Hindi Imposition - By Vishal Kodial

Modern Standard Hindi

Standard Hindi, the official language of India, is based on the Khariboli dialect of the Delhi region and differs from Urdu in that it is usually written in the indigenous Devanagari script of India and exhibits less Persian influence than Urdu. Many scholars today employ a Sanskritized form of Hindi developed primarily in Varanasi, the Hindu holy city, which is based on the Eastern Hindi dialect of that region and thus a separate language from official Standard Hindi. It has a literature of 500 years, with prose, poetry, religion & philosophy, under the Bahmani Kings and later on Khutab Shahi Adil Shahi etc. It is a living language, still prevalent all over the Deccan Plateau. Note that the term "Hindustani" has generally fallen out of common usage in modern India, except to refer to a style of Indian classical music prevalent in northern India. The term used to refer to the language is "Hindi", regardless of the mix of Persian or Sanskrit words used by the speaker. One could conceive of a wide spectrum of dialects, with the highly Persianized Urdu at one end of the spectrum and a heavily Sanskrit-based dialect, spoken in the region around Varanasi, at the other end of the spectrum. In common usage in India, the term "Hindi" includes all these dialects except those at the Urdu end of the spectrum. Thus, the different meanings of the word "Hindi" include, among others:
  1. standardized Hindi as taught in schools throughout India,
  1. formal or official Hindi advocated by Purushottam Das Tandon and as instituted by the post-independence Indian government, heavily influenced by Sanskrit,
  1. the vernacular dialects of Hindustani/Hindi-Urdu as spoken throughout India,
  1. the neutralized form of the language used in popular television and films, or
  1. The more formal neutralized form of the language used in broadcast and print news reports.
Hindi and Urdu

While, at the spoken level, Urdu and Hindi are considered registers of a single language, they differ vastly in literary and formal vocabulary; where literary Urdu draws heavily on Persian and Arabic, literary Hindi draws heavily on Sanskrit and to a lesser extent Prakrit. The grammar and base vocabulary (most pronouns, verbs, ad positions, etc.) of both Urdu and Hindi, however, are the same and derive from a Prakritic base, and both have a heavy Persian influence.
The associated registers of Urdu and Hindi are known as "Hindi-Urdu". It is perhaps the lingua franca of the west and north of the Indian subcontinent, though it is understood fairly well in other regions also, especially in the urban areas. A common vernacular sharing characteristics with Urdu, Sanskritized Hindi, and regional Hindi, Hindi-Urdu is more commonly used as a vernacular than highly Arabicized/Persianized Urdu or highly Sanskritized Hindi.
This can be seen in the popular culture of Bollywood or, more generally, the vernacular of Pakistanis and Indians which generally employs a lexicon common to both "Urdu" and "Hindi" speakers. Minor subtleties in region will also affect the 'brand' of Hindi-Urdu, sometimes pushing the Hindi-Urdu closer to Urdu or to Hindi. One might reasonably assume that the language spoken in LucknowUttar Pradesh (known for its beautiful usage of Urdu) and Varanasi (a holy city for Hindus and thus using highly Sanskritized Hindi) is somewhat different.
Hindi-Urdu, if both Hindi and Urdu are counted, is the third or second most widely spoken language in the world afterMandarin and possibly English

Official status 

Hindustani, in its standardized registers, is the official language of both India (Hindi) and Pakistan (Urdu).Urdu, the original standardized register of Hindustani, is the national language of Pakistan, where it shares official language status with English. Although English is used in most elite circles, and Punjabi and Pashto has a plurality of native speakers, Urdu is the lingua franca and is expected to prevail. Urdu is also one of the official languages of India, and in the Indian states of Andhra PradeshBiharDelhiJammu and Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh, Urdu has official language status. While the government school system in most other states emphasizesModern Standard Hindi, at universities in cities such as LucknowAligarh and Hyderabad, Urdu is spoken and learned and is regarded as a language of prestige.
Hindi, the other standardized register of Hindustani, is declared by the Constitution of India as the "official language (rājabhāshā) of the Union" (Art. 343(1)) (In this context, 'Union' means the Federal Government and not the entire country - India has 22 official languages). At the same time, however, the definitive text of Federal laws is officially the English text and proceedings in the higher appellate courts must be conducted in English. At the state level, Hindi is an official language in 9 of the 28Indian states and three Union Territories (namely Uttar PradeshBiharJharkhandUttarakhand,Madhya PradeshRajasthanChhattisgarhHimachal Pradesh, and Haryana and UTs are DelhiChandigarhAndaman and Nicobar Islands). In the remaining states Hindi is not an official language. In the state of Tamil Nadu studying Hindi is not compulsory in the state curriculum. However an option to take the same as second or third language does exist. In many other states, studying Hindi is usually compulsory in the school curriculum as a third language (the first two languages being the state's official language and English), though the intensiveness of Hindi in the curriculum varies.
Hindustani was the official language of India at the time of the British Raj, ending with the partition of India in 1947; the term was a synonym for Urdu.

Hindi-Urdu outside South Asia

Besides being the lingua franca of South Asia of India and Pakistan, Hindi-Urdu is spoken among people of the South Asian diaspora and their descendants in North AmericaSouth America, the CaribbeanEuropeAfrica, and the Middle East.
Hindi-Urdu was also spoken widely in Burma during British rule as the main language of the administration. Many olderBurmese, particularly the Anglo-Indians and Anglo-Burmese of the country, still speak the language although it has had no official status in the country since military rule.
"Hindustani" as a term for other Hindi languagesOutside of the subcontinent, the name Hindustani is frequently used in the sense of "Indian", and may be applied to any of several other Hindi languages.
Fijian Hindustani (also called Fiji Hindi), for example, descends not from Hindustani proper, but from one of the eastern Hindi languages called Awadhi. It has a strong Bhojpuri influence that differentiates it from the Awadhi spoken on the Indian subcontinent, though not to the extent of hindering mutual understanding. It is spoken by nearly the entire Indo-Fijian community, 38.1% of Fiji's population, regardless of ancestry.
Similarly, Caribbean Hindustani is actually Bhojpuri as spoken in SurinameGuyanaTrinidad and Tobago, and Belize.Sarnami Hindustani is the second most spoken language in Suriname after Dutch. This is due to the emigration of East Indians (known locally as Hindoestanen in Suriname) from the Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in North India. Ethnic Indians form 37% of the population in Suriname, the largest ethnic group there. Ethnic Indians also make up around 45% of Guyana's population, but unlike in Suriname they have mostly switched from Bhojpuri to English. In South Africa, Kenya and other parts of Africa, older descendants of 18th century sugar cane workers also speak a variety of Bhojpuri as their second language.[citationHindi-Urdu and 


