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News analysis: Future is Hindi

  • Published at 08:16 pm January 14th, 2018
  • Last updated at 02:05 pm January 18th, 2018
News analysis: Future is Hindi
It is heartening when the Indian high commissioner says Hindi has a great future in Bangladesh; I am heartened. India is one of the largest economies of the world and it will only be a matter of time when it will be the second or third largest economy after China. Being able to speak Chinese and Hindi would be a blessing for our businessmen. And learning to speak Hindi does not mean we forget Bangla, just like learning English or Arabic does not mean we love our mother tongue any less. Like millions of others in Bangladesh, I grew up watching Hindi movies. I am glad that my daughter has learnt Hindi watching shows like “Doraemon”. I was always jealous that my father had studied Sanskrit till the eighth grade and hence could read Hindi too. My mother is filled with glee every time she sees Amitabh Bachchan on screen. But that does not mean our love for Bangla is any less. It does not mean that my bedtime stories have turned into Hindi or Urdu. But at the same time, I am glad that I can enjoy “Andaz Apna Apna” and “Dangal” with my daughter without having to translate. At the same time, I have enjoyed reading “Panta Buri,” “Hajabarala” and Zafar Iqbal’s stories to my daughter. But I cannot remember the times I wished my Urdu were better just so I could better appreciate Ghalib’s witty couplets.
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There is nothing wrong with learning a new language, just like there is nothing wrong with learning English and Arabic. With India set to become one of the largest economies in the world, second probably only to China, it only makes sense that we learn Hindi, if not Chinese as well. If Hindi has a great future in Bangladesh, then all the better for us. If anything, Bangladesh will have become richer. We have already fought and won a war over our language and I am proud that both my parents were in it. No matter what the Indian high commissioner says, which he probably did rather innocently, no matter how much this government panders to India, we will never lose Bangla. Bangladesh is and forever will be the womb of Bangla. It will be in Bangladesh that the course of Bangla literature will be decided. Fortunately or unfortunately, Bangla in India is of little or no consequence. One does not need a rocket scientist to figure out that our education system is failing us and precludes any possibility for the students to master a second language up to a reasonable degree. One has only to skim through the English question papers of the board exams to see that. Neither do the thousands of graduates from our madrasa system speak or write Arabic. Or we would not have such a problem with language in the Middle East for our expats. Now if Hindusthani (Hindi/Urdu) turns out to be a genuine second language, what is the harm?