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Sanskrit is ‘mool-bhasha’ of Hindi language, Urdu developed in military camps: Dr. Pratibha Mudliar

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By Nithin Sridhar

Hindi language is among the most widespread languages in India. It is not only a mother tongue for at least 258 million Indians (according to 2001 census), it is also a link language that connects millions of Indians from different regions of India.

Hindi traces its origins in Sanskrit language and the current form has been developed over more than a thousand years. A language, says Dr. Pratibha R. Mudliar, can be distinguished into Standardized version and dialects which are in common usage. When a language is standardized according to the rules of grammar, then such a standardized language will no longer undergo any evolution or transformation. But, the dialects of that language continue to evolve and slowly they give rise to newer languages.

Dr. Pratibha R. Mudliar is the Chairman and Professor of Hindi Department in the University of Mysore.

Hindi
Dr. Pratibha Mudliar

Speaking exclusively to NewsGram about the development of Hindi, Dr. Mudliar, said: “The origins can be traced to Sanskrit. From Vedic Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit languages were formed. Pali was the language of the Buddhists and books like Tripitakas were composed in that language. After Prakrit was formed, it further underwent four divisions into Maharashtri Prakrit, Ardha-Magadhi Prakrit, Magadhi Prakrit, and Shauraseni Prakrit. From these four forms of Prakrit four forms of Apabhramsha language were formed. From the Shauraseni branch of Apabhramsha language, thus formed, one can trace the direct evolution of modern Hindi.

When asked to elaborate regarding evolution of Hindi from Apabhramsha language to its present form, she said that the evolution could be divided into four stages: Adikal (the Early Period), Bhaktikal (the Devotional Period), Ritikal (the Scholastic Period) and Adhunikkal (the Modern Period).

The Adikal began in 1075 CE and lasted till 1375 CE. Most of the literature of that period like those of Prithviraja Raso were all written in Apabhramsha languages. But, one could see usage of a language similar to modern Hindi (Khariboli) in the works of Amir Khusrow. Later, in the works of Kabir also we could find similarity to modern form. Thus, she added: “one can trace the roots of modern Hindi directly to the works of Amir Khusrow.”

The Bhaktikal extended from 1375-1700 CE. During this period, Tulasidas wrote in Awadhi, Surdas in Braj, and Kabir in Sadu-kari (or mixed) language. These different languages like Awadi, Braj, etc., which are now considered as dialects, were evolved out of Apabhramsha forms.

The Ritikal extended from 1700 CE to 1900 CE. This period also saw composition of many literatures in Braj, Awadhi, etc. More importantly, it was during this period in 1885 CE that Bhartendu Harishchandra started writing in Kharboli dialect from which the modern Standardized Hindi later evolved. Thus, she said, Bhartendu was often called as the father of modern Hindi literature. The period after 1900 CE was considered as Adhunikkal. Therefore, she concluded, the Modern Hindi or Modern Standard Hindi had evolved from Khariboli, which in turn had evolved from Apabhramsha.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIDynRJe3xI&feature=youtu.be

Speaking about the various dialects of Hindi and their geographical origins, she said that Hindi could be divided into Pashchimi Hindi (western) and Poorvi Hindi (eastern). The eastern Hindi mainly consists of dialects of Awadhi and Bhojpuri, whereas the western Hindi mainly consists of Braj, Khariboli, etc. She added that Awadhi was mainly prevalent in Ayodhya, Lucknow, Meerut and surrounding areas and similarly, Braj was more prevalent in Agra, Mathura, and surrounding areas.

When asked about the evolution of Urdu and Hindi’s relationship with Urdu, Dr. Mudliar, said: Urdu was basically a language of the camps, i.e. a language that was developed in the military camps.” She elaborated that when the Mughals had come into India, they had brought the Persian language with them. But, because they could not interact with the locals who spoke Khariboli dialect, the language of Urdu was born as a mix of Persian and Khariboli languages. This Urdu was also called as ‘Hindavi’.

Later, when the influence of Persian and Arabic words became more prominent, then Urdu broke away from Hindavi as a separate language. On the other hand, a desire for pure Hindi resulted in the composition of literature in Standardized Hindi derived from Khariboli starting from Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi in the beginning of 20th century. Thus, Standard Hindi and Standard Urdu later developed into separate languages.

Therefore, concluded Dr. Mudliar that Modern Urdu and Mordern Hindi both had their origin in Khariboli dialect. But, the former was more influenced by Persian and Arabic, while the latter was the Sanskritized version of Khariboli.

Speaking about the influence of Sanskrit on Hindi, she said that Sanskrit was the “mool-basha” or root-language for Hindi and Hindi drew heavily from it. The usage of a large number of Sanskrit words called as ‘Tatsam’ was a good example that demonstrated this. Then, the grammatical structures and elements like cases had all been derived from Sanskrit as well.

When asked whether it is possible to impart higher technical education in Hindi language as demanded by certain sections of society and whether Hindi is equipped to take up this challenge, Dr. Mudliar said that Hindi could definitely be used as a medium for imparting technical knowledge.

She added that there was a commission called ‘Vaigyanik Tatha Takniki Shabdavali Aayog’ of the central government, which was working tirelessly for compiling and creating technical terminologies in Hindi. Hence, Hindi can definitely be used to convey technical knowledge. Moreover, the teachers may also borrow technical terms from English and use it wherever necessary while keeping Hindi as the medium of instruction.

 

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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.