The predominant Indian film industry Bollywood, located in MumbaiMaharashtra uses dialects of Hindi-Urdu, Awadhi,Rajasthani, Bhojpuri, Punjabi and Bambaiya Hindi, along with liberal use of English for the dialogue and soundtrack lyrics.
Movie titles are often screened in three scripts: Latin, Devanagari and Perso-Arabic. The use of Urdu or Hindi in films depends on the film's context: historical films set in the Delhi Sultanate or Mughal Empire are almost entirely in Urdu, while films based on Hindu mythology make heavy use of Hindi with Sanskrit vocabulary.

History of Hindi language
Round about 500 AD there were regional Prakrits which were the source of modern Indo-Aryan languages and the authors can think of these Prakrits as –
1.      Eastern Prakrit or Magadhi.
2.      Central Prakrit or Ardha-Maagadhi.
3.      Northern Prakrit, which may be called Khasa or Himalayan Prakrit.
4.      SauraseniPrakrit as current in Western U.P. and parts of Eastern Punjab as well as of Rajasthan.
5.      Possibly a special Prakrit of Western Rajasthan, Saurashtra and Gurjara.
6.      A Prakrit embracing Northern and Western Punjab and Sind.
7.      Possibly there was another Prakrit, which was current in Malava. But it might have just been a variety of Sauraseni.
8.      We have the Prakrit current in Maharashtra, which was this time confined only to the northern districts of the present day Maratha country.

By the end of 1300 a.d. the following Modern Indo-Aryan languages or groups had become established.
  1. Bengali-Assamese which in spite of differences in pronunciation came upon to be looked upon as one language till 1500 AD.
  1. Oriya, which remained close to Bengali but had its own development.
  1. Maithili, the speech of North Bihar became fully established by 1300.
  1. Magahi, the speech of South Bihar, which was very close to Maithili and although was different in many ways did not create much literature.
  1. Bhojpuri is an important language of Eastern India.
  1. Kosali dialects, these became differentiated into its present day descendants, Awadhi, Bagheli, Chattisgarhi. Kosali seems to have been cultivated very early and we have a Sanskrit work that indicates that there was an attempt to teach Sanskrit through the Old Kosala speech, goes back to the 1st half of the 12th century.
  1. Brajabhasa speech is connected with Bundeli and Kanauji; this is parts of modern day Western U.P., parts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
  1. Old Western Rajasthani, which after 1500 got bifurcated into Western Rajasthani or Marwari and Gujarati on the other.

  1.  Sindh speech derived out of the Old VrachadaApabhramsa of Sind.
  1.  Lastly we have the incipient Punjabi language, mainly on a Western Punjabi basis.

We also have Kashmiri as a Dardic speech profoundly modified by Indo Aryan, which was taking shape by 1300.
Assamese – Bengali which may be taken as two languages, considering that the political history of Assam and Bengal were quite independent of each other from very early times, Oriya – Maithili and Magahi as a wholly developed though connected dialect, Bhojpuri – Kosali, also known as Gahwari, Brajabhasha with Kanauji and Bundeli, perhaps not yet fully differentiated, the Rajasthani dialects, of which the most important was the Marwari, largely used in literature and Gujarati which went along with Marwari, Marathi and the connected Konkani dialects, and then Punjabi both Western and Eastern and Sindhi.
Besides there was a group of North Indian or Himalayan dialects, coming from the old KhasaPrakrit of which the authors have no specimen until very late times. Excepting Bengali-Assamese-Oriya-Marathi-Gujarati-Sindhi-Punjabi the speeches of the North Indian plains have had a restricted literary employment during the last one hundred years and people from the beginning of the 20th century have accepted a form of Western Hindi (the Khariboli speech of Delhi) as their language of education, literature and public life. It has become the national language while Maithili, Magahi, Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Bagheli, Brajabhasa, Chattisgarhi with other Central and Western Himalayan dialects being described as dialects of Hindi. But that was not the case till about 150 years ago.
The vocabulary of Hindi is chiefly derived from Sanskrit. Like other Indo-Aryan languages Hindi in its present shape began to take shape around the 10th century a.d. But before the 14th century it was highly influenced by the SauraseniApabhramsa. Interestingly Sauraseni also gave birth to Punjabi. (refer the article on Punjabi).
Oldest Hindi Mystico – Devotional Poetry    - The padas and vanis of GorakhNatha 1150, the great NathaPantha teacher, and other contemporary Yogis preaching the philosophy and practice of hatha-yoga are also ascribed to this period. But their language is very changed and it is difficult to decide how much of these compositions are genuine. These poems emphasize the need for a pure life, detachment from material prosperity, and real knowledge, which prepared the ground for the bhakta poets of a later period.

