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Journey of Hindi from Dialect “boli’ to Official-National Language ‘rashtrabhasha’

It is officially the country’s first language that is spoken and understood, among all the other Indian languages

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August 27, 2016:

“Language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests.”
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A Language has a paramount importance just not in the terms of exchanging words, but also in terms of sharing  feelings, expressions and beliefs – in the form of words, signs, symbols or sound. It is an important source and means of human communication. But with time, gradual change and development of languages, have become more apparent.

Evolution of any language depends mainly on socialization and interaction. Most interactive languages have evolved rapidly, rather than any isolated language of any particular tribe, that resides distinctly far away, based on the geographical biases. Languages which lack in socialization and interaction, also lack in adapting values and behaviors from other culture as well.

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India is a multi-lingual country, and officially it has 22 languages and Hindi being one of them. It is officially the country’s first language that is spoken and understood by the majority of Indians.

  • Origin of Hindi Language: According to Griysen, Hindi is divided into two- Paschimi Hindi – Shourseni Apbransh and Purvi Hindi – Ardhmagdhi Apbransh. The root of Shourseni Apbhransh is Sanskrit, which came from Aryan language. Shourseni Apbhransh has developed into Khadi Boli, and later to Hindi.

Hindi, being the most interactive and socialized language is coupled with the influence of technology, lifestyle and other languages and culture, is no less far in terms of evolving.

Image source: YouTube
Image source: YouTube

Evolution of Hindi has occurred in numerous forms:

  • Change in writing and speaking: Hindi is written in Devnagri script originated from ‘Bahamani Lipi’, though later in 1935, few corrections in changing of letter’s shapes and use of the verbs took place in “Nagri Lipi Sudhar Samiti” by Kaka Kalelkar. Moreover, nowadays people are more prone to using ‘Bol Ki Bhasha’ or spoken word, rather than, ‘Manak’ or standard Hindi.

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  • Insertion of New Words: Over time, Hindi has been influenced by foreign languages- like Urdu, English, Persian Sanskrit, Persian, Turkish, Arabic, Portuguese, Dravidian Languages and others. Hindi is full of loan words and one will be surprised to know that most of the words that we use in our daily conversation have a foreign origin. Therefore number of words like – Tadbhava (तद्भव/تَدبهَو derived from Sanskrit or Prakrit), Tatsama (तत्सम/تَتسَم identical, derived from Sanskrit), Deshaja (देशज/دیشَج local, derived from Sanskrit).
  • Influence of media: Hindi has got worldwide fame for the influence of media. Social media, film, and television have influenced the writing style of Hindi a lot! People who don’t know how to read or write Hindi to express his feelings in the form of Devnagri script can easily do the same in Roman script. Be it ‘sharyari’ or a film script; use of Roman script in Hindi in nothing new.
  • Popular songs and Advertisements: Exposure of Hindi through songs or adds helps the language to reach out to several people. Nowadays, to make songs appealing and catchy, lyricists and script writers prefer a combination of both Hindi and English and other languages. Due to this, directly or indirectly one comes across the language or gets aware of it. Thus, we can have an idea, how Hindi has evolved with the evolution of time.

– by Riashe Chakraborty from NewsGram. Twitter: @itzriashe

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  • Kabir Chaudhary

    Even though Hindi has a rich history in India, regional languages are still preferred in their respective region, like, Tamil in Tamil Nadu, Telugu in Andhra Pradesh, Bhojpuri in Bihar and they dominate with greater numbers.

  • Islamic Origin Language Hindi

    Hindi has no historic connection to India. It was brought by Islamic marauders and promoted by the British. Its the least Indian language. The government is hell bent on the complete elimination of Indian languages out of India and replacing them all with the Pakistani Islamic origin language Hindi. This is also the very reason why radical Islamic party BJP rejected the Indian language petition.

    • depp

      tu mrega bhai hindi ko gali bakte bakte

      • India4Everyone

        Pakistani language people don’t speak Indian languages, why is that???

  • Kudiyan Sasi

    Hindi is not our national language. It will never be.

  • Kabir Chaudhary

    Even though Hindi has a rich history in India, regional languages are still preferred in their respective region, like, Tamil in Tamil Nadu, Telugu in Andhra Pradesh, Bhojpuri in Bihar and they dominate with greater numbers.

  • Islamic Origin Language Hindi

    Hindi has no historic connection to India. It was brought by Islamic marauders and promoted by the British. Its the least Indian language. The government is hell bent on the complete elimination of Indian languages out of India and replacing them all with the Pakistani Islamic origin language Hindi. This is also the very reason why radical Islamic party BJP rejected the Indian language petition.

    • depp

      tu mrega bhai hindi ko gali bakte bakte

      • India4Everyone

        Pakistani language people don’t speak Indian languages, why is that???

  • Kudiyan Sasi

    Hindi is not our national language. It will never be.

Next Story

Is Chutney out of place in Carnival?

Chutney has been able to resist the domination of calypso as the heartbeat of Carnival music

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Chutney has been able to resist the domination of calypso as the heartbeat of Carnival music. Wikimedia Commons
Chutney has been able to resist the domination of calypso as the heartbeat of Carnival music. Wikimedia Commons
  • Chutney soca music is a crossover style of music incorporating Soca elements
  • The satire on Prime Minister Rowley’s mother has been arguably the most controversial song in the history of calypso, soca and chutney in the country.
  • It is the International Chutney Queen Competition to be held on February 2 at Guaracara Park in San Fernando, the second largest city in the country

By Dr Kumar Mahabir

When people get angry, they tend to speak their mind. Their emotions explode in words that they have been suppressing for some time. Psychologist Dr Jeffrey Huntsinger proved this theory after conducting experiments at Loyala University in Chicago in the USA in 2012.

