Hindi-India Bhai-Bhai

There is a peculiar thing about Rashmi Bansal’s book “Take Me Home” that introduces twenty small town entrepreneurs in India who made it big. Though the book is in English, she plugs in Hindi quite often with English translations in brackets. Sometimes long sentences and some times short words, like “sewa (service)”. Not just that it breaks the flow of reading for non-Hindi readers but adds an extra effort in reading. Mind you, this does not happen in chapters were she talks about entrepreneurs from other states, say like Kerala. Not a single word of Malayalam and it’s translation given.

A couple of days ago I watched an interview with a rather new politician who promised to be different. You know, the one who wears the muffler. This was on a national English TV channel, the questions were being asked in English, and the man is capable of speaking English, yet every answer he gave was in Hindi. You gotta give it to Rashmi Bansal here for she at least gave the English translation along, but here there were no subtitles.

I wonder what it is that makes people like this writer and politician plug in a language that is not spoken or read by a large chunk of people in India. Whom are they addressing, really? Or who, they think, is worthy of their address?