A farce called “Hindi Pakhwada” is to be celebrated all across Central Government Departments. The original idea behind the same was sane and rational. It was to celebrate our National Language (Though Some question its National Language status as well).
India being an unique country of countless languages, dialects, the founders required a language that could bind it together. Hindi was rightly chosen to perform the role as an integrator. It did and continues to do so effortlessly. The Hindi language may differ in its tone and tenor after every few miles, for example you find Bambayya Hindi in Mumbai, while in Hyderabad or Lucknow one will fine it laced with Urdu. The Hindi in rural India will have its “grameen or deshi” tone while the purists use Sanskritized version of Hindi. With so many variety, it serves the basic purpose of a language which unites people. When we went to Ladakh a couple of years ago, Hindi was the one which was used to interact with the locals, the Ladakhis with their unique way of speaking spoke Hindi effortlessly. In South though Hindi still finds it difficult to find its firm footing till now. Some three months back i was in Tamil Nadu, the cab driver preferred to talk in English, howsoever, broken and funny it may have sounded, but, he did not utter a single word in Hindi. He understood what we spoke, but he preferred English.
So back to our topic, why i call Hindi Pakhwada a farce. Pakhwada, for beginners means fortnight in Hindi. Starting from 14th of September this fortnight is celebrated all across the country especially in Central Government Establishments, Banks & other Autonomous bodies of Government of India. On 14th Sept.,1949 Hindi Language was adopted as the Official Langue (राजभाषा). To commemorate this day, Hindi Divas (Hindi Day) is celebrated. Further, in due course of time, this Day became Week and now a fortnight.
Spending about 20 years or more in a Central Government Department i find the whole Hindi Day Celebration farcical to say the least. The day (or week and now fortnight) begins with banners announcing celebration of Hindi Fortnight. Guest Speakers proficient in Hindi are invited to deliver talks on importance of Hindi (as if one is now aware). Competitions like essay writing, speech, poem reciting are held. No one is actually interested in all these events. It all has become boring and monotonous. Celebrations does means Sweets and Samosas as well!! The celebration is on verge of hypocrisy because each one vows to work in Hindi and improve the “ratio” of work done in Hindi. Only to forget after leaving the Auditorium. Then suddenly, one fine day a quarterly or half yearly report is to be prepared detailing how much work is done is Hindi. Statistics are prepared. Statistics being Statistics can be turned turned anyways. Upwards it goes in our case. Ideas are found to avoid working in Hindi and yet outscore others in the ratio. One such ingenious boss found the idea. He said do all work in English. Only the letters that will be dispatched will have one more covering letter in Hindi which will be printed having words such as “Please find enclosed herewith letter No_______ dated______ for further necessary action at your end” The above words printed in Hindi were enclosed with each letter to improve the count of Hindi communications. There are Hindi Translators in each Government Offices. When i asked the one in my Office, pat came the reply, I don’t know Hindi Typing!!!!
I always wondered why we celebrate such occasions in our Office. But then i remember one incident when i asked my Boss whether the action was required when we knew the outcome. The Boss replied, my boy, even i know the results, but it should seem that atleast we tried.
Each Office spends good amount of money on these “celebrations”. There are hundreds and thousands of offices of Government of India all over India and even abroad, as this “celebration” is done in our Embassies as well. This is a nation where a poor has to carry his dead wife on his shoulder and walk for 10 kms. This is a nation which still lacks basic things like medicines to its poor, where millions sleep half or empty stomached. Do we really need such wasteful expenditure? Will we contribute in enriching Hindi. language any bit ?
Hindi is a strong language, it is a language of the masses. It is taught in US, Russia, China and other nations. It does not requires support of these farcical celebrations to grow. For it is mere and sheer waste of money. The Government and its Bureaucracy must realize this, realize this faster, for i have found that they are very slow learners and are way way behind time.
Signing off, wishing you all “Happy Hindi Fortnight err Pakhwada”!!!