The article has two chapters –
  1. Covers development of Hindi from 1300 to 1947.
  1. Scripts in India of the Present Day

1300 to 1526                                                                          

Western HindiThe Khariboli form of Hindi which was accepted as the Official Language of India is one of the youngest of the Indian languages. As such it did not come into any literary use before 1800 a.d. and its effective literary employment started after 1850. When we said Hindi literature it meant Brajbhasa the most important form of Western Hindi prior to 1850. It is customary to include in this expression Awadhi although it is genetically of a different Prakrit origin from Western Hindi. Since we assumed other languages to be dialects lots of literature written in other languages became part of Hindi literature. For example devotional songs of Mirabai were written in Rajasthani or Bhojpuri, Maithili, Garhwali speeches.
During 1000 to 1300 a.d. Western Hindi was evolving out of Apabhramsa. It was during this period that a kind of linguistic hesitancy, that the first drafts of great Rajput heroic romances like Prithvirajarasau took shape. They were mostly in Western Hindi and they stand at the base of what may be described Hindi literature as also of Rajasthani literature. The Brahman scholars were busy composing works in Sanskrit, both stories and philosophical works but the revival initiated by them on the basis of translations from the epics and Puranas was to come later.
Amir Khushrav 1253 to 1325 a well-known Persian poet was one of the earliest writers of Hindi as well. Although the actual mass of Hindi compositions written by him is quite small he was fully alive to the importance of Hindi. He was also the author of Khaliq-Bari which is a brief dictionary in verse of Pers-Arabic and Hindi. The book did a lot to spread Perso-Arabic words among the people of North India and helped bring about the development of Urdu.
Between1300 to 1400 a.d. we do not find any writer in Hindi though compilation of Apabhramsa texts and their study in a mixture of Rajsathani and Apabhramsa appeared to have continued in the courts of Rajput chiefs and North India. Hindi literature during the 15th century was dominated by Kabir.
The abandon of faith in and love of God was a new strain in Indian religious experience for which the North is indebted to the South. The Saints of Tamil Nadu, Saivites or Vaishnavites had a deep love for God, which in turn formed the basis of the Bhakti school. Two noted VaishnavaAcharyasRamananda 1400-1470 and Vallabhacharya 1473 to 1531 inspired many great personalities during this period.
They included Kabir. The former was an ardent devotee of Lord Ram, a great Sanskrit scholar who wrote in Hindi too. The latter was a Sanskrit scholar who was a devotee of Lord Krishna. He came from Andhra but made Mathura his main seat of teaching. One of his disciples was Surdasa.
This new Bhakti movement revolutionized Hindi language and literature. The language became free from the unnecessary inhibitions and shackles of the Apabhramsa tradition. The poets came from the masses, sincere in thought and behavior. They used language that was familiar to the people.A number of Kabir’sdohas found in the Kabir canon is in pure Bhojpuri his native language. But most of his writings are now available in a mixed language. This is popularly known as sadhukkadaboli or the speech of wandering sadhus. It is basically Western Hindi – Braja –bhasa and occasional forms of Awadhi. Guru Nanak wrote in Western Hindi tinged with Punjabi.
Kosali or Awadhi or called Eastern HindiAt present there is little literary endeavor in Eastern Hindi since most speakers have adopted western Hindi. However, Awadhi has been one of the earliest Indo Aryan languages to be cultivated for literature. The oldest specimen of Awadhi is found in Ukti-vyakti-prakarana of Damodara Pandita who flourished during the first half of the 12th century. He wrote this book to teach Sanskrit through his mother tongue which was a kind of old Awadhi. The Sufi tradition which became established in India in the 14th century found a series of writers mostly Muslim who took a number of poems of medieval Hindu inspiration and wove them into poems in Awadhi, MaulanaDaud was probably the first of them. The manuscripts of these poems in Awadhi are mostly Persian in character due to the Muslim influence existing at that point of time.

1526 to 1707 

                                                 The greatest Hindi writer during this period was GosvamiTulsidasa, born in U.P. sometime in 1523. He wrote his masterpiece Rama-charita-manas sometime in 1574 in his native Awadhi dialect. It narrates the story of Rama and through it propounds the story of the Bhakti Cult. Besides its literary importance it rendered a great service to the Hindus of North India who were submerged under the flood of Islamic conquest.
Quote Dr S K Chatterjee excerpts “Tulisdasa with his books did the greatest service in strengthening the Hindus of North India in their old ways, culture which seemed to be overwhelmed in the flood-side of an aggressive Islam and by the side attacks on Hindu cultural life through covert preaching against orthodoxy, which inculcated the study of Sanskrit books, going to places of pilgrimages and performance of various religious rites. If a writer’s popularity is to be gauged by the number of quotations from him known to the masses, then there is none else in the range of Hindi to stand before Tulsidasa”.
One of the important characteristics of the Indian civilization is the strength we derive from the characters in Mahabharata and Ramayana. As a child my mother read out these epics to me from the Amar Chitra Katha, sub-consciously they seem to have impacted my mind, whenever in trouble I draw inspiration from one of the characters therein. Interestingly I saw a movie ‘Lord of the Rings’, big hit, that to my mind was totally inspired from the Mahabharata. I could actually identify similar characters, Arjun, Bhim and Ghatotkach to name a few.
Tulasi-dasa wrote many other devotional works of which Vinaya-Patrika (letters of Prayer) is most well-known. He preached pure devotion of God but believed in a personal God with attributes as was represented by Rama, an avatar of Vishnu. He died on 1623.
The spirit of Tulasi-dasa encouraged many writers like Agra-dasa and Nabhaji-dasa who wrote in Braj-bhasha, the famous Bhakti-mala (the garland of saints) that gives accounts of Vaishnava saints from the early period down to 1600. Another set of poets worshipped Krishna and drew inspiration from BhagavataPurana instead of the Ramayana,Surdasawas one of them lived between 1503 to 1563 and wrote thousands of lyrics on the different stages of Krishna’s life. His Aura-sagara is a collection of songs mainly devoted to the lilas of Krishna as a child and as a youthful lover of the gopis, the most important being Radha.
Another poet of this school was Mirabai (1498 around to 1546) a Rajput princess married to the prince of Mewar. She was devoted to Krishna. Her songs were originally composed in Marwari, but their language has been largely altered to Braj-bhasa dialect of Hindi in order to make them popular outside Gujarat and Rajasthan. Several works attributed to her are NarsijiKaMahero, Gitagovinda Ki Tika, Ragagovinda, Garva-gita.
The Awadhi dialect of Hindi was enriched by a number of Sufi writers who wove some romantic tales of the folklore type into beautiful allegorical plays by way of elucidating the characteristics of Sufi doctrines. MaulanaDaud is the author of the oldest work of this type Chandayan. But the greatest writer of this school was Malik M Jayasi whose poem Padumavati composed between 1520 to1540 is a detailed Sufi allegorical treatment of the famous story of Padmini of Chitor.
Literature in Braj-bhasha flourished under Akbar and was enriched by poets/musicians of his court like Tansen who wrote highly poetic and sometimes profound songs on various topics, devotional and descriptive. Another Kesava-dasa (1565-1617) introduced a deliberately and artificially rhetorical and artistic type of literature.
Roughly from the beginning of the 17th century to the middle of the 19th century Hindi literature took a new turn. This period is called Rita-kala, a name given to it by Ramchandra Shukla.
Many talented poets in this period tried to write books on various aspects of Indians poetics such as rasa, alankara and nayaka-nayika-bhela, on the lines of Sanskrit rhetorical tradition. Some of them were ChintamaniTripathi 1609 who wrote Kavya-vivekaetc, Kesavadasa who wrote Rasika-priya in 1591 were poets of a high order comparable to classical lyrists like Amaru, Govardhana and Jayadeva.
Bhusana 1613 to 1712 wrote heroic poetry of a beautiful type. His panegyrics on Shivaji in the most musical Braha-bhasa were amongst the most stirring things in the domain of medieval Indian poetry. His poetry gave hope to the Hindus of that age when everything seemed lost.
The most popular poet of the RitiSchool was Biharilal 1600-63 the court poet of Jay Singh the Raja of Amber for his 700 verses. Its popularity can be judged from the fact that it was translated into various Indian languages including Sanskrit. His minute observations of the behaviors of lovers and their physical / mental expressions attracted men of culture in the middle ages.
The last great Hindi poet during this period was LalKavi who in 1707 wrote Chhatra-prakasa, a beautiful biography of Chhatrasal, the Raja of Bundelkhand. Guru Govind Singh composed some important works in Hindi mostly in Apabhramsa style including the autobiographical poem BichitraNatak. His Krishna-katha 1688, Rama-katha 1695 reminds us of Surdasa and Tulasidasa respectively. To read more the Guru’s attitude to Hindi please go to the article on Punjabi.
The Hindi literature described above is mostly in verse. Good modern Hindi prose did not make its appearance before the 18th century.

