Bensalem, Pennsylvania, to
teach Hindi in schools
Bensalem Township on the outskirts of Philadelphia has become the first school district in Pennsylvania to teach Hindi in high school,
beginning September 2012.
The School Board of Bensalem Township unanimous-
ly adopted a resolution January 11 to introduce a Hindi
curriculum. The decision came after a series of promo-
tional efforts by the Yuva Hindi Sansthan, a nonprofit
educational and cultural institution, and supported by
the local Indian-American population.
“We worked a whole year to push for the decision;
finally it worked,” said Ashok Ojha, YHS president.
“Though the federal government is encouraging the
study of various languages, school boards are not gener-
ally very enthusiastic about it.”
About 10 percent of the township’s population of more
than 60,000 people is Indian, mostly from Gujarat.
“We are very happy that the school board has accept-
ed a long term demand of our community,” said Yagnesh
Choksi, one of the directors of the board. “We consis-
tently made efforts to introduce Hindi.”
Dr Heather Nicholas, president of the school board,
supported the move. ‘We are confident that learning of
Hindi will open up new opportunities to familiarize our
students about Indian culture,’ she said.
‘Bensalem school administrators were very receptive
to our proposal to introduce Hindi in its curriculum,’ said
Dr Surendra Gambhir, chairman, YHS, a retired professor
who taught linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania for
over 36 years.
In New Jersey, two schools teach Hindi. Classes in
Bensalem will be on similar lines, Ojha said. It is difficult to
get certified teachers in Hindi. The YHS has located a
teacher with a New Jersey certificate, who can travel to
Bensalem. They hope that the certificate can be transferred
COUR TESY: ASHOK OJHA
Dr Surendra Gambhir, YHS chairman, addresses the Bensalem Township School Board meeting
Ninth graders can start learning Hindi this year. It will
continue till they graduate. The class is for 20 to 25 students.
Ojha said the YHS plans a summer program in Hindi and
expects at least 100 students.
Those present at the meeting included Raj Amin,
Bhupendra Patel, Rick Mohindroo, Atma Singh, Veerendra
Tavathia, Sam Khan and a number of parents and teachers.
Ojha informed them about the activities of the organization including its summer programs held in Atlanta and
Delaware, where hundreds learned Hindi and Indian culture.
A sense of indifference exists in the community when it
comes to supporting initiatives for learning Hindi, Ojha
noted. Hindi is spoken by a sizable number of the 2.7 million South Asians in the United States.
Midwest Cricket Conference holds annual gala
The Midwest Cricket Con- ferencehelditsannualprize distribution banquet and
family gala January 14 in
Elmhurst, Illinois. The banquet,
which celebrated the recently
concluded season, drew over 400
people. There was a video presen-
tation in memory of Shekhar
‘Shekhs’ Aravind, a young figure
in the MwCC community who
was voted president two years ago
but who died in a boating acci-
dent last August.
Among the speakers at the
event were Mohammad Afzal
Qureshi of the MAQ Group and
founder of Cricket Council USA;
Jeff Miller, director, Cricket
Council USA, who flew in from
Florida; US Representative
Michelle Mussman; William
The awardees at the event
McLeod, mayor, Hoffman
Estates; and Raja Krishna-
moorthi, Democratic candidate
for Congress. In the audience
were Raja Razzaq of the
Pakistan Business Association;
Sunil Shah, president, Fede-
ration of Indian Associations-
Chicago; and Irfan Khan, chief
executive officer, Taaza2u.com.
The program included a
cricket trivia contest and a cou-
ples’ contest and the presenta-
tion of three lifetime achieve-
ment awards for contribution
to the Midwest cricket commu-
Prizes were distributed to the
champions, runners-up and the
year’s top performers of the
Midwest Cricket Conference.