Sunday, August 03, 2008

Shudh Hindi disappearing from Indian Television...

Especially on the 24-hour news channels

Bereft of Sanskrit words.

Indistinguishable from Urdu.



Soniya said...

Yes, this is a pet peeve of mine. Being married to a Hindi-speaking guy, I speak Hindi on a daily basis and am consciously getting rid of all Urdu words from my vocabulary. It is a bit hard, as a lot of my Hindi learning came from Bollywood movies. So no more intejar, ittefaq, kayaamat etc. for me. I cringe upon hearing the mongrel version of Hindi we are dished out on a daily basis, when not peppered with equally unfitting English words.

Harish said...

I heard from several people that star news is the absolute worst in this, obviously this is deliberate and even common Hindi words not derived from Sanskrit are avoided, let me give some examples:

samapt = khatam/muqammal
mukh samachar = surkhia
samachar = khabar

There are many more, bollywood is even worse, i think majority of its words are from English or Farsi/Arabic and yet they call it Hindi.

venkatesh said...

Guys your blog is great and you do a super job of getting great articles and Rajeev's intellect is very sharp. Lets do something about this instead of saying that we are under attack. we are 800 mio and growing!!!

socal said...

Have been watching and feel pretty disgusted by it. This trend has been evolving for about a decade now.

It's not even that most people understand the Urdu, which is mostly Arabic words.

The funny thing is that because of its dominance on TV and in Bollywood trash common folks consider it prestigious to use the Arabised Hindi. Mocking of shuddh Hindi has been game. A role usually assigned to comical characters.

Well, I've given up watching Bollywood trash for a while, and haven't missed it ever since.

slim_shady said...

I have noticed this for a while. Most of these journalists do not seem to know how to speak Hindi properly. The words they use are generally Urdu equivalents, as if their entire 'Hindi' vocabulary has been sourced from Bollywood movies. They also throw in English words increasingly frequently just to 'get by' with their sentences.

Interestingly, our neighbouring counterparts use only Urdu words wherever required -- a 'shudh Hindi' word will never escape their lips. And although Urdu language has Indic roots, the writing is based on a Middle Eastern script.

Imagine if a British or American journalist did not know English well or a Japanese journalist struggled with the Japanese language. Of course, this analogy is sadly not necessarily valid.

Unfortunately, in Indian society, based on my impression, you are considered more 'intelligent' or more 'educated' based on your command of the English language. If you are a master at Hindi or Sanskrit, you are considered relatively 'backward'.
These are the values in our country that aspires to be 'a great power' -- one with an originally magnificent culture but that forcefully condemns itself to be a second rate version of all sorts of cultures and a first rate version of nothing. The Yoga instructors in the United States will probably have a better command of Indic languages and nomenclature than will today's lay Indian.

Pretty shameful stuff, in my opinion.

The groups of people with even small levels of pride in our culture will need to have a strong say at least in (1) education, and (2) the media. And for that to happen, some level of competent representation in the government helps.

karyakarta92 said...

Yes, I've noticed this for a while and it is very exasperating.
Regardless of Bollywood's infatuation with Urdu, Sankritised Hindi had a presence on Doordashan. With the advent of Cable TV, Zee News, I believe started newscasts in "Hinglish"
. That was quite atrocious, doing injustice to both languages.
Since then, it's been a descent down the slippery slope of linguistic bastardisation . Urdu is not even a proper language. Semantically speaking, it is a bastard tongue that has no grammar, phonetics, whatever.. It was born in the harems, barracks & courts of the Mohammedan conquerors of India - which the Dhimmis consider some kind of sophisticated medium of expression that rarefies the atmosphere. The Dhimmis consider fluency in this bastard tongue an index of cultural progress.
Whereas, it was this via this bastard tongue that virtually all vulgar expressions demeaning womanhood, virtually all filthy abuse made their "advent" to Bharat.

Search the Sanskrit language, in fact any pure Indic language including Tamil - and the equivalent of Urdu/Arabic/Farsi words defining incestuous relationships will not be found.
Whereas, the prefixes of these Urdu words are well known Arabic words for female relatives!
Having grown up in Hyderabad, I'm quite familiar with the idioms of the Mohammedan street, finding colorful expression in the bastard tongue.

Star News, allegedly a 24 hour "Hindi" news channel is the worst culprit in this matter. This channel is Dhimmitude, tabloid trash and incompetence personified.
As if that is not enough, it perpetrates its atrocities in the bastard tongue.

