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Meet Rakesh Ranjan, a Hindi professor in the U.S.

An active member of the Hindi-Urdu teaching community in America Ranjan is credited for designing and supervising many Hindi projects at the national level in the country.

Professor Rakesh Rajan (Image: University of Michigan)

Indian origin professor Rakesh Ranjan, beleives that learning Hinfi in the United States gives Indians in the country an opportunity to connect to their roots.

“When Indians started coming to the US in the 60s and 70s, they did not expect their kids would want to learn Hindi,” Ranjan said, and added, “The goal was to assimilate. But, when these kids got to college, they wanted to connect with where they came from, and learning Indian languages was a wonderful way to do that,” the senior lecturer and director of the Hindi-Urdu Program at Columbia University said in a statement published by University of Michigan.

In an effort to make the language more accessible to college students in the United States, Professor Ranjan visited the University of Michigan among many universities and educational institutions to discuss the opportunities and challenges of teaching Hindi in the US.

“There is not a set curriculum or standards for teaching Hindi in the US. Many professors don’t have a background in teaching. They are just native Hindi speakers," Ranjan explained.

An active member of the Hindi-Urdu teaching community in America, Ranjan has been teaching graduate and undergraduate students Hindi for over fifteen years. During that time, he has designed and supervised many projects at the national level.

Ranjan serves as the director of the STARTALK Hindi Audio-Visual project of Columbia University, which breaks down the ancient language for beginners. According to the website, it "introduces 42 thematic modules based on real-life situations with varied linguistic, social, and cultural contents. The short clips offer samples of Hindi speech in formal and informal settings."

The PhD holder from University of Delhi started as chief of the Hindi Language Program of the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) in Varanasi, India in 1993. He then joined the Hindi Program at Emory in 1999. According to his profile, Hindi pedagogy, issues of heritage learners and the South Asian diaspora are a few of his interests.