Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why dont we speak in Hindi?


Year 2011, train from Nice to Antibe, France.
As the train sped along the Mediterranean Sea and i watched the blue of the water with amazement, two women walked in to sit next to me. Obviously French, the women chatted non stop. Not a word was spoken in English, just quick paced French that i could make nothing of. That memory has stayed with me.....i think mainly because it was a very happy day. The sea does something to me, and speeding in a train towards it i could feel that excitement mount inside me...

Year 2011, Lucknow Railways Station.
As i stepped inside the railway carriage having just bid a tearful adieu to my parents, lips quivering and ready to burst into tears any time now ( I cry and bawl my head off like a two year old each time I leave my parents. Yes, even now. Stop rolling your eyes!) I saw two women who seemed to be friends occupy the birth opposite to me. They chatted the whole night. Very little of the conversation was in Hindi. The few words they spoke in Hindi made it very clear to me that they were fluent in Hindi but chose to converse only in English. That memory has also stayed with me, because i noted that the women did not converse in Hindi at all.

These are not isolated incidents. When i travel outside of UK, particularly in Europe, I see people embracing their own language. They speak and write in their language and are proud to use it as much as is possible.
In India however, it is the in thing to speak in English. It is almost as if conversing in English labels you as someone who is high class maybe, sophisticated....i don't know. I know I was probably part of this while I was living in India, but being outside has given me perspective and appreciation of our culture. And hence this post.

I have also seen how proud other nationalities are of their culture and with our culture being so much richer than most others it is a shame that we do not become champions of it.

More aware of this, when i travel to India now, i make it a point to speak in Hindi as much as possible. So what then  sometimes happens is a conversation in two languages. I speak in Hindi and the person in front of me replies in English.

I wish that would change. While i do not think I that i would do justice to writing a book in Hindia, maybe when i go back to India next, i will pick up a book written in Hindi.

It is time to give my language more credit :) 

21 comments:

Bubblegum.... said...

I am 100% with you on this!!! Before learning foreign language why cant we learn one more Indian Language and brush up our Hindi??

Raam Pyari said...

True!

Devesh said...

Kash aapne yeh anucchēda ya lekh bhi hindi me hi likha hota... shayad jo shrey aap apni bhasha ko dena chahti hain us me se thoda abhi hi mil gaya hota... :)

gamathepsicop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gamathepsicop said...

चलो किसी ने तो समझा अपनी भाषा के महत्व को ..आपके इस प्रयास के लिए हमारी और से सराहना और भविष्य के लिए ढेरों शुभकामनाये
धन्यवाद
सदा मुस्कुराते रहिये :)

Pesto Sauce said...

India was a British colony so when our grand fathers took pride in speaking English, the same line of thought has passed down generations

Shri Ram Ayyangar said...

It is the height of snobbery. People feel guilty speaking Hindi. Look at all the film stars of Bollywood, they work & earn crores from Hindi film but when it comes to speaking in public, they prefer English!

Bikramjit said...

because it is something of a show off when talking in english .. and people give it so much importance hence english ...

Bikram's

anks said...

oh yes... its almost as if we are ashamed to have a conversation in our national language... i had a very stimulating conversation with an nri lady about the same thing... on a boat, in bangkok and then we switched to a mix of hindi and punjabi... :)

Tarang Sinha said...

Very nice and thought-provoking piece of writing! But Birth or berth?:)

Nisha said...

It is just with Hindi, for vague reasons. If you go downwards, people speak in Marathi, Gujarati, Telegu, Tamil and the most famous, Malyalam. They are proud of their culture annd speak in their language amongst themselves. It gives them a sense of unity. And when they do, we, north Indians, feel left out!

I think we've started using English more only because our schools promoted it to make us more 'global'. It has stayed with us. Our generation saw the transition. Sadly, the next will probably not know Hindi at all.

Harshita Srivastava said...

So true..Wish people could someday understand the true value of our rich cultural heritage and our mother tongue..
I remember once when my grandma was alive and she had gone to Canada, the wife of my grandpa's friend asked her,"Why do you Indians have Indian food with knife and fork when the actual tradition is eating with hands? I see so many Indians having chapatis with fork and knife."
My grandma was speechless but come to think about it having chapati with fork and knife just because you are staying in a place where people do not use hands to eat, instead use a fork and knife. When they are following their tradition then why can't we do the same? We are proud to be INDIAN. Why be ashamed of your culture and customs?

Sakshi said...

Yes, we have a rich culture, and yes, we have all the nationalism in us, all the time, but the thing is, that the educated here want to rub in their education, plus when you want to bitch in a train, you can do it better in english than in hindi, considering everyone in India knows hindi. ;)
The thing is that we don't abhor Hindi, or our Culture, the thing is that we abhor the fact that the whole 'embrace your culture', ultimately takes a very nonsecular and political turn in our Country. Unlike the western world, we deal with more than 300 languages in our country, similar quantities of Gods and Celebrations. While we love each of our festivals and the festivities, the politicians make a joke out of it and play on with that emotion..
So, I think while it is a great idea that we should promote our Culture and language, at the same time we should sensitize, the people about the sensitivities along with it :)

akanksha said...

Very well said. Hindi gets a stepmotherly tratment from the so called hi-class-people who are too
sophisticated to embrace their mother tongue in public.

numerounity said...

Hmmmm often in beauty paegents I see lot of contestants using their translator to talk & reply in their native language. While Miss India can always talk in Hindi, they never do

:(

Calvin said...
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Calvin said...

I just wish they had pitched for a single language instead of a single currency....might have solved all their problems :P

tanmoysays said...

Great article madam

Danny George said...

Yes, very true, but Hindi isn't the only Indian language. If the person I'm speaking to doesn't understand my mother tongue(not Hindi), then the only option is to speak in a common language i.e English, and its becoming quite common in metro cities, since there are people there from all over India. But I make it a point to speak in my mother tongue to people who know it.

Vinay Prajapati said...

बहुत बेहतरीन अभिव्यक्ति! :)

Aditya Chavali said...

this life some are hindi speakers/non speakers..next life no one knows. some may not even be born human ! as indians, how many can speak sanskrit ? present hindi is just bollywood hindi, lots of urdu/arabic/persian words and sanskrit is minimal. when grammar is the essence of sanskrit, hindi is no where near sanskrit, neither are other regional languages. by having some sanskrit vocabulary doesn't make them substitutes for sanskrit. if indians don't speak sanskrit, who else can we expect to do so ?