Hindi, the official language of India, is the world’s second most spoken language – spoken by almost half a billion people throughout the world. Being lingua franca of the people, it is the primary means of expressing modern Indian culture within and outside of India. India’s cultural spectrum, from its rich countryside folk songs, to devotional bhajan songs such as Om Jai Jagdish Hare, to romantic film songs are all expressed through Hindi by hundreds of millions of people all around the world everyday. The International Hindi Association, or Antarrashtriya Hindi Samiti, a lingo-cultural organization, was established with the vision to preserve and promote this broad cultural spectrum through the knowledge of Hindi and its literature.
The IHA (or Samiti) is the premier Hindi institution in the United States that strives to preserve and promote India’s culture through language and literature among Indians abroad. It is a non-profit organization established on 18 October 1980 in Roslyn, Virginia, USA by the eminent Hindi scholar late Dr Kunwar Chandra Prakash Singh. The IHA is run by volunteers and managed by a constitutionally elected Board of Directors through its numerous local chapters scattered throughout the United States. It publishes a widely acclaimed quarterly magazine Vishwa and a newly introduced electronic magazine eVishwa. In addition to the magazines, annual marathon kavi-sammelans or poetic meets around the US and Canada with famous Hindi poets has been the hallmark of IHA’s increasing popularity. Past years have seen the likes of Kaka Hathrasi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Neeraj, Hullad Muradabadi, Brajendra Awasthi, Ashok Chakradhar, Surendra Sharma, Som Thakur and Kunwar Bechain, among others. For broader community outreach, IHA continually seeks to partner with socially aware organizations, and have partnered with Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan of New York, India Society of Worcester in New England, Hindi Sahitya Sabha of Toronto in the past, to name a few. It has also collaborated with the University of Connecticut, University of California, University of Pittsburgh, Princeton University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.