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ARE WE PROMOTING HINDI OR A "LINGO"?

A friend whose daughter received a letter few days ago from the Life Insurance Corporation of India, asking her to attend an interview for the post of " Virattak Abhikarta " rang me to find out what the post was like and what were the expected duties. On inquiry an officer from the LIC told me that " Virattak Abhikarta " means a " Career Agent “! My Hindi is fairly good, but I too was baffled by the strangeness of the word.
The episode tossed me back to my college days, when Dr Raghuvir’s formidable Hindi replaced simple Hindi, in a state of unprepredness. For example, in economics we write " Upbhokta ki Bachat " for consumers' surplus. But this was not acceptable, alternatively and compulsorily; we were supposed to write,"Upbhokta -dhrikkya “! The university results that year were so dismal that an irate Chancellor ordered withdrawal of all those books, which preached such difficult words.
I asked the LIC officer what objection could there be if the English equivalents were mentioned beneath the difficult Hindi words and terminology. He readily agreed and offered to talk to his seniors about it. When I suggested the English equivalents, I was not appeasing the English knowing/class of people, for my sole consideration was promotion of the National language. I wanted to impress upon my friend at the LIC office (I wish banks, different offices, private and autonomous institutions note the request) that if beneath the difficult and unusual words of Hindi English equivalents were mentioned, they would get etched in memory, and would naturally pass into the common vocabulary.
To know more what was happening in the Rashtra Bhasha Prachar Abhiyan (Campaign for the promotion of the National language) I talked to people at the Rashtra Bhasha Prachar Sansthan, bank, LIC officers and others. The Rashtra Bhasha Sanstha is popularising Hindi by conducting various examinations, duly recognised by the State government. Banks and their branches, and other central government offices, too have Hindi cells and undertake promotion of Hindi for which funds are generously available. Annually, they earmark a Hindi-month during which popular programmes are organised, and incentives are provided to non-Hindi writers, writing in Hindi.
But one thing which struck me as very strange was that all these institutions, by carving out chaste Hindi words, are exclusively serving the vocabulary needs of technical, professional and administrative spheres of the national life. Not much is being done for the language as such. Thus instead of promoting Hindi, they were promoting a "lingo"--language for the experts and the specialists. Why difficult words are strenuous to the common man, nay even to the educated laymen, is therefore understandable.
The Rashtra Bhasha campaigners completely ignored the spoken Hindi. The question asked is: do we have the same level of spoken Hindi as we have of written Hindi? It is this, which is highly disappointing. In our efforts at special vocabulary building, we have completely lost sight of the spoken Hindi. We have only written Hindi of which we can be proud, but no spoken Hindi: instead we have Hindustani, which is vastly colloquial Hindi minus Sanskrit, and a dash of Urdu minus Persian. It is this Hindustani--an unorganised Indian language, which boasts of no territorial boundaries or literature, yet has phenomenal all India acceptance. It happens to be the common language of the uneducated and the illiterate. If we are looking for an acceptable, serviceable and easy to understand spoken Hindi, which would found a standard spoken Hindi, we shall have to promote this language. Besides, the very fact that no state recognises Hindustani, yet unconsciously speaks it in its crudest form, gives it a tremendous chance of unbiased national acceptance. Nay, as an underdog, it would attract generous patronage. Rashtra Bhasha campaigners should initiate measures to attend to this neglected aspect of their mission.

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Zamiruddin .

Media/Journalist/Author

Madhya Pradesh ,  INDIA

Former professor of English Hon Sec The International Byron Society London President Guardians Guild wrote articles for The pioneer, The National Mail, M.P. Chronicle former Columnist for Hindustan Times Columnist Urdu daily Nadeem wrote Byron and the Drama of Ideas (Salzburg University Austria) Smile Please Chalte Phirte (M.P. Urdu Academy) In Stride satisfied with being a Social activist and member of the Bhopal Citizens Forum; edited Shakespeare's Dictionary and Compendium of His Complete works.

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