The VOyes Story: Hindi
The 3rd story to tell for VOyes is about Hindi, the official language of India and spoken widely and understood by most of the Indians and people of Indian ethnicity. The introduction to the Hindi language was largely due to the rise of Indian movies, popularly known as ‘Bollywood’ movies.
I am aware of the two generations before me who were in love with Indian movies. Other than the movies, the ties between India and Bangladesh in terms of history, culture, language is so strong that it would have been unwise not to embrace Hindi with an open arm while keeping own identity and objectives clear.
So much so that a great part of my linguistic pursuits was facilitated by my grandfather – my nanabhai – who always encouraged me to go for learning new languages. He was the one who bought me a “Quick Hindi Learning” book from the Dhaka New Market and he also joined me to learn how to write and read Hindi. He already knew how to speak it.
Due to the similarity in the alphabets and sharing of the linguistic family with Bengali (both having roots in Sanskrit, both Indo-Aryan languages), I could read and even write Hindi in no time. The only obstacle which I had and still come across from time to time is the issue around genders – Bengali has no gender i.e. all words are equal (as in English), whereas Hindi nouns have genders (masculine or feminine, like French, Spanish etc.).
Having spent 4 precious years of my university life in Delhi turned out to be the best years of my life in terms of making friends, falling in love, not only with the person who is my wife now but also with India in general – the people, the food, the culture, the vibe and the languages!
The key principle which I used to follow was very simple. I always tried to speak in English and Hindi while inside India. And whenever I was in Bangladesh I always spoke in Bengali and English. There was no rocket science behind it, loving a language including the mother-tongue doesn’t mean that one should have hatred towards any language in particular. It is common sense to speak in the local and international language depending on the situation.