Hindi and English in Karnataka

y.r.rani at mail.utexas.edu y.r.rani at mail.utexas.edu
Fri Nov 29 23:18:45 UTC 1996

As a long time student of Hindi with an abiding interest in power
relationships among Indians, I have skimmed this sometimes overly acrid
Hindi discussion with interest.  Regardless of its utility in Tamil Nadu
and Karnataka, the Hindi language is very useful across at least the
northern trail through India from Bombay across the Deccan, in western
India and up to Uttara Kand on through Calcutta to Puri.  Hindi can even
help in many instances in Nepal.  That does seem to be stretching it a bit,
but there are many people who can speak better Hindi that English, though
their Hindi proficiency may not be beyond the elementary level.  For
example,  here are many Tibetan refugees who speak better Hindi than

Though most educated Indians speak English more fluently than I speak
Hindi, there are many non-English-speaking Bharatiya log with whom I wish
to communicate, who in addition to speaking their mother tongue--be it
Marathi, Panjabi, Gugarati, Brij Bhasha, Bojpuri, Pahari, even Nepali,
Bengali and beyond-- can also carry on a basic and quite fluent
conversation in Hindi.  Undoubtedly this is due in part to the influence of
Hindi movies.  Because of this celluloid-factor and also fifty years of
government support, Hindi is, along with English, certainly a lingua franca
in India.

Not only in India!  Many children of NRI immigrant parents here in the US
whose first language may be Kannada or Tamil or Konkin can also understand
Hindi, due to the influence of VCR viewings of Hindi movies.  They are not
necessarily able to read Devanagari, however.

Robert Zydenbos wrote:

>Prof. M. Chidananda Murthy resigned from his
>professor's post in Bangalore University to be a full-time activist for
>the Kannada Sakti Kendra.

I don't know Kannada, and therefore do not know the Kannadan equivalent of
the words "Power" and "Center," but I can not help but notice that Prof.
Murthy's language activist organization, the Kannada Sakti Kendra has
ironically borrowed Hindi words, for the name of the language movement
(bhaasha andolan).  Perhaps the ubiquitous use of many of these Sanskrit
derived words, found in Hindi and their cognates in many north Indian
languages, along with the large scale borrowing of Sanskrit terms into
several Dravidian languages, provides the commonality necessary to
accommodate and communicate.

Yvette C. Rosser

   "Peace is not simply the absence of war.
   It is not a passive state of being.
   We must wage peace, as vigilantly as we wage war."
               @>---+-{---+-{--+---- XIV Dalai Lama

   "Let us put our minds together and see what life
   we will make for our children."
        @>---+-{---+-{--+---- Lakota Chief Sitting Bull	

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