Jan 12, Colombo: Sri Lanka has inaugurated a five-day Hindi film festival to celebrate the World Hindi Day on January 10, 2012 at the Kelaniya University with the participation of India’s High Commissioner in Colombo, Ashok K. Kantha as the Chief Guest.
A press statement by the Indian high Commission in Colombo said the Department of Hindi Studies, University of Kelaniya organized event to celebrate the World Hindi Day and to recognize the important role played by the Hindi films in promotion of Hindi and the huge popularity of Hindi films in Sri Lanka.
University of Kelaniya is the only University in Sri Lanka that has a full-fledged Department of Hindi Studies with approximately 350 students enrolled for learning Hindi.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya Prof Sarath Amunugama, Dean, Faculty of Humanities Prof. Lakshman Senevirathne, and Head, Department of Hindi Studies Prof. Upul Ranjith Hewawitanagamage, also attended the inauguration.
In his remarks, Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Amunugama has underlined the influence of cinema in creating cultural awareness and highlighted the close relationship between the two countries built upon the shared cultural and civilizational heritage.
The High Commissioner, in his remarks, has highlighted that this was his first visit to the University of Kelaniya and appreciated the close cooperation between the Department of Hindi Studies and the Indian Cultural Centre.
The High Commissioner has underlined that going by the number of speakers, Hindi was the second most widely spoken language in the world and was becoming a global language.
He has emphasized that the students learning Hindi would benefit from the increasing trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, increasing connectivity and people to people contacts.
More than 20% of all tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka are from India and the number increased by almost 38% in 2011 compared to 2010.
The High Commissioner has also highlighted that bilateral trade is expected to cross US$ 5 billion in 2011 and India was among the top two investors in Sri Lanka in 2011.
Another special event has also been organized by the Indian Cultural Centre on 10th January 2012 at the New Town Hall, Colombo to celebrate the World Hindi Day.
As part of the celebrations, the Centre organised competitions in poetry, speech, essay writing, reading, copy writing and skits for students learning Hindi.
During the well-attended event a message from the Prime Minister of India on the occasion of the World Hindi Day 2012 has been read.
Participants have presented cultural programs including performances of Bharathanatyam, modern dances, Folk dances and rendition of ghazals and Hindi songs. The winners in different categories of competitions were awarded prizes.
The Assistant High Commission of India in Kandy also celebrated the World Hindi Day by organizing an event which was attended by approximately 500 persons and was graced by the Governor of the Central Province, several Ministers of the Provincial Council, officials and prominent members of civil society. The event included cultural performances, a play, and essay and poem competitions.
The High Commission says Hindi is very popular in Sri Lanka and the largest number of students enrolled in various courses of the Indian Cultural Centre is in Hindi courses.