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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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Is Hindi The National Language of India?

In a country like India where more than 1600 languages persist, is it possible to have one national language without moving towards chaos?

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There are more than 150 languages in India that spoken by at least 10,000 people. Out of which, Hindi is the most widely spoken language, amounting to 40% speakers in the population. Wikimedia Commons
There are more than 150 languages in India that are spoken by at least 10,000 people. Out of which, Hindi is the most widely spoken language, amounting to 40% speakers in the population. Wikimedia Commons

BY SHANTAM SAHAI 

  • 1600 languages and dialects are spoken in India, out of which, none is the ‘national language’
  • Hindi and English, as mentioned in Article 343 of the Indian constitution, are official languages of India
  • 22 languages are mentioned in the eighth schedule of the Indian constitution, all of which can be considered as national languages or official languages

India, the seventh-largest and second-most populous country in the world, home to 1.3 billion people who speak 1600 languages, is widely known for its cultural diversity. The world’s largest democracy consists of 29 states, which were divided on the basis of language. Hindi, a language spoken by 41% and known to 53% of the population, is misconceived to be the ‘national language’ of India. The Indian constitution does not mention any ‘national language’. However Hindi (along with English) is the official language of India.

Article 343(1) of the Indian constitution says: 

“(1) The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals.”

Thus, Hindi is NOT is the national language, but the official language of India.

ALSO READ: How angry “Hindi” voters turned the tables against Congress in 1977 elections

Difference between ‘National language’ and ‘Official language’

An official language is one used for official/governmental purposes. It has a legal standing and is used in the judiciary, central legislature, and executive documents. Official languages have more to do with day-to-day work.

Whereas, a national language is a national symbol. It has a common representation of the people living in the geographical territory of the country. A national language has sentimental values connected with it, as it reflects a ‘common individuality’ (in linguistic terms) from the world.

The Indian national flag, national emblem, national anthem, national animal, national bird, or the national language, all of them are national symbols which unite us as the countrymen of India. Wikimedia Commons
The Indian national flag, national emblem, national anthem, national animal, the national bird, or national language, all of them are national symbols which unite us as the countrymen of India. Wikimedia Commons

Why India has no national language?

A national language is supposed to unite the citizens of the country under one umbrella. Other than the percentage of users, what matters more is the spread of the language i.e. if it is to unite a country as a national symbol, a language needs to have users spread in all parts of the country. As in the case of India, we have no such language.

ALSO READ: How Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism Influence Early Tamil History?

A national language needs to widespread, not only widely spoken. India has no such language. Facebook
A national language needs to be widespread, not only widely spoken. India has no such language. Facebook

As you can see on the map, Hindi maybe widely spoken, but it is not widespread. Hindi (and its variants) is spoken in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi (the capital), Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan. Whereas, the eastern and southern states have no trace of it. Hindi, may be known in various other parts, does not command any sentimental value in other states.

Moreover, languages other than Hindi have a significant amount of speakers. For example,

  • No. of Bengali speakers: 83,369,769
  • No. of Telugu speakers: 74,002,856 
  • No. of Marathi speakers: 71,936,894 
  • No. of Tamil speakers: 60,793,814 
  • No. of Kannada speakers: 37,924,011 
  • No. of Gujarati speakers: 46,091,617 
  • No. of Odiya speakers: 33,017,446 
  • No. of Malayalam speakers: 33,066,392 

Hence, there cannot be one national language in India. Therefore, the Constitution of India in its eighth schedule mentions 22 languages; all of which can be referred to as national languages or official languages.