Hindi Teaching in South India

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Hindi Teaching in South India

Today my daughter who is in 10th under CBSE came to me needing my help on a Hindi poem by Maithilisharan Gupta.

Hindi was abolished in Tamil Nadu in the year 1967. My father who was a Hindi Pandit in a government high school was relegated to teaching general subjects for lower classes. But informed parents and those parents who were in transferable jobs switched their children to CBSE schools and CBSE schools proliferated in the entire state. Even Dravidian party ministers and leaders sent their children to these CBSE schools only while depriving the masses, especially in the rural areas, of Hindi knowledge.  For quite some time, CBSE schools in Tamil Nadu have been the best in the country in terms of results and rankings.

While we have the satisfaction of ensuring some familiarity with Hindi for our children, we do lack quality Hindi teachers in the state and probably in the entire non-Hindi speaking areas. You would find people from almost the entire South India showing lack of Hindi knowledge even though Hindi is taught in schools in the three other states viz. AP, Karnataka and Kerala. Despite my father being a Hindi pandit, I picked up my Hindi only after my posting to Gujarat and getting familiar with ghazals, dialogues in Hindi movies and lyrics of Hindi songs.

Naturally I could not be of much help to my daughter. Most Hindi teachers are those who just managed to pass exams to get a job and who can never really understand Hindi fully leave alone thinking in Hindi. With its closeness to Urdu, Hindi also gained nuances which can never be explained through dictionaries.

I did make an attempt in translating the poem as it was needed urgently by my daughter, which was any way found more comprehensible by my daughter than what she heard in her school. Even this limited success was of course due to my actually living in the north for quite some time now the benefit of which her Tamil speaking Hindi teachers do not have. But I know that I made numerous errors and probably I never got the nuances at all.

But when I read out the poem with its rhyme and emotion, my daughter actually fell in love with the poem and now she actually is keen on reading more Hindi poems. She also recommended my own reading of another of her lessons, a prose by Nida Fazli in the same book which she quite liked.

Incidentally in this article of Nida Fazli, a word “च्योंटा” appears. Her teacher did not know the meaning of it and we could not find the meaning in any dictionary including online dictionaries! The text book did not give the meaning of the word as obviously this is a simple word in day-to-day use of native Hindi speakers. I just asked her to consider the words kaalaa chyonta as a black ant and proceed. This is another disadvantage of not having native Hindi speakers as Hindi teachers. But some of my friends in north India said even in North India the standard of Hindi teaching is not really good and those who pick up the language do so through their own reading.

I have uploaded my own translation of the poem in this blog. Once again, this is a poor attempt in translation as I never really studied Hindi and do forgive me if I have made mistakes, serious or otherwise. Please do provide corrections / improvement through the Comments link in this page.

7 responses »

  1. Ramrv sir ! I read out your articles HINDI TEACHING IN SOUTH INDIA and RAJBHASHA AS OFFICIAL LANGUAGE. I have realised your feelings. It is sure that you are one of the best fathers in the world. It is a very good translation of the poem MANUSHYATA. I think, you are capable enough to teach your daughter in hindi. Myself a hindi teacher (PGT-HINDI) in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Baghmara, Meghalaya(CBSE Pattern). I have done a little work in hindi through my website `simanchal.wordpress.com ‘ where I uploaded ppts ,Q/A , Lesson Plans and other useful materials in hindi. It may be helpful to your daughter. For any difficulty, please contact me at ` simanchal.707@rediffmail.com ‘ OR through Mobile 09436717285 / 03639294817. Thank You.

    • Thanks Mr. Gouda for responding to my comment in your blog. I really wanted to record my gratitude to you for putting in great efforts in creating the blog which will be very useful for students of Hindi language under CBSE. You have created excellent power point presentations for the lessons which will make understanding the lessons very easy. Your Navodaya Vidyalaya is indeed lucky to have such a dedicated person as teacher. I have already started referring your site to my friends in various groups! Please do continue your great work. Wish you a happy new year 2011. Regards.

  2. Really a very nice articulation of the kids studying hindi in Tamilnadu and the plight of parents who know Hindi but have last the touch with literature after my 12std exam.
    I can read and understand but as i have lost the touch of writing .So isn’t good with correcting the spelling mistakes(and mantras) which I find in my 8th grade daughter’s notebook. I feel really pity that the level of Hindi knowledge of 8th grade child is almost equal to 5 grade child here. They are given marks without correcting the papers properly for the sake of teachers welfare.The non-Hindi speaking Hindi teachers are making the kids education miserable as they don’t have this provision for scoring marks in the 10th or 12th board exams.
    I was brought up till 10th std in north so could speak good Hindi and I like this language very much. But my children who are completely born and brought up in chennai struggle to learn this language as they hear English or tamil around them always.I can only make them to see Hindi movies and cartoons staying in Tamilnadu.
    Tamil is the only ancient south indian language which doesn’t have anything to trace of Sanskrit in it.Its lipi and spoken accents doesn’t have any co-ordination with any other language in Indian.Its a very simple language without 4 different sounding of “KA”,”PA”,”SA”,”CHA”….I myself cannot distinguish some times.
    Tamil children really suffer with this language in CBSE schools.I agree completely with ramrv as I am a working mother struggling to teach Hindi to my kids.Wish the CBSE schools here get good teachers for this subject and makes this subject interesting for non HIndi speaking kids to learn.CBSE board should provide consideration to non Hindi speaking children during their board exams.

