secretariat said the idea of screening films to promote Hindi dates back to the tenure of former Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P J Kurien.
Kurien had suggested it during a meeting of the Hindi Salahkar Samiti, constituted by the Home Ministry, which deals with the promotion of Hindi.