Why Not Hindi or Any Other Language for That Matter?

Dear Friends, hope you are well!

Today’s post is more of a rant session. As you might know, I am sort of a book worm and like reading mostly fiction and comic books. Today’s rave has something to do with reading in a public place and people’s need to butt in with unsolicited comments just because they do not cost a dime.

Now, like many of you do too, I carry either a book or my kindle whenever I am going out, because face it, you never know when you might be stood up or made to wait by the other party. Sitting idle and staring into the phone like hypnotized drooling simpletons seem kind of annoying to me. By the way, have you watched the 2006 flick “Idiocracy”? If you haven’t as yet, then please have a looksie. All the fear for the future generation being idiots come true in that. Though categorized as a comedy, this movie is petrifying and gave me goosebumps as I feared our future.

Anyways, my thoughts meander as always.  Back to the discussion at hand…

So, I was out and waiting for someone at lunch at a so-called posh restaurant. When I was minding my own business, reading a book and enjoying a rather large tumbler of cold coffee. Actually, the restaurant is quite nice, I love the food, the ambiance, and the drinks too. Plus, I get my privacy too.

But not today!

OK, before I proceed, I must digress once more. I promise, this is connected to the incident. I am in love with Manav Kaul. His acting is fabulous and so is his writing. Unfortunately for me, I still have not had the pleasure to watch him in a theatre, but it will happen soon.. I hope.

Anyways, the Good Mr. Kaul has written a number of books in Hindi, and “Prem Kabootar” is one of his books that I was reading. Yes, I saw this book translated in English too, but I believe that if I know the language, then I should enjoy the writer’s work in its original form and not translated. No offense to the translators, because I know you work hard just like the next person.

Now back to the story… there I was sipping my cold coffee and reading my book (which I enjoyed thoroughly, so I am soon going to read his other works too) when a bunch of girls (early to mid-20s) walked in like babbling bumbling band of buffoons. They had boisterous voices and had no regards what-so-ever for the peace of mind and ears of the fellow patrons.

True to my nature, I developed instant dislike for the group and wanted to shove a sock in their mouths. But that would be illegal, so I gulped a huge sigh continued with my book. The miss-know-it-all of the group reminded me of Regina George from Mean Girls, who just happened to glance at me at giggle back to her friends saying, “Oh Gawwwd, she is reading a Hindi book”. Since she made no effort to lower her volume, I obviously heard her.

My first instinct was to start an argument and show her, her place in the scheme of things, but then I decided to fuck it and continue reading. It’s not my headache that her parents have done just a bang-up job in basic manners and etiquette.

Although, it got me thinking… so many of us call ourselves “voracious readers” but are we inclined towards reading the regional stuff. India is a rich country with 22 languages (written in 13 scripts) and over 700 dialects and most of us are limited to only English. During this long introspection, I realized that thanks to Mr. Kaul, I at least picked up a Hindi book to read after school. My last Hindi novel was Namak Ka Daroga by Munshi Premchand during School’s Hindi class.

I am a 50% hypocrite here because though my Hindi reading is shameful, I have continued reading Bengali books (though by limited authors) alongside my English books. So may be 65% hypocrite.

Those imbeciles did make me realize that a giant crowd considers any other language other than English to be inferior. My Question is WHY????

3 thoughts on “Why Not Hindi or Any Other Language for That Matter?

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  1. To answer your “Why?”…we have to blame our supreme need to please the west. Our education system and to some extent even our parents who made us believe that whether we knew our native tongue or not, we needed to speak English just like the English. We, and when I say we I include myself too, tend to get a sense of pleasure when someone from the west says that having heard our English, they can’t believe that we are Indian. Its happened to me and I’m ashamed to say, I’ve taken pride in it. My own native tongue I cannot claim such mastery over. In any case….somewhere along the line English became more important to us Indians than our own diverse, enriching and amazing language sets. Plan on picking up a Hindi book myself, lets hope I haven’t forgotten all the letters *embarassed*

  2. Loved it….you do ask a very pertinent question….what’s interesting is it’s not just reading, I think speaking is a major one too. Over here, every other nationality is never embarrassed if they can’t speak proper English, they try and convey thru a mix of broken English, body language and their language. Only Indians seem to be embarrassed. I think it’s the after effects of colonialism!

  3. Well said. While I agree one must know English as its most common spoken language around the globe and helps break barriers but other than that I do not understand the superiority of this language over others. A well spoken Hindi person will be looked down upon over grammar less English.. Lastly the girls who were yapping you should have replied in ‘shudh’ hindi to them. “ji aap krupa karen aur dheeme bole, mujhe yah pustak padhne mein kathinai ho rahi hai”

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