It is almost as if India has already become a Muslim majority country. Hindu sensibilities do not matter. Several years ago, in the mid-1990's there was extensive rioting in Karnataka, Bangalore in particular to protest against the Kaangress regime's decision to start a Urdu news bulletin on the local Doordarshan Kendra. In hindsight, that agitation was virtually in vain - with Urdu worship becoming the norm of the day.

Incidentally, the "Dravidians" have made many a political career based exlusively on a visceral hatred of "North Indians", the Hindi language and it's alleged "imposition". Is it not rather curious that these Tamil lovers meekly acquiesce in the
imposition of the bastard tongue of foreign invaders?

For the record, I am a "South Indian". I love Shuddh Hindi as much as my own Mother tongue. It is a treat to hear it spoken well.
Unfortunately, it has become the privilege of Hindu nationalists alone nowadays.

Sohan said...

"Imagine if a British or American journalist did not know English well or a Japanese journalist struggled with the Japanese language. Of course, this analogy is sadly not necessarily valid."

If you mean that the English and Japanese languages are not the best analogies in this context, that would be a correct assessment - modern English is heavy with Latin and French loanwords, while modern Japanese, in turn, borrows liberally from English.

Badri said...

rajeev i know this is of topic but this may be of use.

one time popular actress nagma has converted to Christianity and she is even being used as a preacher by one of the dozens of preaching groups appearing on television in tamil nadu. and looks like thier target now is depressed souls from fil industry(there are a lot of them)

TambiDude said...

This is what actor Balraj Sahni has to say about Hindi.

I think you will also agree that the British used the English language with remarkable success for strengthening their imperial hold on our country.

Now, which language in your opinion would their successors, the present rulers of India, choose to strengthen their own domination? Rashtrabhasha Hindi? By heavens, no. My hunch is that their interests too are served by English and English alone. But since they have to keep up a show of patriotism they make a lot of noise about Rashtrabhasha Hindi so that the mind of the public remains diverted.

Men of property may believe in a thousand different gods, but they worship only one-the God of profit. From the point of view of profit the advantages of retaining English to the capitalist class in this period of rapid industrialization and technological revolution are obvious. But the social advantages are even greater. From that point of view English is a God sent gift to our ruling classes.

Why? For the simple reason that the English language is beyond the reach of the toiling millions of our country. In olden times Sanskrit and Persian were beyond the reach of the toiling masses. That is why the rulers of those times had given them the status of state language. Through Sanskrit and Persian the masses were made to feel ignorant, inferior, uncivilized, and unfit to rule themselves. Sanskrit and Persian helped to enslave their minds, and when the mind is enslaved bondage is eternal.

It suits our present ruling classes to preserve and maintain the social order that they have inherited from the British. They have a privileged position; but they cannot admit it openly. That is why a lot of hoo-haw is made about Hindi as the Rashtrabhasha. They know very well that this Sanskrit-laden, artificial language, deprived of all modern scientific and technical terms, is too weak and insipid to challenge the supremacy of English. It will always remain a show piece, and what is more, a convenient tool to keep the masses fighting among themselves. We film people get a regular flow of fan mail from young people studying in schools and colleges. I get my share of it and these letters reveal quite clearly what a storehouse of torture the English language is to the vast majority of Indian students. How abysmally low the levels of teaching and learning have reached! That is why, I am told preferential treatment is being given to boys and girls who come from public schools i.e. schools to which only the children of privileged classes can go.

It is not necessary for me to comment on the efforts being made to strengthen English in every sphere of life, despite assurances to the contrary. They are all too obvious. It is admitted that English is too alien and hence too difficult to learn for the average Indian. And yet, it helps the capitalists and industrialists to consolidate their position on an all-India scale. That one consideration is more important than any other. According to them whatever serves their interest automatically serves national interest too. They are hopeful that in the not too distant future the people themselves will endorse their stand-that English should retain its present status for ever.

This was my hunch and I confided it one day to a friend of mine who is a labour leader. I told him that if we are serious about doing away with capitalism and bringing in socialism, we have to help the working class to consolidate itself on an all-India scale with the same energy as the capitalist class is doing. We have to help the working class achieve a leading role in society. And that can only be done by breaking the domination of English and replacing it with a people's language.

Ananth said...


I would completely agree and my opinion is it is a sinister work of one of the popular script writers of bollywood (who is incidentally also married to a person who can make no mistake). There are so many songs which use Allah as a synonym which god. Notice that ??

