Bhopal: A large section of Hindi scholars from the city were dismayed at not having been invited to the World Hindi Summit being hosted in Madhya Pradesh.
About 5,000 scholars from across the country and the world are expected to participate in the September 10-12 Vishva Hindi Sammelan.
Though the invitations have been sent to a number of people in India and abroad, many of the litterateurs in Madhya Pradesh are appalled at being ignored for an event to be held in their own country and that too, in their home state.
“It seems the focus of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government is only on wooing non-resident Indians,” noted writer Ram Prakash Tripathi said.
“Be it education or language, everything is politics-driven. But the organisation of this summit reflects a narrow-minded psyche. Though literature is a vital characteristic of a language, this summit is being kept away from literature itself,” he added.
“Politics has never strengthened any language. It gains strength from literature. No regime has offered power to a language. History shows that whenever a language was interfered into by the government or politics, the language weakened and controversies erupted,” Dhruv Shukla, a veteran writer, remarked.
The absence of invitations to various well-known writers like Rajesh Joshi, Vijay Bahadur, Rajesh Shah, Mehrutrisha Parvez and Ram Prakash Tripathi — all of whom reside in Bhopal’s writers’ colony, Nirala Nagar– shows the sheer disregard for excellence in the Hindi literary world.
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.
“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.
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.”