Pankajnath Tiwari :-
Hindi, also known as Hindustani, is an Indo-Aryan language primarily spoken in India and Nepal. It has a rich and fascinating history that spans several centuries. Here is an overview of the history of the Hindi language:
Early Origins: The roots of Hindi can be traced back to the ancient Indo-Aryan languages, which were spoken in the Indian subcontinent around 1500 BCE. These languages evolved from an earlier language called Sanskrit, which is considered the sacred language of Hinduism. Sanskrit played a significant role in shaping the grammatical structure and vocabulary of Hindi.
Emergence of Prakrits: Over time, the Indo-Aryan languages underwent changes and gave rise to various Prakrits, which were vernacular languages spoken by the common people. Prakrits were derived from Sanskrit but had simpler grammar and a larger influence of regional dialects. Ardhamagadhi, a Prakrit language, is believed to be a precursor to modern Hindi.
Influence of Persian: In the medieval period, Hindi came into contact with Persian due to the political and cultural influence of the Delhi Sultanate (13th to 16th centuries) and the Mughal Empire (16th to 19th centuries). Persian words and phrases started entering the Hindi vocabulary, particularly in the domains of art, culture, administration, and literature. This Persian-influenced form of Hindi is known as “Hindi-Urdu” or “Hindustani.”
Development of Devanagari Script: The Devanagari script, which is used to write Hindi, emerged around the 11th century CE. It is a Brahmi-derived script that evolved from earlier scripts such as the Siddhamatrika script. Devanagari became the standard script for Hindi, providing a uniform writing system that facilitated the spread of the language.
Bhakti and Medieval Literature: The medieval period saw the emergence of devotional movements, such as the Bhakti and Sufi movements, which greatly influenced the development of Hindi literature. Prominent Bhakti poets like Kabir, Tulsidas, and Surdas composed their verses in Hindi, making the language more accessible to the masses. Their works explored themes of love, devotion, and social harmony.
Colonial Era: With the arrival of European powers, particularly the British, Hindi encountered new influences. English words and concepts entered the Hindi vocabulary, and Hindi literature began adopting modern literary forms and styles. The spread of Western education and the advent of printing presses played a crucial role in promoting Hindi as a written language.
Modern Standard Hindi: After India gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947, efforts were made to standardize Hindi. The Constitution of India recognized Hindi in the Devanagari script as the official language of the Indian government. Modern Standard Hindi, influenced by the Khari Boli dialect, became the standard form of the language, while Urdu emerged as a separate language with a significant Persian and Arabic vocabulary.
Influence of Regional Dialects: Hindi has been influenced by various regional dialects across different parts of India. As the language spread, it absorbed vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammatical elements from regional languages such as Braj Bhasha, Awadhi, Maithili, Rajasthani, and others. These dialects have contributed to the diversity and richness of the Hindi language.
Hindi as a Literary Language: Hindi literature has a long and illustrious history. The medieval period witnessed the growth of Hindi literature through the works of renowned poets and writers. Tulsidas’ Ramcharitmanas, a retelling of the Hindu epic Ramayana, became a seminal work in Hindi literature. Other prominent literary figures include Surdas, Kabir, Mirabai, and Rahim, who composed poetry in Hindi.
Modern Hindi Literature: In the 20th century, Hindi literature experienced a surge of creativity and experimentation. Notable authors such as Premchand, Jaishankar Prasad, Mahadevi Verma, Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala,’ and Harivansh Rai Bachchan contributed significantly to Hindi literature. Their works explored a wide range of themes, including social issues, nationalism, and human emotions.
Bollywood Influence: Hindi has gained immense popularity through the Indian film industry, popularly known as Bollywood. Hindi film songs, dialogues, and scripts have played a significant role in spreading the language across India and even globally. Bollywood has contributed to the development of a modern colloquial Hindi, blending elements of various dialects and contemporary expressions.
Official Status and Standardization: As mentioned earlier, Hindi has official status in India as one of the country’s official languages. The Central Hindi Directorate, an agency under the Indian Ministry of Education, plays a crucial role in promoting and standardizing the Hindi language. It works towards maintaining the purity of the language, standardizing grammar and vocabulary, and publishing dictionaries and other language resources.
Hindi in Media and Education: Hindi enjoys a prominent presence in various forms of media, including newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and the internet. It is also a widely taught language in schools and universities across India. Efforts have been made to enhance Hindi education and create resources for non-native speakers to learn and appreciate the language.