1707 to 1818

                                                  Hindi literature during this period continued the style and tradition of the previous period though several writers gave evidence of high style and perfection. Reference must be made to Bhushana who wrote works on Shivaji in most musical Brajbhasha marked by ardent patrioticism of a Hindu.
Hindi prose in KhariBoli and Brajbhasha whose beginnings go back to the 16th century a.d. was highly developed. Very good progress in KhariBoli i.e. Delhi Hindi is evidenced by the prose rendering of Yagavasishtha Ramayana completed by RamprasadNiranjani in 1741 as one example.
The development of modern Hindi from the beginning of the 19th century is dealt with below.
1818 to 1905                                                  The epoch of modern Hindi literature started at the beginning of the 19th century but its progress was very small until the middle of the 19th century. There was a beginning of a prose literature but its language – KhariBoli – was roughly the standard speech of Delhi identical in grammar (though not in script, higher vocabulary and sometimes syntax) with Urdu, the Muslim form of Hindi. The extent of this prose was very meager but there was a vast literature in Brajbhakha, Awadhi and Rajasthani. But there was hardly any poetry in Khari-Boli, which was employed in prose. This disparity gradually disappeared in the second half of the 19th century and one common form of Hindi came to be used in prose and verse, though a few authors wrote in Brajbhakha and Awadhi.
Like Bengali Hindi prose owes its origin partly to the efforts of the Christian missionaries to translate religious texts Bible and of the authorities of Fort William College in Calcutta to prepare suitable textbooks for students. The first such author was LallujiLal of Agra who wrote Prem Sagar in 1803 on the story of Krishna’s life as described in the BhagvataPurana. It is one of the earliest KhariBoli classics. Pandit Mishra a Bhojpuri speaking scholar wrote another model work in KhariBoli Hindi prose, the Nasiketopakhyan, based on the well-known story of Nachiketas in the Katha-upanishad.
The School Book Society of Agra 1833 did a great service for Hindi prose by publishing many Hindi text books on different subjects and by 1857 Hindi prose had taken a great shape although no high literary value works were produced.
The work commenced by pioneers in the 18th century like PanditDaulatram and MunshiSadasukhlalNiyaz came to be stabilized and the Midland speech in its latest phase of a SanskritisedKhariBoli Hindi started on its conquest of nearly the whole of North India. From 1850 prose style started by LallujiLal became established.
Then cameHaris-chandraof Banaras (1846-1884) who had the sobriquet of Bharatendu (Moon of India). He is universally acknowledged as one of the makers of modern Hindi. There were a number of other writers around this period who produced personal essays, humorous and satirical writings, dramas, and reviews and at the same time translated Sanskrit, Bengali and English works into Hindi. Pandit S Phillauri of Punjab and LalaShriniwas Das 1851-87 became pioneers in writings original novels. They believed in blending the best of traditional and modern values with an Indian bias. By the end of the 19th century the tendency the influence of Bengali literature was replaced by the English one.
The next event of great importance was the foundation of the Arya Samaj by Swami DayananadSaraswati who adopted Hindi was the language of his preaching and propaganda. Refer to the chapter on Urdu for more details but the Samaj revived Hindi in Punjab, Western U.P. and Rajpputana. It must be remembered that Hindi had to face opposition from the officially patronized Urdu. To read about how Swamiji’s efforts made Hindi replace Urdu as the main medium of communication in North India and around read please go to the essay on Urdu.
The greatest novelists and short story writer of modern Hindi is Munshi Prem Chand (1880 to 1936). The new styles of poetry with a large amount of Bengali and some English influence came in during the second half of the 19th century. Among the more well-known poets was Sridhar Pathak and Maithali Saran Gupta. Hindi journalism came into the field when PanditJugal Kishore of Kanpur started from Calcutta the first Hindi weekly UdantMartand (the Rising Sun). A number of renowned journalists flourished during the second half of the 19th century like Balmukund Gupta of Rohtak and Prabhu-dayalPande from Mathura edited from Calcutta a weekly newspaper Hindi Bangavasi that was the most influential Hindi newspaper during the two closing decades of the 19th century.

