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Thursday, January 19, 2006 

The Misfortune of Hindi

Since my 10th standard, I have been an avid Hindi poetry follower. I have dabbled in Hindi poetry myself, but the results have been at best, mediocre. But my reading has been limited to reading poetry from Hindi textbooks or some poems online (in case you want to read some, click here).

I have looked for books of Hindi poetry in all the four cities (Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, and Bangalore) in India I have lived in, but never found one bookstore which keeps books on Hindi Poetry. Surprising, isn’t it? Considering the fact that Hindi is our national language, one should assume that Hindi Literature should be available everywhere in India. However those who are aware of the lingual politics played in the country don’t find it surprising at all.

India, being a multi lingual country (23 languages with official status), has always had well-developed literature in all its languages, sometime even in dialects of languages. After the drawing of state lines in 1960 on a linguistic basis, India has seen lot of politics played over languages. So keen were local politicians to protect the local language that they did not allow Hindi to be taught in schools. Also, Hindi could not become the business language of India, as English was already dominant in that sphere. Hence there was hardly any economic benefit in learning Hindi.

Hindi is popular only in the Northern parts of India, were a majority speak the language. Unfortunately, I have always stayed in the western/ southern part of India. Although Hindi is spoken and understood in Mumbai, where I have spent most of my life, most people interested in reading, follow either English literature or Marathi literature (Marathi is the state language).

I sometimes pity the condition of Hindi, and the scanty respect paid to it by some of my countrymen. I wish there was some way of making it more popular.

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Couldn't agree more with you!! Been living and reading English but try to find Hindi...... and voila! All the books seem to have disappeared. The regional problem certainly exacerbates this matter but I think the roots lie elsewhere. Meanwhile, my Nokia phone works in Hindi presently. One small step......

There are some shops in Hyderabad that have a decent collection of hindi literature. though not as good as you might find in places like delhi and lucknow. If you go looking again.. i could tell u some places.

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