Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha
Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha is an organisation whose main goal is to improve Hindi literacy among the non-Hindi speaking people of South India. The headquarters are located at Thanikachalam Road, T. Nagar, Chennai.
The Hindi movement in South India was started in the year 1918 by Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi saw the need to unite the northern and southern states of the country in the greatest interest of integration of the nation, as Hindi was spoken by the largest section of the people of India. Therefore he founded the Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha at Madras to propagate the study of Hindi in the then Madras Presidency and princely states of Hyderabad, Mysore, Travancore, Cochin, Pudukkottai, Banganapalle and Sandur. Gandhi also remained the life-time president of the institution.
The movement was inaugurated by Annie Besant under the presidency at Gokhale Hall in Madras. The first Hindi class was taken by Gandhi's son Devdas Gandhi. Hindi training schools were started in Andhra and Tamil Nadu. The number of students increased from 80 in 1919 to hundreds of thousands in subsequent years. Today the movement can claim more than 7000 workers working in 6000 centres, covering the entire area of the four linguistic regions, viz. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka, with an area of 650,000 square kilometers with a population of about 120 million.
By 1927, the Hindi Prachar Sabha emerged as an independent organization, and Mahatma Gandhi remained its president until his death in 1948.
Gandhiji desired that the ‘Hindi Prachar‘ in the south should be carried on by involving the local people of the respective area. Until 1920, this Sabha had its office at George Town in Madras and after some years shifted to Mylapore and then to Triplicane where it functioned till 1936. In 1936, the Sabha shifted to its present headquarters at T. Nagar. Preliminary examinations were held regularly from 1922. The first degree-level examination ‘Rashtrabasha Visharad’ was conducted and convocation held in 1931, which was addressed by Kaka Kalelkar. The Sabha celebrated its silver jubilee in 1946 after the Second World War and Gandhiji presided over the celebrations. To commemorate his presence during the silver jubilee celebrations in the sabha and mark that historic occasion, it was decided to build a Gandhi Mantap at the celebration spot. Accordingly, a mantap was built and it was inaugurated in June 1963 by Morarji Desaji.
A landmark in the recent history of the Sabha was the establishment of the National Hindi Research Library built at a cost of 8.5 million, with financial assistance from the Government of India. Another important landmark is the building of ‘Mahatma Gandhi Convocation Hall’ (Mahatma Gandhi Padavidan Mantap) exclusively for the use of holding the annual convocation and other functions of the Sabha.
The Sabha is divided into four divisions, one each for the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. The organisation headquarters is at T. Nagar, Chennai. The four regional headquarters are at:
- Tamil Nadu - Tiruchirappalli - Website
- Andhra Pradesh - Hyderabad
- Karnataka - Dharwad - Website
- Kerala - Ernakulam - Website