  3. Namaste ramrv ji,
    It’s nearly 2 years since you wrote your blog.But i read it only today and felt compelled to comment since you have articulated my feelings so well. I was born in bangalore,brought up in Hyderabad, had my advanced education in Pune after which I spent my entire life in the north.Since I married a girl from a Hindi speaking family from UP my Hindi was bound to not only improve but also I could attain some level of fluency, to the extent I can discern nuances of different dialects of Hindi.Since I have this natural ability to pick up languages I speak Telugu,Marathi, Lushai(language spoken in mizoram,which greatly helped me in my work when i served there) besides Kannada , my mother tongue.i feel so well connected with people from any part of the country that I am able to share the richness of their culture and enjoy. I finally settled down in the Nilgiri Hills.But I feel so alienated because except for Tamil it is impossible to communicate.The only alternative was to resort to sign language .In due course I have learnt to not only speak Tamil but also to read and write a little.This is when I realised how our selfish politicians for their own narrow ends have deprived four generations from connecting themselves with the rest of the country. I love Urdu literature, it’s poetry, ghazals and simply adore MS subbulakshmi’s Carnatic renditions.I feel sorry for them when they confess they have never heard of Bhimsen joshi or shobha gurtu or for that matter Bade ghulam Ali khan.I have been trying to encourage the locals especially the youth to learn Hindi for their own good and not get dragged into politics.Its seems an uphill task but there is some hope yet.The local mason the other day came to literally begging me to teach him some Hindi.He said he felt so ashamed when his Bihari labour ,hardly few weeks old in tamilnadu could speak such good Tamil.To him it’s learning for pride than gain any advantage.His daughter ,a graduate got a job in Bangalore but got rejected since she had no working knowledge of Hindi.she could still get the job she was told,if only she could learn basic Hindi in 4weeks.Forty thousand rupees salary was too tempting to get swayed by political rhetoric.he asked me if I could give her a crash course,which I happily did.last week she finally got her job.The first stone has been cast.im happy .i wish and pray the people will learn not just Hindi but also English which has got totally neglected.There is a wave in UP today to learn English with hundreds of English teaching schools mushrooming all over despite a ban on English in UP.If only our people can learn a little Hindi ,Tamilnadu would be the most prosperous state not just materially but also culturally.sorry for this very long and boring comment,I thought I must bare my heart out.If only there were more people like you!also my appreciations to mr Gouda for his work.

  4. Namaste,
    I just went thru yor entire website.very,educative,balanced and interesting.you are doing a great service .keep it up.youll be happy to learn that news just received that Australian govt has decided to introduce Hindi in schools.Its not just a hollow gesture.The Australian govt realises the immense potential and huge economic benefits that it will accrue.This pragmatic decision was announced by no person less than the country’s PM. If Australians can learn Hindi why deny the tamilians the right.
    By the way, entire tirukkurral has been translated into punjabi by former principal of govt college in Faridkote,Punjab, Sri Tarlochan Singh Bedi.who are the beneficiaries? Of course the people of Punjab who will now get to study TIrukkural.Can our self-centred politicians ever think of translating Gurubani or History of Sikhs into Tamil.no sir, they will never do that.It will tantamount to surrendering to the superior Aryan order.Thats how hare-brained they are.

    Also ,of late I’m into a bit of Sanskrit.I just love the language.every Indian must learn .
    Regards,

    • Thanks for your nice and kind comments. Average Tamilian may not know about Shobha Gurtu or Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. But do visit Chennai during December (Music) Festival. You will see thousands of different Tamilians. Their love for borderless music is unmatched anywhere in the world, believe me. Incidentally, if you like M.S. Subbulakshmi, watch this upload of mine in YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aqd9Pmksx8s
      Thanks again, Best Regards. Ram.

  5. Thanks for your very prompt reply. Both your suggestions are appreciated.I did attend the sangeet sabhas in 2011 and just loved it.this year I plan to spend more time.yes, you are right no other place in the world offers such exquisite spread of pure music. Your second suggestion, I’m a step ahead,.it is thru brochevara that I got the link to your blog.i saw the movie shankarabharnam way back in early 80s God knows how many times.but no one can match MS. i must listen to her atleast couple of times a day along with shanker mahadevan’s Ganesh bhajan-GANADEVATAYA ganadhkshyaya Dheemahi.It grows on you. Thnks anyway.
    Regards ,

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