The changing contours of Hindi discussed

March 13th, 2011 - 9:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 13 (IANS) India’s national language Hindi finds itself battling with change due to the influences of other languages, writers and poets opined at the ongoing Penguin Spring Fever here.

“Hindi has been institutionalised to suit the needs of the people,” said Noor Zaheer, who has donned many hats as writer, dancer, playwright and journalist.

“It has been politicised because we get to see its different forms in spoken world, literature, and a totally different world in the Hindi media,” she added.

Zaheer, who has translated plays by Bertolt Brecht, Tennessee Williams, Shakespeare, Zean Aanooi and Peter Chaffers, won critical acclaim for her memoirs book “Mere hissay ki roshnaai”.

It was a baffling issue for the writers and poets who sat down at the “Badlegi to chalegi (Change is necessary to move ahead)” session Saturday.

“Hindi’s character, since its origin, has been such that it has accommodated all the languages that came along,” said a philosophical Anamika, the third woman poet to get the Kedar Sammaan award for Hindi literature in 2008.

“It has never been alone in the walk,” she said.

Anamika, currently a reader in English at Satyawati College, Delhi University, is also famous for her writings such as “Galat Pate ki Chithi”, “Beejakshar”, “Anushtup”, “Doob-Dhaan” (Poetry), post-Eliot poetry, “Streetva ka Manchitra” (Criticism), “Das dvaare ka Peenjara”, “Tinka Tinke paas” (Novel), and Afro-English poems, among others.

What took the speakers by storm was the huge number of college students among the curious audience that had turned up on an evening India and South Africa were playing a World Cup match.

“If you talk about Hindi in the curriculum today, there are students who come from the Hindi heartland and can feel the association with Hindi, while the classroom is also shared by those who know Hindi well, but hesitate to bring it on a social platform because of status,” Anamika said.

Steering the discussion was Satyanand Nirupam, a young writer and poet and the Hindi editor at Penguin Books.

“Hindi is one language that has its meaning changing with every day,” said news anchor Ravish Kumar, who bowled the audience over with his dark sense of humour.

“And that it is changing faster is visible in the ’speed news’ format that promises to take the viewer to a new world of the national language,” he quipped.

While Hindi’s current position remained a question mark till the end of the discussion, the speakers echoed on how the regional languages, as also Urdu and English are affecting the epic language in more ways than one.

“To know how Hindi is changing, all you have to do is tune into any Hindi channel that is presenting news on the Japan catastrophe. It will make you realise the diminishing quality of this rich language,” Ravish Kumar summed up.

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