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Hindi is common property, no party can appropriate it: Mrinal Pande

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New Delhi: The recently-concluded World Hindi Conference in Bhopal was conducted by people with “obvious party affiliations” which left out noted Hindi writers, Hindi media persons and students, says a veteran journalist and noted writer.

Mrinal Pande, who chaired one of the sessions at the event, feels the Narendra Modi-led NDA government had “erred in not inviting Hindi writers who could have contributed much” to the conference. The conference was aimed at “shuddhikaran” (cleansing) of the Hindi language.

“Language is a common property and a party cannot take a broom and sweep it clean. The writers and the specialists operating on the ground — the media and students of media — were kept out by the organisers, she said.

Mrinal Pande
Mrinal Pande

“The whole thing was handled by people with obvious party affiliations, whose writ was ‘Hindi ka shuddhikaran‘. What shuddhikaran will you do? If you do shuddhikaran, nothing will be left (of the language),” Pande told IANS in an interview over the phone.

The former head of Prasar Bharati said the notion of cleansing the language was “absurd”.

She said most of the Hindi “as we know and speak it today is based largely on dialects like Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Brij Bhasha and Haryanvi. Only 20 percent is based on pure Sanskrit.”

The rest, she added, was based on Persian, Portuguese, Arabic, English and other languages that came in with various traders and armies over the centuries.

Pande said that if the government was serious about promoting Hindi and helping its cause, it should stress on creating proper hardware and software that are compatible with the various kinds of spoken Hindi, taking into account the phonetics and nuances of the language as spoken in different regions.

Pande says a single word in Hindi is pronounced differently in different regions of the Hindi-speaking areas, and the government should work towards developing search engines for Hindi users, keeping all the regional variants in mind.

“The linguistic problems, the word sense, disambiguation and phonetics — all this can’t be done by RSS pracharaks who are not academicians. They were there boasting that Hindi is our matribhasha… I have spent a whole lifetime and burnt the candle at both ends to try and do my bit to professionalise the language,” said Pande.

“At the sammelan, most of the emphasis was on selling Hindi as a source of India’s pride, and on sanitising Hindi – playing it off against English, and also monetising the large numbers of Hindi users in the global market,” she added.

As the editor of Hindi daily Hindustan which would bring out 17 editions and many sub-editions, including those in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and western UP, she found that readers of different regions protested whenever they felt imposed by the central office to use a kind of Hindi they did not speak.

On the proposed two counts of looking at Hindi language– as a tool for mass communication and on developing requisite software, Pande said, “They seemed wishy-washy and watered down and dominated by verbiage”.

According to Pande, at the 9th World Hindi Conference in 2012 in Johannesburg, held under the UPA dispensation, a resolution was passed that the government should work towards total standardisation of Hindi and development of dual keyboards, making it mandatory for all computer companies to make such keyboards. It was also decided that the World Wide Web should be made friendly to Hindi.

indianexpress.com
indianexpress.com

She said her friends who had attended the Johannesburg event told her that the proposal had been sent to the government of India. “Nobody knows what happened to the proposal,” she added.

She also felt that the Narendra Modi government was laying out the red carpet for foreign IT companies, but it was not clear if it had been ensured that they would do enough to help Hindi and the other regional languages or acquire the same kind of user friendly hardware and software that English and other European languages enjoyed.

She said Modi, who is going to Silicon Valley later this month, should talk “seriously and knowledgeably” to the foreign IT firms about all this.

“This is a serious professional matter, not an emotional one, and for thousands like me who are living and working in Hindi, we need professional tools, we don’t need the use of Hindi to be made into an emotive issue.”

(Ranjana Narayan, IANS)

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  • It is hypocritical to shed crocodile tears for Hindi and its “Shuddhikaran” when its status of “National Language” is clearly become meaningless since it is not a language that allows its speaker to earn a decent living. Hindiwallahs are culturally conditioned to look down upon Hindi as a language of the menials and it is disbanded from circles of – to use the expression of Anna Hazare – KALA ANGREZ who controls higher technical education, judiciary, corporate circles, competitive examinations etc. Make it a language of livelihood then talk about “SHUDDHIKARAN” . Another point to remember is to counter the organized cultural conditioning of the masses by mainstream media, Bollywood, and Anglophonic schools – to glorify the language of KALAANGREZ and lookdown upon everything indigenous. Hindiwallahs – on one hand treats their own language and culture with contempt and on the other hand shows open contempt for other regional languages and slavish attitude towards ANGREZI. Instead of passing judgment let me just add- that it is interesting how marketing tricks have culturally conditioned the so called educated class of India from all over the land to have lost all sense of self-respect and dignity and play the role of poodle of their Anglo-American masters.