Global Reach: Hindi has a significant diaspora presence in various parts of the world, primarily due to Indian communities settled abroad. Hindi-speaking communities can be found in countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and many others. Hindi films, music, and literature contribute to maintaining the language’s global appeal and visibility.
Impact of Indian Independence Movement: During the Indian independence movement in the 20th century, Hindi played a significant role as a symbol of national identity and unity. Prominent leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Subhash Chandra Bose emphasized the importance of Hindi in unifying the diverse Indian population. Hindi slogans, speeches, and writings became powerful tools for mobilizing public support for independence.
Language Controversies: The status of Hindi as the official language of India has not been without controversy. The decision to promote Hindi as the national language sparked protests from non-Hindi-speaking regions, particularly in South India. This led to the adoption of a policy of linguistic diversity, whereby multiple languages were recognized as official languages of different states. The issue of language continues to be a sensitive and debated topic in India.
Hindi and Modern Technology: In recent decades, Hindi has adapted to the digital age, with the emergence of Hindi content on the internet, social media platforms, and mobile applications. The availability of Hindi typing tools, online dictionaries, and language learning resources has facilitated the use and growth of Hindi in the digital space.
Standardization Challenges: Hindi, like any living language, continues to evolve and face challenges in standardization. The influence of regional dialects, the impact of globalization, and the incorporation of loanwords from English and other languages pose challenges to maintaining a standardized form of Hindi. However, efforts are being made to strike a balance between preserving the language’s heritage and adapting to contemporary usage.
Hindi as a Link Language: Hindi serves as a link language for communication between people from different regions of India. While there are numerous regional languages in India, Hindi acts as a common language that enables communication and understanding among people from diverse linguistic backgrounds. This has contributed to Hindi’s widespread use and acceptance across various states.
Future Outlook: Hindi’s future is closely tied to India’s socio-cultural and political landscape. As India continues to develop and globalize, Hindi will likely evolve further, adapting to the changing needs and preferences of its speakers. However, the language’s strong cultural roots and historical significance ensure its continued relevance and importance in the Indian subcontinent.
Influence on Other Languages: Hindi has had a significant impact on the development of other languages in the Indian subcontinent. Several regional languages, such as Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, and Punjabi, have been influenced by Hindi in terms of vocabulary, grammar, and literary styles. This influence has resulted in linguistic interconnections and cultural exchanges among different language communities.
Hindi in Literature and Film: Hindi literature has produced a wide range of genres, including poetry, fiction, drama, and essays. Prominent Hindi authors and poets have been recognized with prestigious literary awards, including the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Jnanpith Award. Similarly, Hindi cinema, known as Bollywood, has contributed to the popularity and diffusion of Hindi language and culture through its films, songs, and dialogues.
Hindi as a Language of Science and Technology: In recent years, efforts have been made to promote the use of Hindi in the fields of science and technology. Terminologies in various scientific disciplines, including physics, chemistry, and biology, have been standardized in Hindi to facilitate scientific communication and education in the language. The aim is to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and the Hindi-speaking population.
Hindi as a Global Language: With the increasing Indian diaspora around the world, Hindi has gained recognition and interest on the global stage. Hindi language courses are offered in many universities outside of India, allowing non-native speakers to learn and engage with the language. Furthermore, Hindi has been included as one of the languages in international language proficiency tests like the Test of Hindi as a Foreign Language (THFL).
Linguistic Research and Scholarship: Scholars and linguists have devoted considerable effort to the study and analysis of the Hindi language. Academic institutions, research organizations, and language departments in universities conduct research on various aspects of Hindi, including its grammar, dialects, historical development, and sociolinguistic patterns. This research contributes to a deeper understanding of Hindi and its place in the linguistic landscape.
Hindi as a Medium of Education: Hindi serves as the medium of instruction in numerous schools, colleges, and universities in India. It plays a crucial role in imparting education to millions of students across the country. Additionally, Hindi-language literature and textbooks are published to support the academic curriculum and promote Hindi language skills among students.
Online Hindi Learning Platforms: The advent of online platforms and language learning apps has facilitated the learning and practice of Hindi for individuals around the world. These platforms offer interactive lessons, audio resources, and virtual communities that enable learners to enhance their Hindi language skills and engage with native speakers.