New Delhi: There was once a time when the Hindi language lay in tatters in its very own birthplace. With no hope of revival, Hindi was slowly marching towards an untimely death. But with the advent of technology, the game changed and Hindi got its due revival.
There are obvious reasons behind the decline of “Hindi” language in India. The most important factor behind the decline is the inception of English as the medium of instruction in most educational institutions across the country. Besides curbing the growth of Hindi, which is reportedly spoken by almost 500 million (422 million by 2001 census data), the medium of English has corroded the base of Hindi. With the downtrend, the ability to write the language in its script, Devnagari, is gradually getting eclipsed.
Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Marathi speakers are also opposed to making Hindi a pan-Indian language. This too has added woes for Hindi as the politicisation has checked the promotion of Hindi in India.
Despite Bollywood using Hindi as the mainstay for communication, there is a dearth of people who can write the language in its native Devnagari format. Usage of Romanised Hindi is eroding the base of the language. The influx of western culture has also dealt a ghastly blow to the language. People speaking in Hindi are considered un-smart and inferior to those speaking in English. Even schools in remote villages of Bihar no longer promote Hindi as they find it easier to woo people with ‘English Medium’ tag. However, in these schools, there is not a single teacher who speaks or knows English properly, let alone teach kids.
Another factor that attributed to the gradual downfall of Hindi is the drop in circulation of Hindi magazines. With the declining readership, Hindi magazines like Nandan, Champak, Suman Saurabh, Grih Shobha and Manorama are losing their importance and fading away.
However, technology proved to be the saviour in this regard, drawing Hindi out from the clutches of getting eroded. Cellphones allowing messages to be typed in Hindi has greatly facilitated in rejuvenating the language. With smartphones coming into the fray, the game changed altogether with Hindi getting promoted in social networking sites.
Writing of blogs in Hindi became easier and common. This meant that Hindi news channels could opt for Hindi news sites to put their content in Devnagari. People started blogs in Hindi and the language got promoted on its own. Composing blogs, Facebook posts, tweets, and comments in Devnagari with the ease of smartphones and Web 2.0 literally revived the language.
Technology majors like Google, Apple, Microsoft and others facilitated the path for Hindi by recognizing it as the main language of India. It looks all promising as of now, but some sad facts remain. Publication of new Hindi books continues to lose face. Hindi books that sell a thousand copies, in a nation of 500 million speakers, become bestsellers. Literary magazines sales are seeing a sharp decline. News magazines like India Today are just surviving and appear to have seen their glorious days a while ago.
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