I and my blogger friend Himanshu got talking about Hindi and why People feel that speaking/ reading Hindi is not “IN” and decided to do some posts to express our views.
Let me clear some facts first.
Standard Hindi is our official language and NOT our national language . [ LINK ]
The link illustrates the usage of languages for the official purposes and Compilation of orders regarding the use of Hindi/NiyamPustakeng details the constitutional provisions regarding official languages; officially published in http://www.rajbhasha.nic.in/ the website ofDepartment of Official Language – Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India.
In the Hindi speaking belt of northern India the spoken language is a mixture of local dialects .
I have given these links just to give some extra information to the readers.
How many of you knew these facts ?
My main aim to write this post is not to talk about the history, origin and to debate over why we do not have a National Language or why Hindi is forced on non Hindi speaking states or for that matter is Hindi suppressing the regional languages ? My aim is to know why so many people mainly the younger generation of the Hindi speaking belt especially the big cities and metros resents Hindi so much.
Here is an example : I went to visit a friend . Her small son was at the dinner table . I had seen him for the first time so began asking some basic questions in Hindi . The boy looked at me with a blank face and then turned to his mother with quizzing eyes. The mother told that the boy understands only English and in their home no one spoke Hindi ( they are North Indians) .I was stunned. On asking the reason behind this decision she explained that the child has to prepare for the play school and speaking both Hindi and English will confuse him. Another mother I know talks to her girl in Hinglish ,” Beta khana finish karo soon. ” or “Aapne hands dirty kyun kiye chalo go wash karo. ” Is this not going to make the child wonder what language exactly is she learning .
I was speechless . If we are going to guide our children like these mothers how can we expect them to value their heritage.
Someone came to my home and said ,”Hello Beta ji kaise ho ?” I said ,” Namaste , main achchi hun”. She replied , ” wo to tu hai hi hahahaha”. I just smiled .
In Delhi I have noticed the infulence of Panjabi in Hindi . ” Aap khao” instead of “khaiye “. The use of aao, jao, khao is with Tum and not with aap but it is commonly used here.
Another thing I noticed even in the Hindi news readers – They all say Namashkar instead of namaskar. Again a common blunder.
I have often seen mothers talking to their little ones in Hinglish which seems to be an accepted language of masses these days .
Almost everyone seems to be speaking this combination of Hindi and English. Even in Media we see the Hindi new channels using English words most of the time . I notice that on being asked a question in Hindi many of the cine stars , politicians etc start with a sentence in Hindi and then shift to English . The Hindi newspapers like Navbharat Times use so many English words written in devnagri script.
Many families use English as spoken language at home even in gatherings. It is below their dignity to speak Hindi even though it is their mother tongue .
The younger generation studying in public and private school look down upon those who study in Hindi medium schools or can not speak proper English.
Watching English movies, reading English novels, magazines , newspapers and discussing them with pride is not uncommon.
When I asked a group of teenagers what’s wrong is speaking Hindi or reading it , they said that it was not ” IN” . Most of them said their parents also did not know much Hindi . Only the grandparents spoke either the regional language or Hindi.
I find it very disturbing that the Hindi speaking belt feels ashamed to communicated in their mother tongue . I have seen people of small town and specific areas in some states in Northern India speak Hindi mixed with the dialect of that specific area but in big cities and metros the language is limited to some people only. In social gatherings English is THE language for most of them.
I introduced children’s books in Hindi, comics etc and took kids to show children’s Hindi film like “Makadi” etc but as they grew up and began to chart their own path their attention and interest changed from Hindi to English. I still tell them to explore poetry, fiction written in Hindi but they find it cumbersome and their only exposure to Hindi literature is through academics.
As Hindi is losing ground Hinglish is becoming popular .
Very few people read Hindi literature and I was shocked when a Kabad wala told me that if I need to find second-hand Hindi literature I will get the books by kilogram whereas English novels etc cost a fortune .
This shows the state of Hindi literature in big cities.
I bought two novels of Shivani and a few of other authors for just 300 Rs. A second-hand English edition of Harry Potter cost me 400 Rs.
Children these days hardly know about any of the Authors of Hindi Literature though some may have heard the famous names but I found that none of them knew anything about the great works of literature they had written.
The lot seemed unconcerned about their ignorance and one of them said ,” I hate Hindi you know ya it’s so boring ya and so difficult”. She made a face and the rest simple nodded in agreement.
These kids read Hindi in schools only till it is compulsory and then give it up , talking about it as if it was some burden they got rid of. English has become a sign for being ” literate ” “élite” and ” educated” ..I hate it. I am not against English language but I want Hindi is get back its place.
I was born in a family of educationists where the love for language was stressed upon and even as a little child we were introduced to paperbacks of simple stories for children as Jatak Katha, Panchtantra and many such colorful books in Hindi including Amarchitra katha etc. Later we graduated to reading great poets like Dinkar, Maithili Sharan Gupt, MahadeviVarma, Sumitranandan pant, Nirala, Jaishankar Prasad Harivansh Rai Bachchan, and all the others. I remember reciting Kamayani and Madhudhala, reding out Faiz and Firaq with my father and enjoying it. Going to a poetry reading event is cool but attending a kavya sammelan is not worth. I remember listening to Hullad muradabdi and kaka Hathrasi as a kid and I wonder how many kids or young people these days ever go for any such Mushairas and kavi sammelans.
Dad inculcated a habit of reading in libraries as gave me a list of authors and books to hunt and read, then we would discuss them too. That way he made sure I actually read them.
I also enjoyed chacha chawdhary and sabu , champak , Nandan and many beautiful translations of Russian books for children published by PPH ( now closed) . They were a part of my daily reading. Dharamyug and Saptahik Hindustan were some other magazines we read at home along with the ones in English, that way a balance was created.
My parents put me in a Hindi Medium school in the early years so that my foundation becomes strong and that truly helped. I never felt ashamed or embarrassed to tell my so-called public school friends about it but I could see that my fellow students paid hefty amounts to join ” English Speaking courses” to match these Public school kids. They would struggle to speak broken English just to impress others. I found it very sad but that’s the truth of our times.
At least I did not become part of the generation which does not know anything about their own mother tongue.
That is what I did with my sons . I bought many books from Children’s Book Trust and Hindi paperbacks and Pocket books and we read them together. So we have a small Hindi books collection at Home.
I know some families who read Gulshan Nanda and many such writers regularly buying from footpath stalls or getting them from lending libraries.
The masses will watch the sas bahu serials on TV and go to watch Bollywood blockbusters but feel embarrassed in picking up a Hindi newspaper to read leave aside Hindi literature.
What legacy are these people passing on to our future generations when they themselves are not keen to promote Hindi language and prefer English to Hindi.
If a non Hindi speaking person is ignorant about the language I would not mind but if a Hindi speaking person doesn’t want to be associated with Hindi it is shameful.
Hindi may not be our National language but it is a language of the masses and at least I take pride in speaking , writing and reading this beautiful language .