1905 to 1947

                                                              The Hindi writers of the late 19th century referred to in the earlier chapter had a tendency to display their knowledge of Urdu Persian as well as of Sanskrit. It was not until the beginning of this period that this tendency disappeared. This was mainly due to the efforts of Premchand who established his reputation as an Urdu novelist but when he changed over to Hindi the decisive step had been taken and Hindi finally shook off the allurements of Urdu Persian. Mahavir Prasad Dvivedi also contributed. His devotion, integrity and zeal as editor of Sarasvati established him as the architect of Hindi prose.Premchand’s works are translated into Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, English and Russian. There were some powerful novelists writing in the modern realistic as well as psychological vein, between who was PandeBachhchanSarmaUgra and Jinendra Kumar the leading of the psychological novelists in Hindi. Of an altogether different vein is the writer of historical novels B Lal Verma. There were a number of other renowned Hindi poets too.
Some other poets have left a distinct impression on the development of Hindi literature. Among these may be mentioned SuryakantaNirala who brought in a completely new movement in Hindi – in freeing the metre from the bonds of rhyme and fixed length and in bringing into it a new modernistic mystic note known as Chhaya-vada (literally shadow school). There was Mahadev Verma a poetess also in a mystic vein. There is a good deal of influence of the Bengali poets, particularly Rabindra-nath Tagore on this new school as of English poets of the romantic schools. In Saketa and Yasodhara by M S Gupta there is an evocation of the spirit of ancient India in a remarkable way.
With the innovators the KhariBoli form of Hindi came into its own although the Braj-bhasa still flourishes.
Note - One of the issues on which people particularly foreigners divide us is that we have so many languages / dialects. While we do not have to be defensive about it nor seek to explain why we are the way we are, a reading of the content of this article has made me realize that what we consider dialects of Hindi today were / are actually languages in their own right. Due to social / political changes that accompanied the British rule and Delhi becoming the center of power KhariBoli one of the many forms of Hindi became mainstream Hindi while others became dialects.

Scripts in India of the Present Day                                     
Three distinct type of script are in use to write Indian languages. We have in the first instance the national system of writing which is of Indian origin and which goes back to the Brahmi script of the 3rd and 4th centuries B.C. and earlier. This Brahmi script was a single pan-Indian script in the centuries before and immediately after Christ. Then as the country split into different states this script began to change in different areas. After about 10 centuries of change it gave rise to various present day alphabets of Indian origin that are currently in use in the country. Of the five groups three belonged to the North and two to the South. Inn North India we have –
  1. The North-Western group to which belong the Sarada script of Kashmir and a number of allied systems of writing which were current in the various Western Himalayan States besides Gurumukhi in which Punjabi is written and Landa in which businessmen of Sindh keep their accounts and write letters.
  1. The Nagari script which was originally the script of Western U.P. and Rajasthan-Gujarat was later adopted by the Maharashtrians (who called it Balabodha or ‘Script for the use of children’ as opposed to the native script called Modi, of South Indian affinities, in which Marathi used to be written. Now the Nagari script throughout North India. It is really the script from which Western Hindi;Rajasthani and Gujarati speeches were born.
  1. The Eastern Group of North Indian scripts within which the Newari of Nepal, Maithili, Bengali-Assamese and Oriya. The script was current in its oldest form in Eastern U.P., Bihar, Nepal, Orissa, Bengal and Assam.

In South India we have –
  1. Telegu-Kannada group.
  1. The Grantha-Tamil-Malayalam group. The Sinhalese of Ceylon is an evolved form of the Grantha from the Tamil country.

The Sarada script was confined to Kashmir, is dying out, the Nagari script is replacing and the Perso-Arabic script is now used in J and K. Gurumukhi unfortunately has got be associated with Punjabi Sardars and is one the reasons why Khalsa is not followed by other Indians across the country. Being only a written script Landa has no importance.
The Nagari is now the most important of the Indian alphabets. It took its present form about 1000 years ago and is a sister script to Sarada, Bengali and South Indian scripts. It acquired a fresh prestige during British rule when it gradually came to be accepted all over India as the pan-Indian script in printing Sanskrit. This was a direct result of the centralizing tendencies of the British rule in India. Sanskrit had no single script for the whole of India, and it was written in the different provincial scripts along with local languages. But with the establishment of Indian universities the need for a common script in Sanskrit for use in the whole of India was supplied by Nagari. The script came to acquire a new name i.e. Dev-Nagari or Divine Nagari because Sanskrit as the language of the Gods came largely to be printed in it.
The Bengali-Assamese script is virtually one script – only Assamese differs from Bengali in one letter, and has an extra letter for the sound of w or v. This script is very much like Maithili in which Maithili speech is written. Nagari is replacing Maithili. The Newari Script of Nepal in which the Tibeto-Burman Newari language as well as Sanskrit used to be written in Nepal is giving way to Nagari.
Oriya in its origin is related to Bengali-Assamese, Newari and Maithili but it has developed some peculiar shapes from the 15th century onwards. It is used to write and print both Oriya and Sanskrit in Orissa.
Kannada and Telegu are almost the same script. The Grantha script is derived from the old script of the Pallavas as it current around 650 a.d. and Sanskrit is written and printed in the Tamil country in the Grantha script. Malayalam is only a provincial form of the Grantha and Tamil is an abridged form of the same Grantha.
During the 4th quarter of the 19th century, Sindhi, in the hands of the Hindu administrative officers of the province also adopted an elaborate form of the Persian script. The Roman script was brought to India by the Europeans.
Tibetan - Contacts between I and Tibet are to have got established around the sixth century a.d. The imp king Sron-btsansgam-po who occupied the throne during the first half of the 7th century a.d. He ruled over Nepal and parts of Assam. A devout Buddhists, he introduced in Tibet the Sanskrit language and the system of writing from India. He sent Sambhota to India to acquire a thorough knowledge of Indian scripts, Sanskrit language, Buddhists scriptures. After returning from India they framed a system of Tibetan characters and composed a grammatical work.
There is no doubt that the Tibetan alphabet is derived from the Indian Gupta script current from fifth to seventh century a.d. The grammar thus composed is used in Tibetan schools even today.

