Dr. R.K. Panchal

It has been a topic for debate as to which language is superior. And if some languages are superior to others, then why the other languages came into existence and still surviving? My mother tongue is Hindi and I am proud of it. So, should I consider myself worthier to those who are not able to speak Hindi as fluently as me? During my childhood, the only language that I was able to speak, read and write was Hindi. It gave me the power to understand, accumulate, and express myself. Respect for the mother tongue comes naturally and no one can inculcate it artificially. Even when we are in an unconscious state, we think in our mother tongue. In our dreams, we communicate in our mother tongue. When we are wide awake, we translate our thoughts into the desired language which we think basically in our mother tongue only.

But I feel that linguistic chauvinism much prevails in society nowadays. Not only in our country, rather worldwide. Mandarin was once the most spoken language in the world. But the ever-increasing popularity of English has outshined the others. Being a global language, it has become the language of the masses, which helps them in business and communication. If you can speak and understand English, you can survive in any part of the world. The point is, the status of the mother tongue is not hampered and English is being used as an amenity.

It is a popular slag that English alphabets start with ‘a for apple’ and leads to ‘z for zebra’. The interpretation out of the slag by some scholars is that English alphabets start with fruit but you end up being an animal. Whereas the alphabets of Hindi start with Anaar (pomegranate) and end with Gynani (wise man). Hence, giving an upper hand at the superiority of Hindi. So either Hindi lovers are zoo phobic or they are so mean to hind behind an animal to prove their supremacy.

Don’t they know what is happening in our country? The Hindi spoken masses, who feel superior, are not safe in the country. If you don’t believe me, then you must visit Maharashtra, Northeast and Southern India. There you will get to know the status of Hindi in our own country. Every third person has his mother tongue which he does not want to be menial, leading to an inferiority complex. Hindi is our Rashtra Bhasaha and every year we celebrate Hindi Diwas on 14th September. Isn’t it an irony that some messages of the wishes for that day too appeared in English?

Let’s discuss the so-called magnificent literature of Hindi. The most prominent writer of Hindi is said to be Prem Chand. His works were well acclaimed by the critics, as he wrote mostly about the common folks. He wrote only 16 novels, some short stories, 5 plays, 2 essays, 2 biographies, and 3 children’s books in his lifetime. I am not here to let him down for his contribution to Hindi literature. But, may you dare compare his work with that of William Shakespeare’s? He wrote 38 plays and over 150 short & long poems and the list goes on. His work appeared in the mid-sixteenth century, whereas Prem Chand wrote in the early twentieth century. My point is, the English literature was much splendid in those days when Hindi literature was only a toddler.

Now someone would talk about ancient Hindi literature. But remember that the language used in the so-called classical literature is not Hindi. Even if Hindi came into existence before English, where are the compositions that belong to that historical period? The comparison between Prem Chand and Shakespeare is symbolic. Because both are considered as the celebrated writers of their languages. Have you ever heard of any Hindi play writer, whose plays were staged in the royal court?

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