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Hindi Gurkul Wins Prestigious Recognition from School district

Hindi Gurkul Wins Prestigious Recognition from School district
September 05
14:33 2019

ASHOK NAIR

CHICAGO: Over the years, the Hindi Gurukul in Aurora, a Chicago suburb, has garnered a devoted following among Indian-American students and parents. The Gurukul teaches the Hindi language-in four levels from beginner to advanced.

The school teaches Indian students, many of them born in the US, the fundamentals of the language. But perhaps more importantly, it introduces them to Indian culture through narrations from epics like the Mahabharat and Ramayana, presented in the context of Indian history.

“Many of the students are not Indian by citizenship,” said Ajay Jain, who founded the school and formulated the syllabus and also teaches at the Gurukul. “But we hope that eventually, they will grow up to be the ambassadors of Hinduism.”

Recently, the Gurukul was given a coveted honor. Michael Raczak, Board of Education Member of the Indian Prairie School District 204 which includes prestigious schools in Naperville and Aurora informed the Gurkul that its students could qualify for the Illinois Seal of Biliteracy award to students who have attained a high level of proficiency in a language other than English.

“Indian Prairie District 204 is looking forward to all of the students that participate in the Hindi Gurukul program to earn this distinction when they graduate high school,” Raczak informed Ajay Jain in a letter.

While teaching Hindi, Ajay Jain explains the significance of stories in the great Hindu epics to students

While teaching Hindi, Ajay Jain explains the significance of stories in the great Hindu epics to students

The recognition brings to fruition a long cherished dream of Ajay Jain and the other teachers of the Gurukul being given the same status as other languages like French and Spanish.

With an increasingly interconnected world, and the fact that India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, knowledge of Hindi could be invaluable when the current students enter the employment market. Ajay Jain notes that Hindi has 370 million native speakers. Another 120 million use it as a second language while 200 million speakers of various other Indian languages such as Punjabi, Gujarati, and Marathi comprehend it.

“Therefore, Hindi stands at about 690 million worldwide users, second only to Mandarin, in terms of users,” he said.

It is also acknowledged that Hindi is a highly sophisticated and scientific language.  Hindi is a completely phonetic language – written as it is spoken, a boon for learners.

In addition to teaching Hindi, the Gurukul has also showcased Indian culture and language to the mainstream community. The Gurukul participated recently at the City of Aurora and IPSD 204 school district events. Gurukul students also participated in multi-cultural events like the Roots Aurora festival and in a  reading night organized by Parent Diversity Advisory Council of IPSD 204.

It is gratifying to see the eagerness of US-born Indian kids learn about the ancient Hindu epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and how its lessons can be imbued into their daily lives. When explained the significance of events in the epics, what would otherwise have appeared a mere ritual takes on a new and deeper significance.

The next session of the Gurukul begins on September 8.

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