Urdu imposition in Bangladesh (Bengali Language Movement)
On 21 March 1948, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Governor General of Pakistan, declared that Urdu would be the onlyofficial language for both West and East Pakistan. Based on population East Pakistan was majority,moreover Urdu was spoken by only 7.05% people of the West Pakistan whereas Bengali was mother language of most East Pakistani peoplesBangladesh. The people of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), who spoke Bengali, protested against this. On 21 February 1952, (8th Falgun 1358 in the Bengali calendar), students in the present day capital city of Dhaka called for a provincial strike. The government invoked a limited curfew to prevent this and the protests were tamed down so as to not break the curfew. The Pakistani police fired on the students despite these peaceful protests and a number of students were killed. Four of them were Abdus SalamRafiqUddin AhmedAbulBarkat and Abdul Jabbar

Hindustani (Hindi and Urdu) imposition at United Nations
According to a 2009 press release from its Ministry of External Affairs, the government of India has been “working actively” to have Hindi recognized as an official language of the UN.In 2007, it was reported that the government would “make immediate diplomatic moves to see the status of an official language for Hindi at the United Nations “However, there has been opposition to this from southern India, where Hindi is not widely spoken.
Although it has one of the largest number of speakers in the world (approximately 400 million), Hindustani is not an official language of the UN. The linguistic community is overwhelmingly concentrated in the Indian sub-continent and is the most spoken language there, but within its own sub-continent the language faces opposition from states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and to a lesser extent West Bengal in India, who view it as efforts on part of the Indian Government to impose Hindi on them. English remains the link language between Hindi and non-Hindi states to this day in India. The many variants of Hindustani complicate its recognition as an official language.

Hindi–Urdu controversy

Status change of languages
Urdu replaces Persian
Hindi and Urdu granted equal status
Urdu declared sole national language in Pakistan
Hindi granted official precedence overUrdu in the Republic of India
The Hindi–Urdu controversy is an ongoing dispute—dating back to the 19th century—regarding the status of Hindi andUrdu as a single language (see Hindi-Urdu), and the establishment of a single standard language in certain areas of north and northwestern India. While the debate was officially settled by a government order in 1950, declaring Hindi as the official language, some resistance remains. The present notion among Muslims about this dispute is that Hindus abandoned Urdu Language, whereas Hindus believe that Urdu was artificially created during Muslim rule.[1]Hindi and Urdu are literary registers of the Khariboli dialect of the Hindi languages, spoken as a mother tongue by about 45% of India's population, mostly in modern North and Central India. A Persianized variant of Khariboli, known variously as Urdu, began to take shape during the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526 AD) and Mughal Empire (1526–1858 AD) in South Asia.[2] The British East India company replaced Persian with Urdu written in Urdu script as the official standard of Hindi-speaking Northern provinces of modern day India in addition to English.
The last few decades of the nineteenth century witnessed the eruption of the Hindi–Urdu controversy in North-Western provinces and Oudh with "Hindi" and "Urdu" protagonists advocating the official use of Hindustani with the Devanagariscript or with the Persian script, respectively. Hindi movements advocating the growth of and official status for Devanagari were established in Northern India. Babu Shiva Prasad and Madan Mohan Malaviya were notable early proponents of this movement. This, consequently, led to the development of Urdu movements defending Urdu's official status; Syed Ahmed Khan was one of its noted advocates.
In 1900, the Government issued a decree granting symbolic equal status to both Hindi and Urdu which was opposed byMuslims and received with jubilation by Hindus. Hindi and Urdu started to diverge linguistically, with Hindi drawing onSanskrit as the primary source for formal and academic vocabulary, often with a conscious attempt to purge the language of Persian-derived equivalents. Deploring this Hindu-Muslim divide, Gandhi proposed re-merging the standards, using either Devanagari or Urdu script, under the traditional generic term Hindustani. Bolstered by the support received byCongress and various leaders involved in the Indian Independence Movement, Hindi in Devanagari script along with English replaced Urdu as the official language of India during the institution of the Indian constitution in 1950.
BackgroundThe main cause of this divide may be attributed to the aspirations of both communities (Hindu and Muslim) to take their cultural inspiration which became open contention over the Language during Indian independence. Muslims has mostly looked towards their Muslim Ummah for cultural inspiration whereas Hindus generally get inspiration from the ancientVedic Culture and other ancient past. During Muslim rule (whose founders were West Asians) people who converted toIslam readily adopted the culture they brought with them. Persian at that time was considered a prestigious and important language in many parts of Islamic world like Central Asia. The founder of Islamic rule in India were from different ethnic background viz. Turks, Mongols, Arabs, Afghans etc. and all of them used Persian as their lingua franca and court Language. Hindus considered these things as an alien culture. With the passage of time things like Sanskrit language,DhotiAyurveda etc. came to associated with Hindus, and Persian Language, Yunani Medicine with Muslims.There also came to be differences in the cuisine and culture of two communities. During pre-1971 PakistanAyyub Khan once said that "...East Bengalis... still are under considerable Hindu culture and influence. This is because the Bengali language is Sanskritized and uses Indic script".
Urdu became the language of the courts of Muslim rulers who invaded the Indian subcontinent from the eighth century onwards. It developed from the Khariboli dialect of the Delhi area with an infusion of words from ArabicPersian andTurkish. As the Muslim invaders spread in the Northern India, Urdu interacted with various vernaculars and introduced Persian words into local languages and absorbed local vocabulary, and over a period of time developed into a distinct spoken language. Hindi also developed from Khariboli, albeit with the assimilation of words from local languages andSanskrit.
Several factors contributed to the increasing divergence of Hindi and Urdu. The Muslim rulers chose to write Urdu in Urdu script instead of Devanagari script. In time, Urdu in Urdu script also became a literary language with an increasing body of literature written in the 18th and 19th century. A division developed gradually between Hindus who chose to write Hindi-Urdu in Devanagari script and Muslims and some Hindus who chose to write the same in Urdu script. The development of Hindi movements in the late nineteenth century further contributed to this divergence.[4]Paul R. Brass, Professor (Emeritus) of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Washington notes in his book, Language, Religion and Politics in North India,
The Hindi-Urdu controversy by its very bitterness demonstrates how little the objective similarities between language groups matter when people attach subjective significance to their languages. Willingness to communicate through the same language is quite a different thing from the mere ability to communicate.[4]