  • It is hypocritical to shed crocodile tears for Hindi and its “Shuddhikaran” when its status of “National Language” is clearly become meaningless since it is not a language that allows its speaker to earn a decent living. Hindiwallahs are culturally conditioned to look down upon Hindi as a language of the menials and it is disbanded from circles of – to use the expression of Anna Hazare – KALA ANGREZ who controls higher technical education, judiciary, corporate circles, competitive examinations etc. Make it a language of livelihood then talk about “SHUDDHIKARAN” . Another point to remember is to counter the organized cultural conditioning of the masses by mainstream media, Bollywood, and Anglophonic schools – to glorify the language of KALAANGREZ and lookdown upon everything indigenous. Hindiwallahs – on one hand treats their own language and culture with contempt and on the other hand shows open contempt for other regional languages and slavish attitude towards ANGREZI. Instead of passing judgment let me just add- that it is interesting how marketing tricks have culturally conditioned the so called educated class of India from all over the land to have lost all sense of self-respect and dignity and play the role of poodle of their Anglo-American masters.

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Governor humiliated for addressing in Hindi

  Incidentally, Hindi is a very powerful language, if we go deeper. This language is so self-sufficient that it is one of the direct descendants of Sanskrit, the oldest and the perfect language in the world

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Sri Ganga Prasad was criticised for giving his speech in his native language and not English in the legislative assembly.

Salil Gewali, Shillong

  • Hindi is one of the official languages of India
  • Sri Ganga Prasad faced criticism for giving his speech in his native language
  • This makes one question if English is becoming dominant in India

Sri Ganga Prasad faced a barrage of criticism when he delivered his maiden speech in the National language in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. Even one of the legislators abruptly walked out of the assembly hall while the Governor was digression the session. Thus, the Governor was intensely scoffed at and humiliated through the social media and other news media.

Well, everyone has their right to disagree and criticize. Of course, we do not disagree that the majority of people in Meghalaya are not fluent in Hindi.  This is not a big deal. But disrespecting the language could be.

Is Hindi being ignored as the nation moves more towards English? Wikimedia Commons

This news also made many of my facebook friends abroad pretty curious.  One very learned scholar – Avital Markel from New York speaks out her mind with a dose of humor: ‘why is there so much noise when your governor delivered the speech in the language which is originally from India itself? I know another popular name of this country as Hindustan, not “Englistan”, I believe.’ Another Yoga teacher from Las Vegas — JM Palmer remarks — ‘it’s ridiculous that people can disrespect their own language. I can easily pronounce a good many Sanskrit terms. I personally have tremendous respect for India’s Sanskrit and other languages because they are the languages of Yoga and wisdom of spiritual dimension’. Mr. Palmer is a spiritual seeker who regularly visits India.

                 I think both Avital and Palmer views resonate with what the citizens of other countries feel. At least with those who have not been insanely fascinated by the English language like some Indians do. It’s much observed in the country that one without English speaking skills is obviously looked down upon.  The ‘inferiority complex’ vis-a-vis the West and its external trappings often hold many Indians back in asserting that they are Indians. This syndrome is getting more pronounced among the certain class of intellectuals and the snobbish folks. This has already taken a very ugly shape. The trait of sedition is quite noticeable amount the certain class of citizens.

                    Anyway, if we have regularly tolerated the bunches of fraudsters, rapists, and murderers in the parliaments and state assemblies in the country, why could we survive a speech of few minutes in Hindi and so on? 

Also Read: Is Hindi The National Language of India?

On the contrary, the citizens of very developed nations such as China, Russia, Germany, Portugal, France will never lose their calm when their leaders speak in the native languages. Actually, they all speak their own languages. The imperialist British till the date has literally failed to cast its spell on them. The citizens of those self-reliant countries rather swell their chests and claim their superiority and what they are due for.

                          If I am not mistaken Hindi is still recognized as the national language of the country. So, even if we are unable to learn the language, it would do jolly good if we do not disrespect it at all. Here it will be quite relevant to cite a case of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at United Nations General Assembly. I believe, nobody walked out of that international summit on 27th Sept 2014 when the Prime Minister delivered his speech in Hindi. Thank God, we didn’t have any leaders from Meghalaya who might have cringed with embarrassment and walked out! That particular speech by PM Modi in UN was so applauded that it subsequently served to motivate the member countries across the world to vote in favor of declaring a Yoga International Day for 21st June.

Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a Padhma Bhushan awardee for his contribution in Hindi Literature. Pexels
Hindi is a powerful language and ought to be used more. Pexels

                        Incidentally, Hindi is a very powerful language, if we go deeper. This language is so self-sufficient that it is one of the direct descendants of Sanskrit, the oldest and the perfect language in the world. On the robust ground of India’s Sanskrit the Modern linguistic stands. Kudos to those unprejudiced and rational intellectuals such as Sir William Jones, Johann Goethe, F. Schiller, Franz Bopp, F. Schlegel, Ferdinand de Saussure, Leonard Bloomfield, Noam Chomsky who discovered the incredible literary gems in the languages of India.

                           Finally, for those who sniff at the languages of Indian origin and the wisdom and culture associated with them, I would like to share just one opinion by their much celebrated English master. Here exclaimed the American British Nobel laureate TS Eliot: “Two years spent in the study of Sanskrit under Charles Lanman, and a year in the  mazes of Patanjali’s metaphysics under the guidance of James Woods, left me in a state of  enlightened mystification.” I think we should not walk out of the “truth”. India has for ages been enriching the intellectual treasure troves of the West. But, what is a huge paradox is that our Indians are either not aware of it all or they do not want to acknowledge it.