Sandeep said...

May I point out how paranoid all you folks are?
Language is not meant to remain static, and is always evolving and flowing from one form to another. Look at English and the SMSised version being used by the generation in colleges and schools. Its totally different from the English spoken in the 16th century.
If you people seriously expect Shuddh Hindi to remain the same 1000 years from now, you'll are seriously in need of help.


AGworld said...

I agree with Sandeep.

I guess its the same way in which Hindus have 'disappeared' from Pakistan and Bangaldesh.

The same way in which Hindus have become a minority in Kerala at the hands of the commies.

Its all part of the shifting sands of time.

Yup Sandeep, we're being paranoid.

slim_shady said...

If you mean that the English and Japanese languages are not the best analogies in this context, that would be a correct assessment - modern English is heavy with Latin and French loanwords, while modern Japanese, in turn, borrows liberally from English.

Hi, I did not mean that [the English and Japanese analogy does not necessarily apply] due to these technical reasons, although they may be true. I meant it more in that in India, unlike in countries where these languages are spoken, you seem to get far fewer points for mastering your own language as you do for mastering others'.

Also, Sandeep, based on your opinion of 'language evolution', why is it that no language is evolving into Hindi or Sanskrit, but it is only our rich languages that seem to evolve into all sorts of dialects? Let this 'random evolution' be a two way street.

Sohan said...

Many words from Sanskritic languages have already been borrowed liberally by various languages of Southeast Asia, such as those of Cambodia and Malaysia. That's about as close as one can get to examples of languages "evolving into Hindi or Sanskrit".

In any case, languages do not evolve INTO one another, but they do similarly borrow and eventually integrate words from other languages. It's only because of certain modern political concerns that this historically common linguistic drift is even being noticed (and not just in India, by the way).

Harish said...

Sandeep as usual is chatting shit, no one here is saying that language is constant, sangam tamil is very different from tamil today, the awadhi used in ramcharitmanas is very different from awadhi spoken today, that is NOT what is being talked about here.

Whats being talked about is the deliberate bastardization of Hindi being done on news where common Hindi words derived from sanskrit are not used but instead complicated farsi/arabic terms or English terms are used.

An example is "khud khushi", the word used by a majority in Hindi and even Panjabi is "atma hatya" but u almost never hear that word in bollywood or news, why is that sandeep?

Or how about, viruddh which is commonly used but is always replaced by qilaf, vair/shatru for enemy always replaced by dushman.

If anyone wants to see the gulf between Bollywood "Hindi" then listen to Hindi spoken in UP, various dialects like Bhojpuri, Awadhi etc and related languages like Panjabi and compare them to Bollywood vocab, you will find many commonly used words derived from sanskrit that bollywood avoids like the plague.

kp11 said...

Correction Harish, suicide is 'Khud kushi'. 'Khud khushi' is, ahem, self pleasure. Though even this term has been popularized by Bollywood as well, what embarrassing folks!

smet said...

Urdu and Hindi both share a common ancestry, starting from Sanskrit going down to Khariboli. When the Mughals came to India, the need to communicate with the natives was imperative, and as they tried to learn Khariboli, they inevitably mixed in quite many Old Persian words from their daily usage. Linguistically speaking, Old Persian is the niece of Sanskrit, and they share many of the same roots making Old Persian a close relative of the Indic languages.
So I ask all of you, why is your दुश्मन the Old Persian Language and its unique beauty? Urdu is neither a mongrel language nor a bastard language, and nor is it any coincidence that it and Hindi are mutually intelligible. The main enemy here should be borrowings from English vocabulary due to the laziness of the Indian people to use proper words. I agree that when constructing new words, go to Sanskrit, but do not condemn words borrowed from the Old Persian language from existing.
What truly angers me is when I see articles with a string of English words all written in Devanagari to make them appear as Hindi words. When I see फ्रुट जूस I internally cringe because I see the stupidity of the Indian people in simply adopting this alien language. These “Hindi” words should be purged from our dictionaries and our minds. This is the true शुद्ध हिन्दी that I aspire to see, not brother against brother in a battle over Hindi and Urdu. Gandhi Bapu himself wanted a combination of Hindi and Urdu, and while I do not wish to that happen, at least do not purposefully try to remove the influences of a neighbor language.

P.S. Hindi is closer linguistically to Russian, Icelandic, English, and Italian than it is to Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Tulu.