Johannesburg: Rich tributes were paid to the life and times of Pandit Nardev Vedalankar, widely regarded as the father of Hindi language in South Africa, on his 20th death anniversary.
A special edition of the monthly publication Hindi Khabar of the Hindi Shiksha Sangh of South Africa highlighted his life and achievements.
In 1947, Panditji came to South Africa. After his arrival in the country, Panditji discovered that the Hindi language was not being systematically promoted.
Panditji called a meeting of the Hindi speaking people to discuss the plight of their mother-tongue and to find possible solutions to promote the language.
Panditji established the Hindi Shiksha Sangh in 1948 and became its first President.
"He was a dedicated worker and contributed a great deal to the promotion of Hindi language and the Hindu religion. He was also instrumental in starting the Gujarati and Hindi Eisteddfod that led to the unity of the Gujarati community," recalled his daughter, Vidhulekha Nardev.
"Let us emulate revered Pandit Nardevji Vedlankar," Vimal Wadhawan Arya, Secretary of the Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha in New Delhi said in a tribute message in the publication.
"He conceived of an idea of holding religious examinations to provide a long lasting solution to the movement of westernisation and proselytization," Arya added.
South African Hindu Maha Sabha President Ashwin Trikamjee said Panditji had "a remarkable influence in my life that resulted in my commitment to the cause of Hindu Dharma".
"The Gujarati language flourished under his guidance and the Hindi language improved leaps and bounds, as he was able to establish a greater credibility with the Hindi-speaking members of our community."