British language policy

In 1837, the British East India Company replaced Persian with local vernacular in various provinces as the official and court language. However, in North India, Urdu in Urdu script instead of Hindi in Devanagari script was chosen to replace Persian.[4][5] The most immediate reason for the controversy is believed to be the contradictory language policy in North India in the 1860s. While the then government encouraged both Hindi and Urdu as a medium of education in school, it discouraged Hindi or Nagari script for official purposes. This policy gave rise to conflict between students educated in Hindi or Urdu for the competition of government jobs, which eventually took on a communal form.

Hindi and Urdu movements

In 1867, some Hindus in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh during the British Raj in India began to demand thatHindi be made an official language in place of Urdu. Babu Shiva Prasad of Banares was one of the early proponents of the Nagari script. In a Memorandum on court characters written in 1868, he accused the early Muslim rulers of India for forcing them to learn Persian. In 1897, Madan Mohan Malaviya published a collection of documents and statements titledCourt character and primary education in North Western Provinces and Oudh, in which, he made a compelling case for Hindi.
Several Hindi movements were formed in the late 19th and early 20th century; notable among them wereNagariPrachariniSabha formed in Banaras in 1893, Hindi SahityaSammelan in Allahabad in 1910, Dakshina Bharat Hindi PracharSabha in 1918 and RashtraBhashaPracharSamiti in 1926.The movement was encouraged in 1881 when Hindi in Devanagari script replaced Urdu in Persian script as the official language in neighboring Bihar. They submitted 118 memorials signed by 67,000 people to the Education Commission in several cities. The proponents of Hindi argued that the majority of people spoke Hindi and therefore introduction of Nagari script would provide better education and improve prospects for holding Government positions. They also argued that Urdu script made court documents illegible, encouraged forgery and promoted the use of complex Arabic and Persian words.
Organisations such as AnjumanTaraqqi-e-Urdu were formed for the advocacy of Urdu.Advocates of Urdu argued that Hindi scripts could not be written faster, and lacked standardisation and vocabulary. They also argued that the Urdu language originated in India, asserted that Urdu could also be spoken fluently by most of the people and disputed the assertion that official status of language and script is essential for the spread of education.
Communal violence broke out as the issue was taken up by firebrands. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had once stated, "I look to both Hindus and Muslims with the same eyes & consider them as two eyes of a bride. By the word nation I only mean Hindus and Muslims and nothing else. We Hindus and Muslims live together under the same soil under the same government. Our interest and problems are common and therefore I consider the two factions as one nation." Speaking to Mr. Shakespeare, the governor of Banaras, after the language controversy heated up, he said "I am now convinced that the Hindus and Muslims could never become one nation as their religion and way of life was quite distinct from one and other."
In the last three decades of 19th century the controversy flared up several times in North-Western provinces and Oudh. The Hunter commission, appointed by the Government of India to review the progress of education, was used by the advocates of both Hindi and Urdu for their respective causes.

Gandhi's idea of Hindustani

Hindi and Urdu continued to diverge both linguistically and culturally. Linguistically, Hindi continued drawing words from Sanskrit, and Urdu from Persian, Arabic and Turkish. Culturally Urdu came to be identified with Muslims and Hindi with Hindus. This wide divergence in the 1920s was deplored by Gandhi who exhorted the re-merging of both Hindi and Urdu naming it Hindustani written in both Nagari and Persian scripts.[4] Though he failed in his attempt to bring together Hindi and Urdu under the Hindustani banner, he popularized Hindustani in other non-Hindi speaking areas.

Muslim separatism

It has been argued that the Hindi–Urdu controversy sowed the seeds for Muslim separatism in India. However, other historians dispute this, pointing to the development of Muslim separatism in Bengal where Urdu was not spoken. Some also argued that Syed Ahmad had expressed separatist views long before the controversy developed.

Urdu to Hindi

On April 1900, the colonial Government of the North-Western Provinces issued an order granting equal official status to both Nagari and Perso-Arabic scripts. This decree evoked protests from Urdu supporters and joy from Hindi supporters. However, the order was more symbolic in that it did not provision exclusive use of Nagari script. Perso-Arabic remained dominant in North-Western provinces and Oudh as the preferred writing system until independence.[6]C. Rajagopalachari, chief minister of Madras Presidency introduced Hindustani as a compulsory language in secondary school education though he later relented and opposed the introduction of Hindi during the Madras anti-Hindi agitation of 1965.BalGangadharTilak supported Devanagari script as the essential part of nationalist movement. The language policy of Congress and the independence movement paved its status as an alternative official language of independent India. Hindi was supported by religious and political leaders, social reformers, writers and intellectuals during independence movement securing that status. Hindi along with English was recognized as the official language of India during the institution of the Indian constitution in 1950.


