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My Orientation with Hindi

September 20, 2011

My orientation with Hindi began at very early age; more precisely at what flows down from your nose goes into your clothes age. It was the age when I made a chilling discovery—–all my superheroes just wear underwear or wear it over their costume. Much to my wonder, I found one Sunday morning that one of my superheroes—He-Man— speaks Hindi! He-Man

It was also the age of black-white television with antenna tied to bamboo-top, not intended to communicate with Aliens but to catch Doordarshan’s aired programs. The anarchist mosaic dots relentlessly try to haze the magic screen. After a lot of fine tuning work, we managed to get some images of Doordarshan’s Mahabharata or TV commercial of popular detergent NIRMA. What we got after a back-breaking effort was not as sofed(white) as NIRMA!

 The first song I performed with my schoolmates at the Kindergarten was a Hindi song! Kaisa Bani! Hold on! This is not the only Hindi song that dominated my childhood memories. There are others too. Koi Yaha Nache Nache, I’m a Disco Dancer , Jimmy Jimmy and Disco Bibi Moti —are the songs with aromas of Biriani, spicy chicken roast, fist-deep rezala bowl, boorhani and zarda that tempted nostrils and sketched the image of an ideal paradise feast in the mind of a middle class petit gourmet. They all are indispensable part of the weddings in my childhood.

Cha Cha ChowdhuryAnother character I met by chance when I grew a little older was Cha Cha Chowdhury. He was an Indian comic book hero. There was a trademark comment on Cha Cha Chowdhury’s sagacity, Cha Cha Chowdhury ka Demag Computer se Agey Chalta Hey(Cha Cha Chowdhury’s mind works faster than Computer). Much later I figured out that it is an early sign why the world one day would be run by IC (Indian and Chinese).

As I entered the full-pant age, I heard some peer boys were singing Ek-Do-Tin, a song from the film Tejab. That’s when I met with evergreen beauty Queens Madhuri and Sri Devi. Another invisible hero also seized a lot of space in my adolescent mind—-Mr. India, a character played by Anil Kapur who can disappear at his will.

Another character Baker Bhai, created by most popular contemporary Bangladeshi novelist Humyan Ahmed, from the TV serial Kothao Keo Nei created huge sensation among Bangladeshis during mid 1990’s. He was an off-the track modern-day Robin Hood, street Romeo, guardian of the neighborhood and the bête noire to the elites of society. He always stood beside the neighborhood tea-stall where Hawa Mein Urta Jawe was played all the time. The song became the trade mark song of Baker Bhai.  I owed a lot to Humayun Ahmed, who introduced Hindi to us as a funny language, as I’ve learnt few Hindi words like Devion Ka hagon kuthi( term used for ladies toilet) from his works. Recently, I’ve learnt another Hindi expression from his Eid special pieceLadka se Ladka ka Goo Bhari. Hindi is indeed a funny language!

Hindi Film did a lot, and it is still doing, to enrich my Hindi knowledge. Unlike many others who see Hindi as a cultural aggressor, I think it’s a window to discover a brethren culture, to resurrect/refresh our common historical glorious past that will remind us who we were, how we came here today and what lessons we shall learn from the past. For instance, films like  Mangal Pandey, Bose, Khele Ji Hum Jaan Se reintroduced us our common heroes Mangal Pandey, Subhas Bose and Masterda Surya Sen. And gave  reasons why the present generation of this sub-continent should be proud of their past. I’m not familiar with Shakespeare’s work, Hindi film gave me an opportunity to understand one of his works.  Omkara, based on Othello, is a brilliant Hindi film that meticulously portrayed the complex human relationship. Another such film was Sawdagor.

Bangla and Hindi have lots of things in common. Even our expression of frustration or the way we call somebody names is very similar. Take for example the innocent looking ones—kutta, shala, harami.

As I have recently enrolled myself for a Hindi course at Indira Gandhi Cultural Center, all my childhood memories, which were kept somewhere deep inside my gray matter years after years, on Hindi revived and reminded me some  of the incidents, which I’ve just reminisced about, and some faces that I do not want to forget.

Some quarter in Bangladesh, mainly from right-wing Uncle-Sam-blessed intellectual and elite, has a strong detest towards Hindi. They view this language as a threat to Bangla. The point they are missing is that no one can impose a language over other. It is the choice of people. If one likes it and uses one or two phrases in their daily affairs, it does not mean our language is at stake. Language is just like flow of rivers, with times it evolves. There is no reason to worry if few words made their places into our everyday conversation.

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From → My Thoughts

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