It was a tiring day and I was simply surfing channels on TV when I came across the trailer of ‘English Vinglish’, the upcoming Sri Devi movie where she goes to Manhattan and apparently learns English. Sounds like an interesting movie. Although it somehow reminded me of the epic family slapstick comedy “Chupke Chupke” and yeah, most importantly our very dear “vanaspati vaigyanik” (Botany Professor!) Dr Parimal Tripathi, who becomes a “vahan chalak” (driver) Pyare mohan. The poor guy struggled hard to learn English although the audience was mesmerized by the “Shudh” Hindi he spoke.
Inspired by the same idea, we also saw Parimal Tripathi in Heyy babyy, where the character(Fardeen Khan) yet again entertained us. Of course, most of us still remember the super safe driving and the pure Hindi translations!
Anyways, I am not here to brief you on various Parimal Tripathis or Pyare Mohans in Bollywood or give a review about English Vinglish! What led to this article were some random thoughts like “At a time when perfect Hindi can make you stand out from a crowd who’s in for English Vinglish??” or to put it in simpler words first- “What is the fate of Hindi in India?!?”
Hindi was chosen as the official language of India when our constitution was adopted in 1950. Along with it, we also had English as an official language, a practical decision indeed as English is the most widely spoken language in the world and is a medium to provide the much needed growth and global contact. And after more than half a century, India can claim to have struggled with Globalization and of course, a significant rise in the number of English speakers!
But then arises a question – “Are we ignoring our national language with an advancement in globalization?”
With the ever growing modernization and a strong desire to meet the international standards, I feel our dear Hindi is getting lost somewhere. We are reluctant to use the language we have been speaking since birth and all we have is a yearning to learn other languages, English primarily. To be clear, this is definitely not against the other languages in the world, this is more about raising a concern for Hindi. Obviously, I have no hard feelings for the language I am writing my article in!
Now, to quote a few examples, and beginning with the most prominent one, English being a status symbol. Those conversing in English are often looked up to. That is alright and I appreciate it coz if you are fluent in English, you should be admired. But what sometimes make me sad is people have now overshadowed Hindi with English, even in their minds! They will prefer not being understood but to converse in English rather than expressing themselves properly in the language they are efficient in.
Another slaughter that Hindi bears is the severe modification brought to it because of the regional dialects. With time, our lifestyle, thoughts, traditions and a lot of things change and so does our language. To keep up, changes are incorporated naturally. But often, some people introduce such drastic modifications in the language that it kills the very essence of it. As a result, the language then feels like a whole new world. (One of the examples could be mixing Hindi with Punjabi and Haryanvi, which is seen a lot of times)
A common saying is, “Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.” All we need now is the enthusiasm to keep the pride of our national language, and a little effort to keep the spirit of Hindi alive. After all, our matrubhasha deserves due respect!
Sometimes I feel, there’ll be a time soon when people will crave for Hindi as they run after English now. The ‘Shudh’ Hindi concept would be the one which people will use to stand out from the crowd!