Urdu, I heard, is a beautiful language. I don’t understand it though, but those who have dealt with it, like a lyricist friend of mine, have always praised the language for it’s beauty. But Urdu has always seemed strange to me. A language that sounds like Hindi, yet if written looks like Arabic.
What seemed stranger to me was when people like Justice Katju who is known to have been outspoken and union minister Kapil Sibal battling for the language so much so that they even suggested that it should be taught in schools. It is true that Sanskrit and Urdu have had the fate of being associated with religion and thus keeping some sections of people away from them as Justice Katju had rightly put at an Urdu poetry symposium. But is teaching these languages compulsorily in the schools throughout the country the solution? I don’t think so.
We are already being taught Hindi compulsorily in the name of raashTRa bhaasha, which is of no use to us at all. For somebody who comes from the non-Hindi speaking region in India (and there are many non-Hindi regions in India), learning Hindi is useless. I have learned Hindi from 5th standard onwards, but the language is of no use to me now. I don’t even remember the words or grammar that I learned in the school because it never made to the daily use. I speak Malayalam and I use English at the personal and work spaces. What purpose does Hindi learning serve to a non-Hindi speaker if he is not living in the Hindi speaking part of the country? (And now they are teaching Hindi from 1st standard onwards!). Any language other than the native language and English should be treated as an optional subject in schools. Why make compulsory?
So what I would like to tell Justice Katju and Kapil Sibal is that we are already fed up of the compulsory mode of Hindi in our schools and it’s cultural invasion into our regional space. Please don’t push more as such down our throats. Make it optional if you want but not compulsory. And when you do that, take out Hindi too. It only helps in understanding Hindi movies but even that can be dealt with the subtitled DVDs.