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The Lok Sabha on Wednesday witnessed a heated exchange between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, over Hindi being an official language for India in the United Nations, as reported by Economic Times.

Tharoor, who worked in the UN and announced his retirement after finishing second in the 2006 election for UN Secretary-General, questioned the need to push for Hindi, which he pointed out was not even the national language of India. "When we get that kind of support and the economically weaker countries are also ready to bear the financial burden, it will become an official language", she added. "I understand the Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister can speak in Hindi, but what if a future External Affairs Minister comes from Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, who couldn't speak in the language?"

He said Hindi was an official language and not a national language and there was no need to make it an official language at the UN. "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. Government continues to make such efforts towards securing due recognition for Hindi at the UN".

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"It is not hard to get the support of two-third member-nations". It is also important to note that all the nations have to bear the expense of making Hindi the official 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.

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

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As Swaraj and Tharoor traded barbs, once again it is clear that in a country where every state has its own languages and dialects, promoting only Hindi at any global podium might prove to be a "costly" affair for the country.

Swaraj hit back at Tharoor and said Hindi is spoken in many other countries as well. "Saying Hindi is spoken only in India is your ignorance".

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