Children it is very normal that we don’t value what we have. In other words one can say Ghar ki murgi dal barabar. Hindi language is a victim of this complex. It is the official language of Bharat and the 2nd most widely spoken language in the world, spoken by close to six hundred million people across the globe either as their first or second language. It has been seen that Hindi is given a step motherly treatment in its own motherland. However in other countries people show respect towards their national language. So why can’t we have the same in Bharat? In fact if we follow the principle of one national language it will help a lot in national integration. Hindi is much simpler and scientific than any other language. It has survived through the ages because of its flexibility and adaptability
To pay tribute to this widely spoken language and to mark the anniversary of it being declared as India’s national official language, we celebrate the Hindi Diwas on September 14th all across the country. Talking of its development and evolution, Hindi is more than a 1,000 year old language with a rich literary and grammar tradition. It is a descendant of Sanskrit and has evolved over a long period of time with its forms ranging from classical Sanskrit to Pali, Prakrit and so on. Right through its birth, the language has acquired many names ranging from ‘Hindustani’ to ‘Hinduva’ to ‘Khari Boli’ and many others! Finally ‘Hindi’ happened to be its permanent name. Hindi is written in Devanagri script and is known as the modern Indo-Aryan language. It has been influenced by a confluence of scripts and languages like Dravidian, Turkish, Farsi, Portuguese and English. It is spoken in many countries of the world including Mauritius, Pakistan, Surinam, S. Africa, Nepal, Singapore and Trinidad. A very expressive language, Hindi is one of the best languages to be used to express the emotions in the most influencing way ever. Hindi is also the official language of various states of Bharat, like Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Mahatma Gandhi, in his address at the Gujarat Education Conference at Bharuch in 1917 had stressed the need of a national language and expressed that Hindi is the only language which could be adopted as national language because it is spoken by majority of Indians. It has the potential of being used as an economic, religious and political communication link.
During the British Raj, English was used at the federal level. The Indian Constitution adopted in 1950 envisaged that Hindi would be gradually phased in to replace English over a fifteen-year period, but gave Parliament the power to, by law, provide for the continued use of English even thereafter. Plans to make Hindi the sole official language of the Republic met with resistance in some parts of the country. Hindi continues to be used today, in combination with other (at the Central level and in some states) State official languages at the State level.
The Constitution makers had deliberated the issue of Official Language in detail at the time of framing the Constitution and it was decided that Hindi in Devanagari script should be adopted as the official language of the Union. This is the basis of declaring Hindi as the Official Language of the Union under Article 343(1). At the time of framing and adoption of the Constitution, it was envisaged that English will continue to be used for executive, judicial and legal purposes for an initial period of 15 years i.e. till 1965. Besides, it was provided that the President may authorise the use of Hindi language for some specific purposes Article 351 of the Constitution speaks of the development of Hindi as the Official Language of the Union.
In 1963, the Official Languages Act was enacted providing for the continued use of English even after the year 1965. The Act further provided that for certain specified purposes Hindi alone may be used and for some other purposes both English and Hindi be used. The Official Language Rules were framed in 1976.
The modern day Hindi language evolution was seen somewhere around the 18th century when the Fort William College was established by the East India Company in Calcutta and the principal of this college, John Gilchrist wrote the grammar of and compiled a dictionary to teach Hindi to the students of the college, all by himself. Not only this, under the British rule many newspapers solely based on Hindi were published and helped in spreading the language in a big way. Udant Martanda was the very first newspaper to be published in Hindi in the year 1826 from Calcutta and soon many others were published and distributed all across that nation. Not only the media is to be credited for the spread of Hindi, but many a writers like those of Raja Shivprasad Sitare and Raja Lakshman Singh wrote a lot of literature and books in Hindi which helped all the more in the propagation and the spread of this language. Soon almost all the freedom fighters took over Hindi to spread their ideologies making Hindi an important part of the Freedom Struggle of India which united people all across the country. Hence, there was no reason as to why Hindi should not have been chosen as our national language.
Honestly speaking, today we simply forget that language is an important aspect of one`s personality. Instead of understanding the fact, we try to emulate others. Generation X considers conversing in Hindi down market and thus shies away from it. Although at home, they converse in Hindi with their parents but outside, they show their lack of familiarity with written and spoken Hindi. It`s because they do not have a high opinion of the national language. They forget that major chunk of Indian population lies in the rural areas, wherein lies the soul of India.
Speaking about the political arena, when leaders of other countries visit India, they speak in their native language. However, our leaders feel proud in conversing with them in English. Why do we forget that foreigners speak in English because it`s their language. The Germans, French and Japanese communicate only in their language at home and therefore we are forced to pull up the basics when visiting them. But they do not have to make any such efforts to understand Hindi as we communicate with them in English.
However on his recent visit to Japan Shri Narendra Modi spoke in Hindi. We hope that other leaders will take a cue from him and follow suit. ‘Hindi is our pride and always will be’ should be a message loud and clear to one and all.
Hindi will always remain our mother tongue. It will always be a unifying factor for the people of our nation and will always represent India across the globe and will always remind India of its Independence Struggle. Hindi newspapers, magazines, Hindi channels and a number of Hindi websites and Bollywood are still keeping alive the spirit of Hindi, by reaching across the country. With Hindi garnering support from technology, hopefully, Hindi would get the status it deserves.
On the occasion of Hindi Diwas, many schools and colleges organise different literary programmes to pay respect to this language and inculcate in the students love and respect for its rich literature. Some schools/colleges observe the entire second week of September as the ‘Hindi Week’ and organise a lot of activities during this week. Various academies like ‘The Hindi Academy, New Delhi’ also organise various cultural programmes on this day and conduct many activities to mark the significance of this day in the lives of the people. Awards are given on this day by the President of India to the people in different fields related to Hindi at the Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. —Aniket Raja