Ka Kha Ga may rule the roost

Hindi language

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the Sri Lankan President recently, he reportedly spoke in Hindi during the diplomatic exchange, though he never needed an interpreter to translate his counterpart’s English.

 In a different scenario, in Delhi University this year there has seemingly been a surge in interest for certificate courses in Hindi amongst foreign students. Though these two incidents are not interlinked, they go on to underscore the rise in interest in Hindi as a language which may give impetus to its demand as a subject. 

Asked about the rise in interest in Hindi, the officer incharge at the Department of Hindi in Faculty of Arts, Naresh Kumar, says, “Foreigners like both our Hindi language and our country. These certificate courses in Hindi are only for foreign nationals or Indians from non-Hindi speaking states. There’s a basic one year certification that is followed up by an advanced and a diploma course.” He explains, “In the certificate course, they are taught common Hindi stories in a basic way. Later, taking references from Hindi literature they are made to learn the nuances of the language.” 

A student from Busan, South Korea, Kim Tae-Eun, who recently completed her certificate course, tells a different story. “Koreans love India, we like to travel across the country. I just wanted to stay in India for a long duration travel. So, I chose to take a student visa to extend my stay.” She’s a student of International Trade in South Korea and admits, “I attended the course for eight to nine months but learnt nothing,” in broken English. 

While Tae-Eun was driven solely by touristic interests, there are others who genuinely feel an imperative need to learn Hindi. Hugo Ribadeaudumas, a French national, working in the developmental sector in Delhi, believes, “There’s an India outside of Delhi, that I wanted to connect with. So, understanding a language that is spoken in places like Patna in Bihar was essential for me. If I learnt only English, I would have had a very superficial encounter with India. In developmental sector you have to work with the people, you can’t go around with a translator all the time.” 

Since he couldn’t not afford any private courses in Hindi language during his stay as a student in the capital and was not informed about the courses at DU, he went back to his country and continued firing his interest in the language. “When I went back to Paris, I combined my Masters in Urban Development with BA in Hindi. It was maddening to manage the two at a time. But the idea was, that if I have to return to India and work, I should learn the basics and develop upon it by communicating with people on the go.” 

An undergraduate student learning Spanish at the Germanic and Romance studies department of DU, Manish Kumar hails from Jharkhand. Though he is not eligible to apply for a certificate course in Hindi, he says, “I want to work in the translation or publishing sector. For a Spanish to English translation why would the publishing sector look out for us when they have better options in Europe or America. What I can bank upon is my native language skills, Hindi.

So, there is a dire need for a certificate course for the same.” Justifying his appeal, he says, “You can see Bollywood’s impact around the world. An Indian audience may not be interested in Spanish classics, but Bollywood movies are constantly redubbed in Spanish. That’s where my skill set can be applied at best. But at this stage when I want to continue with a Masters’ in Hispanic studies, I cannot go back to do a three year degree in Hindi. A certificate course could have come to my rescue.” 

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