Hindi-Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language and the lingua franca of North India and Pakistan It is also known as Hindustani, literallyand historically, as Hindavi or Rekhta. It derives primarily from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi, and incorporates a large amount of vocabulary from PersianArabicSanskrit and Turkic. It is a pluricentric language, with two official forms, Standard Hindi and Standard Urdu which are standardizedregisters of it. Colloquial Standard Hindi and Urdu are all but indistinguishable, and even the official standards are nearly identical in grammar, though they differ in literary conventions and in academic and technical vocabulary, with Urdu retaining stronger Persian, Central Asian and Arabic influences, and Hindi relying more heavily on Sanskrit. Before the Partition of British India, the terms Hindustani, Urdu and Hindi were synonymous; all covered what would be called Urdu and Hindi today. The term "Hindustani" is also used for several quite different varieties of Hindi spoken outside of the Subcontinent, including Fijian Hindustani and theCaribbean Hindustani of Suriname and TrinidadUrdu is the national language of Pakistan and an officially recognized regional language of India. It is also an official language in the Indian states of Andhra PradeshJammu and KashmirNational Capital Territory of DelhiUttar Pradeshand Bihar which have significant Muslim populations
Hindi +Urdu was collectively called as HINDUSTANI before the partition of India, Hindi and Urdu has same phonology but after the partition of India, India made Hindi and Pakistan made Urdu as lingua franc of the respective country. The kariboli(kadiboli). (Kadi =hard, boli =dialect) dialect which was spoken in Delhi and adjoining Rohilkand  region of western Uttar Pradesh was made the official language of government after independence.
The oldest languages like BrajBasha, Awadhi, Bhojpuri which had long and  rich literature, history was discarded and made dialects of Hindi from 1971 census, this made the 2001 census records two figures, of 258 million (Native speakers) and 422 million (total Hindi speakers) "Hindi" speakers. However, both figures include languages other than Standard Hindi, such as Rajasthani (ca. 80 million in independent estimates), Bhojpuri (40 million), Awadhi (38 million), Chhattisgarhi (18 million), and dozens of other languages with a million to over ten million speakers a piece. The figure of 422 million specifically includes all such people, whereas the figure of 258 depends on speaker identification as recorded in the census. For example, of the estimated 38 million Awadhi speakers, only 2½ million gave their language as "Awadhi", with the rest apparently giving it as "Hindi", and of the approximately 80 million Rajasthani speakers, only 18 million were counted separately, Maithili, listed as a separate language in the 2001 census but previously considered a dialect of Hindi, also appeared to be severely undercounted. These separate languages were made dialect of Hindi and the Kadiboli a dialect (Boli) was made official language of India and language Indian Union. Without the awareness  the Awadhi &Brajbasha speakers of Uttar Pradesh , Bhojpuri speakers of U.P & Bihar, Maithili &Magahi speakers of  Bihar, Chhattisgarhi speakers of Chhattisgarh, Garhwali & Kumauni speakers of Uttarakhand, Pahari speakers of Himachal Pradesh, Marwadi, Mewadi,Mewati, Godwadi, Vagdi, Bagri, shekhawati, Dhundari, Hadouti  and Banajari(Lambani/Lambadi/Sugali/Nat) speakers of Rajasthan and Haryanvi speakers of Haryana were made dialects of Hindi, which led to decrease in native speakers and increase in Hindi speakers. The misconception among educated and urbanites trated Hindi as the standard language and it’s a sign of dignity,people started to call themselves asHindiwalas and stopedrespecting and speaking their mother tongue.These languages are declining within white collars and urban crowd and Hindi is replacing all over Northern India.
In totalwe can say Indian Government is not imposing Hindi on Non Hindi speaking states but it’s already imposed on so called 10 Hindi speaking states by killing 50 independent languages. The government is trying hard to make the language of Delhi and Adjoining Rohilkhand region of Uttar Pradesh as the lingo franca of whole India. The dialects of Hindi language are declared as endangered languages by UNESCO by 2010.The other communities which are getting Hindi Imposition are Sindhi, Punjabi, Kashmiri, DogriNepali, Kurukh/Oraon, Munda, Bhili and Gondi.

The 50 Indian languages which are killed by HINDI.
Name of the dialects of Hindi Number of persons who returned the dialect as their  mother tongue
Hindi 337272114
1. Awadhi 481316
2. Bagheli/Baghelkhandi 1387160
3. Bagri Rajasthani 593730
4. Banjari 887632
5. Bharmauri/Gaddi 18919
6. Bhojpuri 23102050
7. BrajBhasha 85230
8. Bundeli/BundelKhandi 1657473
9. Chambeali 63408
10. Chattisgarhi 10595199
11. Churahi 45107
12. Dhundhari 965006
13. Garhwali 1872578
14. Harauti 1235252
15. Haryanvi 362476
16. Hindi (kariboli) 233432285
17. Jaunsari 96995
18. Kangri 487999
19. Khairari 14307
20. Khortha/Khotta 1049655
21. Kulvi 152442
22. Kumauni 1717191
23. KurmaliThar 236856
24. Labani 13722
25. Lamani/Lambadi 2054537
26. Laria 64903
27. Lodhi 68145
28. Magadhi/Magahi 10566842
29. Maithili 7766597
30. Malvi 2970103
31. Mandeali 440421
32. Marwari 4673276
33. Mewari 2114622
34. Mewati 102916
35. Nagpuria 777738
36. Nimadi 1420051
37. Pahari 2179832
38. Panchpargania 151599
39. Pangwali 14780
40. Pawari/Powari 213874
41. Rajasthani 13328581
42. Sadan/Sadri 1569066
43. Sanori 11537
44. Sirmauri 18280
45. Sondwari 37958
46. Sugali 113491
47. Surgujia 1045455
48. Surjapuri 370558
Others 4642964

In Pakistan Urdu was made national language which it is mother tongue of only by 7 % of total Pakisthan population where as Punjabi, Pashto and Sindhi speakers outnumber Urdu speakers.  Urdu was imposed on non urdu speakers.
Numbers of speakers of larger languages
2008 estimate
1998 census

Areas of




  1. VERY good. Now if only India can establish a transparent system for politics. So I can get in the government.

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