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World Hindi Day celebrations held in Colombo

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Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), the cultural arm of the High Commission of India in Colombo, is organising the World Hindi Day in Colombo from 10-11 January 2024. 

The two-day event is being held at Sri Lanka Foundation and SVCC in collaboration with University of Kelaniya, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Rajarata University, Visual and Performing Arts University of Sri Lanka and Karma Devi Memorial P G College of India.

High Commissioner Shri Santosh Jha inaugurated the event today with Dr. Susil Premajayantha, Hon’ble Minister of Education who was the Chief Guest for the World Hindi Day. The State Minister of Education A. Aravind Kumar attended as the Guest of Honour.

During the inaugural speech, the High Commissioner highlighted the growing importance of Hindi as an international language. Today, it is the third most widely spoken language in the world with about 600 million speakers globally. He also recalled SVCC’s activities for the promotion of the language over last year, including scholarships to Hindi students for study in India, assistance in Hindi language capacity building of professors and school teachers, etc.  Appreciating the institutions and scholars of Hindi in Sri Lanka, he commended the attendees for embracing the language and thanked them for collaborating in the event.

The first day saw paper presentations in three plenary sessions by 25 Hindi scholars. Topics ranged from the impact of Buddhism in Hindi literature to the popularity of Hindi in Sri Lanka. More than 200 scholars and students participated on day one. Day two of the conference will have Deputy High Commissioner Dr. Satyanjal Pandey as the Chief Guest with nearly 20 research presentations by students of Hindi. Qualifying certificates of Hindi examinations organised by the Central Institute of Hindi, Govt. of India will also be distributed to the Sri Lankan students.

World Hindi Day is celebrated on January 10 every year to commemorate the day when Hindi was first spoken in the United Nations General Assembly in 1949. It was on this day in 1975 that the first ‘World Hindi Conference’ was organised. Hindi is taught as a foreign language in 88 schools and 7 public universities of Sri Lanka.

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President inaugurates 10th National Scout Jamboree (Pics)

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As the Chief Scout of Sri Lanka, President Ranil Wickremesinghe inaugurated the 10th National Scout Jamboree in Trincomalee today (Feb. 21).

 The National Scout Jamboree is being held in Trincomalee with the participation of 11,500 scouts, from SL & 28 other countries.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Jamboree, President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized Sri Lanka’s potential for rapid development and security enhancement through unified action. 

He stressed the event’s inclusive nature, transcending caste and religious barriers, and highlighted the significance of national unity in achieving common goals. 

The President pledged support for expanding the Scout Association, recognizing its role in fostering responsible citizens. 

Additionally, he announced plans for collaboration between the Scout Association and the Ministry of Technology to harness cross-sector interactions for national progress.

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Indian High Commissioner visits Northern Province (Pics)

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High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka – Mr. Santosh Jha undertook his first official visit to the Northern Province from Feb. 15-17, 2024. 

Diverse engagements during the visit attest to the deep-rooted nature of the bilateral partnership as also India’s firm commitment to deepening socio-economic and cultural ties with Northern Province, a media release by the Indian High Commission notes. With grant assistance of more than SLR 70 billion, Northern Province has been a region of focus in India’s multi-dimensional development cooperation partnership with Sri Lanka and the visit was an opportunity to reiterate India’s unwavering commitment to the people of the region, it adds.
The High Commissioner paid special emphasis to furthering connectivity initiatives, the central theme of the bilateral economic partnership vision document issued in July 2023. He visited Kankesanthurai (KKS) Port and the historic Talaimannar Pier and spoke of the need for expeditious resumption of ferry services between the two countries. He expressed confidence regarding earliest recommencement of Nagapattinam-KKS ferry in the coming weeks and informed his interlocutors of ongoing efforts for the resumption of ferry services between Talaimannar and Rameswaram. During his visit to Palaly Airport, he explored means to strengthen air connectivity through infrastructure development at the airport.

Underscoring the rich and shared cultural heritage between India and Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner offered prayers at the historic Ram Sethu (Adam’s Bridge). He also visited the ancient Thiruketheeswaram temple, which was renovated with grant assistance from the Government of India. He prayed for well-being and prosperity of the people of India and Sri Lanka as he paid respects at the Nagapooshani Amman Temple and Nagavihara in Nainativu island; revered Madhu Church in Mannar; and Nallur Kandaswamy temple. Further, he attended Thyagaraja Aradhana at the iconic Jaffna Cultural Centre, a gift from the people of India. 

Reaffirming India’s commitment to diverse sections of the society, the High Commissioner distributed deep freezers to fishermen communities in Mannar towards enhancing their livelihood opportunities. He also distributed dry rations to hundreds of needy families in Jaffna and Kilinochchi, with special focus on those headed by women. 

In India’s endeavour to contribute towards addressing energy needs of islands off Jaffna, he assessed the readiness for early roll out of the Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems Project in Nainativu Island. It may be recalled that this project is being implemented in Delft, Nainativu and Analaitivu Islands through grant assistance from India. 

The High Commissioner paid homage at the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) Memorial. 

The High Commissioner had engaging discussions with a wide cross section of stakeholders in the region including elected representatives, academics, and businessmen, among several others on avenues for further collaboration and development. 

(Pics : Indian High Commission in Colombo)

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Mace handed over to new Serjeant-at-Arms (Pics)

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Outgoing Serjeant-at-Arms of Parliament Mr. Narendra Fernando traditionally handed over the Mace and the Sword of the Serjeant-at-Arms to his successor Mr. Kushan Sampath Jayaratne this morning (Jan. 30) near the Chamber Door of the Parliament.

As the Serjeant-at-Arms of the Parliament Mr. Narendra Fernando is going to retire today (30) after serving in the Parliament for over 42 years, the Mace and his Sword were traditionally handed over to the successive Serjeant-at-Arms. 

Mr. Narendra Fernando, the 6th Serjeant-at-Arms of the Parliament, took over the duties of the Serjeant-at-Arms from the year 2018.

Accordingly, Mr. Kushan Sampath Jayaratne is scheduled to take over duties as the 7th Serjeant-at-Arms of the Parliament tomorrow (Jan. 31).


(Pics : Department of Communication, Parliament)

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