Millennium Post

Accept Hindi that hitchhikes to spread

Protests against Hindi deep down the South may be apparently right because  a language should be like a hearty meal with dashes of regional flavour that one must relish; any meal if force fed, ruins both one’s palate and tummy.  Similarly, any language for the non-native speakers, should be acceptable by understanding and  choice alone.  It is needless here to re-emphasize the need of  Hindi as a national language through  irrefutable examples because   it is  more or less already enjoying that viable position in the country despite the socio-political and linguistic resent against it in some parts of the country. There is a strong need for a change in perspectives from the administrative point of view in order to make it acceptable among those who do not naturally speak it. What wee need is a paradigm shift in the mechanism of propagating Hindi, which   includes re-vitalisation of Central Hindi Directorate  which with its national headquarters located in New Delhi and four regional offices  located at Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Guwahati, is basically engaged in the promotion of scholarly Hindi across states. It was essentially established to promote and propagate Hindi as well as to develop it as a link language throughout India in pursuance of Article 351 of the Constitution of India. The elitist and academic schemes it runs sound so good on paper, such as imparting Certificate, diploma and advance Courses in Hindi,  course like  Prabodh, Praveen and Pragya for government servants,  giving away awards to Hindi writers, purchasing  Hindi books for free distribution, running scheme of publication of monolingual/bilingual, trilingual and multilingual dictionaries, and giving grants to voluntary organizations for the propagation of Hindi including schemes of assistance for the publication / purchase of books etc. Many genuine and curious learners and students of Hindi may have really benefitted from these promotional activities of the department and  would have possibly landed on various jobs  such as translators, Hindi-teachers in schools and in other central government jobs. But sadly, six and a half decades since independence, Hindi is still struggling to get a foothold in the hearts of non-Hindi speaking population, especially amongst its powerful political class, who because of their own compulsions, find Hindi undesirable even as an optional teaching subject in schools run by states. We know that as a 3rd  Language optional subject, the strength of students opting for Hindi in schools and colleges is very lean, and in places, completely non-existent. We should take cue from the popularity of Sanskrit as a subject in schools, especially at High school level, though, where it is taught in the Devnagari script, yet a native student is expected to write the answer paper in his or her own mother tongue.  This makes things easy for the native student who finds it easy and a mark-fetching subject. On the contrary, in the case of Hindi, like in English, it is compulsory to write answers in the Devnagari script alone, which serves as a constraint. It discourages students  for obvious reasons—marks. If Hindi answers papers are  allowed to be written in one’s mother tongue, it will not only be very innovative and encouraging, but sooner than later, it will create a generation of young population in the parts of India where Hindi is seldom spoken, who would speak a very effective communicable Hindi at least. The Hindi used by the Railways, the Postal departments and other central government  Frontline departments are mainly inspired by the purist version. Emotionally, this may be right for the preservation of pure Hindi, but as a Lingua-Franca or the link language, it is important that it must be spoken more than it is read or written.

Besides, it will be better and timely if Hindi dons the mannerisms of English, which  it surely will one day, since it has already metamorphosed into various versions, such as the Hyderabadi or the Mumbaiya Tapori version so popularized in  the Bollywood movies, even though for comic purposes. Hindi will only enrich itself if we successfully have over a period of time, many acceptable regional versions of our national language— maybe a Tamilized Hindi, a Telegu Hindi, an Odia or Bengali brand of Hindi for example, with acceptable incorporation of local slangs and popular words. It will be great if Hindi has additions of popular phrases and  popular clichés from regional languages.  
It will do wonders to the language if the new additions are accepted and used by the mainstream Hindi speakers in North India. Much better will be if in the line of Oxford Dictionary which comes up with new additions from foreign languages from all over the globe, the Department of Official Language or the Central Hindi Directorate makes available to institutions at least a glossary, if not a dictionary, of such ever-enriching treasure trove of Hindi. If a railway or postal department promotes a Version Hindi rather than the Bookish Hindi in their respective zones, popularity and acceptability of the national language will be instant and with self-volition.

What the  DOL is finding hard to yield in terms of results and acceptability despite its whopping maintenance costs which span over 25-30 crores a year, which is reportedly more than what the government has for the departments like the Department of Communicable Diseases or the National Archives of India, our own Bollywood and YouTube uploads are doing effectively. While Bollywood  should be lauded for its patriotic service in popularizing Hindustani, YouTube has recently done a yeoman’s job in popularizing non-Hindi slangs from songs from different states across the country among the general masses. The seemingly stupid, but the awesome rise of the Kolaveri DI song is phenomenal. Even youth who does not speak Tamil, do not mind crooning the  Kolaveri Di lines, and this happened in all parts of the country.

Now what’s wrong in accepting at least for colloquial purpose Kolaveri Di as a new Hindi phrase meaning a killer rage (I have picked the meaning from the internet)? The time has come when we must understand that communication in Hindi is a sure two way street. Hindi must learn to embrace  Tamil or Telugu words for practical purposes, or of other languages as well  for that matter, if it wants to be accommodated in the latter’s heartland  in the truest sense. This change seems to be in the offing through  the show business at least for now.

The author works with the Information and Public Relations Department of Odisha
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