Addressing a function organised on the occasion of Hindi Divas, the Home Minister said Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the first Prime Minister to deliver his speech in the United States in Hindi.
"I, as a Minister, once had delivered my speech in the United Nations in Hindi.... Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver his speech in United Nations in Hindi. The Prime Minister also speaks Hindi when he meets foreign dignitaries," he said amidst applause at a function organised at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
President Pranab Mukherjee was present at the function. The Prime Minister is expected to address the United Nations General Assembly on September 27.
The Home Minister said 55 per cent population of the country speaks Hindi while 85 to 90 per cent people in the country understand Hindi even though it is not their mother tongue. Singh said people like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, Mahatma Gandhi and N Gopalaswami Ayyangar had advocated expansion and popularisation of Hindi even though their mother tongues were different.
"Hindi is the common language of the country," he said. The Home Minister said Sanskrit is the mother of all Indian languages while Hindi and other regional languages are sisters.