I am a South Indian. This means that a large number of North Indians will label me a Madrasi. But I am not. I am a Kannada domicile of Telugu origins and both are full fledged ancient classical languages with their own literature, script, history, inscriptions, kings (Satavahanas – remember?) etc.
Hindi comedians are deliberately insulting about Madrasis who speak Hindi and their accents – Mahmud comes to mind, but the modern comedians are no different. Since they don’t know even the names of the South Indian Languages, they don’t anticipate that I speak the
National, sorry – Official Language of India, Hindi, fairly well and that I am a ticket paying hindi movie goer. They would certainly make more money if they were respectful!!
That said, I learned Hindi courtesy the Govt. of Karnataka. They provided me nearly free (Rs 80 per year) high school education. For that royal sum, I was taught Science, History, Mathematics, Sanskrit, Hindi, Kannada and English for 3 years by amazingly brilliant and dedicated teachers, whose feet I bow to mentally whenever I think of them – which is often.
I loved all my subjects and that includes Hindi. And I benefited from all of them.
This is how Hindi helped me.
- I thoroughly enjoy good Hindi movies, songs and poetry.
- I have traveled in Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttaranchal and Bengal and been understood, answered and helped. Most people say with great surprise and respect, “You speak such pure Hindi!” and I am always pleased to hear this.
- I speak to people from various states who have moved to Bangalore for eg Rajasthanis, Gujarathis, Biharis etc.
- I can read Hindi translations and commentaries of Sanskrit texts which my Guru keeps introducing to me from time to time.
- Because of Hindi, I can catch little bits of Urdu – though not much.
- Because of Hindi (and sanskrit of course), and an ear for variants, I can catch bits of Punjabi too.
One day I met a Bihari Security Gaurd at a company where I used to work. As usual he complimented me on my Hindi and asked me where I learnt it. I said, “at school”. He said, “I wish my school had taught me Hindi – at that time the state government was not for it and I lost the many personal advantages that come with Hindi”.
I thought back to my 50 marks paper in Hindi at S.S.L.C. (10th). The one that not many took seriously because “it didn’t count for rank”. I am glad I took it seriously.
Today the Govt. of karnataka, requires Engg. students to learn kannada, yoga and the Constitution of India along with their Engg. subjects. The students mostly bunk the classes, because it doesn’t “count for rank or percentage.”
In my view, they should attend. It will give them an advantage.
External Links :
- History of Hindi Literature
- “In the constitution, Hindi was declared as an official language and not a national language. The court in its order said Part XVII of the Constitution deals with Official Language. Under Article 343, official language of the Union has been prescribed, which includes Hindi in Devanagari script and English.” Source
- Official Language Act 1967
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