My son’s school like many other academic institutions across India are gearing up for Hindi Diwas. It is that day of the year when we suddenly remember our Hindihood, our roots, and experience a sense of belonging even if for a day!!!
I suddenly thought about the innumerable instances we resort to speaking English despite knowing Hindi. Be it the restaurant owner or the friendly associate at the departmental store, English is the language of choice for most of us. My mum calls it the colonial hangover but I cannot help wonder, what’s going to happen to our Indian hood?! Is observing Hindi Diwas, the only way that we can keep our languages alive?
As Indians, we often pride on our diversity and inclusive culture but are we doing anything about keeping this intact? Most of us are aware that Sanskrit is perhaps one of the world’s most developed, sophisticated language forms but how many of us can really speak it? It is often seen as the forte of the family priest as he chants the various mantras on a special occasion.
As Indians, most times we find it uncool to converse in any other language apart from English. Be it Hindi or any of the 25 other languages spoken across various Indian states, English remains the top preference. Often, we are kind of unsure about using any other language for talking.
It is not just about Hindi, the language! Be it any element of our Indian-ness, wearing saree, knowing our roots, appreciating the rich heritage, taking pride in our culture somehow denying it has often been seen as the cool option. We need Facebook challenges to start wearing a saree!
While I am not taking away the importance of knowing away other cultures, languages and appreciating them, I believe the time has come to rediscover our roots and own them like never before. Let this Hindi Diwas be your moment of recognizing your roots, knowing your culture and cultivating our own languages.