Chutney Soca promoter George Singh really spoke his mind when he became upset on learning that his 2018 show was not funded by the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB), an agency of the Afro-dominated Government in multi-ethnic Trinidad and Tobago  (T&T).

At a news conference which he convened, Singh said that “the decision by the Government not to support chutney soca was an insult to the art form” (Express 05/02/17).

George Singh is a Chutney Soca promoter. Wikimedia Commons
George Singh is a Chutney Soca promoter. Wikimedia Commons

Singh raged: “The Government, over the last three years, has consistently reduced funding to Chutney Soca Monarch and various members of the present administration have stated directly to me that chutney soca brings no value to Carnival” (emphasis added).

At the same news conference, Singh said that the Government had approved a budget of TT $146 million to the National Carnival Commission (NCC).

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“I think this administration is hell-bent on seeing that it [chutney soca] has no place in Carnival. It is a slap in the face to Indo-Caribbean entertainment,” he said.

Singh’s outburst was a public exposé of what the Indo-Trinidadian (Indian) community had always known i.e. Indian culture (e.g. chutney, pichakaree ) is given marginal or no space in “national” and regional shows (e.g. CARIFESTA).

Sing’s rant is more revealing since he has admitted that he has “family ties” to Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi (Express 27/12/17).

Carnival in Trinidad has long been the cultural preservation of the Afro-Trinidadian (African) community. Wikimedia Commons
Carnival in Trinidad has long been the cultural preservation of the Afro-Trinidadian (African) community. Wikimedia Commons

In all his anger, Singh was careful not to confirm what almost every Trinidadian suspected i.e. that Government initially denied him funding because he was allowing Massive to perform his hot chutney hit “Rowlee Mudda Count.”

The satire on Prime Minister Rowley’s mother has been arguably the most controversial song in the history of calypso, soca and chutney in the country.

I have always contended that chutney concerts, competitions, tents and fêtes must be recognised as part of Carnival and must be a given an equitable share of culture funds, media space and stage presence.

Also Read: Western intellectuals’ overwhelming love for Sanskrit literature

My argument is contained in detail in a chapter entitled “Chutney Music in Carnival:

Re-defining National Identity in Trinidad and Tobago” in the book Caribbean Dynamics:

Re-configuring Caribbean Culture (2015). The book is edited by Drs Beatrice Boufoy-Bastick Savrina Chinien and published by Ian Randle in Jamaica.

In the chapter, I discussed how Carnival in Trinidad has long been the cultural preservation of the Afro-Trinidadian (African) community. To this day, the major players and champions of calypso, soca, extempo, steelpan and masquerade, whether in Jouvert (“Jour Ouvert”) or Dimanche Gras, remain participants of African descent.

The emergence of chutney music and artists in 1995 – when Basdeo Panday was elected as the first Indian Prime Minister of T&T – was historic. In 1996, the rendition of Sonny Mann’s runaway hit “Lotay La” by DJs in soca parties, and by steel bands as their Road Mach tune during Carnival signalled the advent of chutney into the national urbanized festival/centre.

Chutney is being strongly influenced by calypso and soca rhythms and dance styles. Wikimedia Commons
Chutney is being strongly influenced by calypso and soca rhythms and dance styles. Wikimedia Commons

In the following years, Indians continued to change the ontology of “the national festival” to the extent that Carnival has to be re-defined to include Chutney Monarch, Chutney Brass, Chutney Soca, Chutney Calypso, Chutney Glow and Chutney Mardi Gras.

For the first time this year, a new chutney show is being introduced to the Carnival calendar. It is the International Chutney Queen Competition to be held on February 2 at Guaracara Park in San Fernando, the second largest city in the country. The event is being hosted by Randy Glasgow Productions.

Also Read: Race as a tool to keep people Divided: Will Science break the Shackles?

Chutney is being strongly influenced by calypso and soca rhythms and dance styles, but the genre is also used as an alternative to the Afro-Creole music formats. There have been two institutionalised chutney calypso theatres: “D” Massive Gosine Roving Calypso/Chutney Tent and the National Chutney Calypso Touring Tent.  Now in its eighth year is the National Carnival Schools Intellectual Chutney Soca Monarch Competition held at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain.

These chutney competitions cum fêtes allow Indians to gain a sense of inclusion in this grand “national” festival, although on the periphery of the capital city. These cultural incursions also allow Indians to actively participate in Carnival without losing their (sense of) ethnic identity.

Dr Kumar Mahabir is an anthropologist who has published 11 books
Dr Kumar Mahabir is an anthropologist who has published 11 books

In 1998, cultural critic Burton Sankeralli wrote: “Indians are claiming Carnival space as Indians…. [and] … The flagship of this Indocentric presence and contestation for space is chutney …” With the re-creation of chutney, Indian artists are refusing to be subjected to silence and invisibility on mainstream radio, television, newspaper and the stage.

Chutney has been able to resist the domination of calypso as the heartbeat of Carnival music. The subversive spirit of calypso and Carnival is perhaps being re-incarnated in chutney.

(Dr Kumar Mahabir is an anthropologist who has published 11 books)