Nothing taught by force can stay in the soul: B K Singh
By Farooq Shah
SRINAGAR: “Forcing someone to learn a language could be quite counterproductive,” B K Singh, Principal Secretary, Department of School Education, said at the Hindi Diwas celebratory function organised by the “Education in Languages” Wing of the State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT) at the auditorium of the Government Girls Higher Secondary School Kothibagh here today.
Hindi Diwas is observed on September 14 every year to celebrate its popularity and mark its adoption in the Devanagari script as one of the official languages of India.
“It’s the love for the language that can be a defining factor in its acquisition,” Singh told the audience via a Zoom meeting. “Language offers the most direct link to other cultures, and nurtures an admiration for their traditions, religions, arts, and their history.”
Hindi, Singh said, is the second most spoken language in the world after Mandarin Chinese. “With over half a billion people speaking this wonderful language worldwide, it should become a natural choice for a student to learn it,” he remarked.
Earlier, Director SCERT, Prof Veena Pandita, while welcoming the participants to the celebration said that Hindi, apart from being our national language, holds its own dignified importance at the international level also. She also participated in the program via Zoom.
“Students from Russia, Japan, and the United States are always eager and ready to come to India to know our language and culture,” Prof Pandita said. “From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, every class of person speaks and understands Hindi language easily.”
Prof Pandita lamented that in this era of changing circumstances and modernity, the influence of the English language has started gaining ground. “The modern generation is adopting a foreign language by calling Hindi the ‘language of the illiterates’,” she said. “Earlier, where the medium of English was not much in the schools, but the progressive people of the modern era consider it an ‘honour’ to take education through English medium.”
This, Prof Pandita said, has resulted in Hindi taking a backseat. “Children neither know how to write nor speak Hindi properly,” She said. “It is the mistake of Indians to deny the importance of Hindi being an Indian.”
Hindi, she said, was a language that embraced words of every language. “We are not against the English language, but we cannot tolerate the disappearance of the pride of Hindi language, that is, our national language,” she said. “Today we celebrate “Hindi Pakhwada” in all the offices to keep the respect of our language intact.”
In his address, Director School Education Kashmir, Dr Tasaduq Hussain, said that we should get rid of the notion that a language is the sole property of a religion.
“Because all languages are filled with their own sweetness, we must cultivate a taste for as many languages as we can,” Dr Hussain, while recommending that Hindi should be taught right from grade-1, said. “Because we live in India where a majority of its population speaks Hindi, we ought to learn it with a more open and frank attitude.”
Dr Hussain, while giving the example of Munshi Prem Chand said that many Hindus adopted Urdu language as the medium of their expression and earned worldwide acclaim in the process. “Greater understanding of a language, in turn, promotes greater tolerance, empathy, and acceptance of others.”
Dr Bhartendu Kumar Pathak, Assistant Professor, Department of Hindi, University of Kashmir, impressed upon learning Hindi language to stay connected with the rest of India in a more meaningful manner.
“The biggest advantage of learning Hindi is that it enables wider communication with a large number of people in India and, in turn, it can help generate trade and ideas.”
According to Dr Pathak, the situation here has improved a great deal and it was paramount that Hindi picked pace in Kashmir.
Prof Syed Shabana Shabir, who teaches Hindi at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Education (IASE) Srinagar, spoke on the objectives of teaching Hindi at different levels.
“One of the main objectives of teaching Hindi is to create an interest among the students in the language and literature and also to master the art of communication” Prof Shabana said. “Hindi is the national language of India so students should be motivated to study this language.”
Ms Veneet Kour, Research scholar, Department of Hindi, University of Kashmir, said while today’s youth are grappling with numerous unemployment challenges, Hindi can open more doors to career avenues.
Dr Mukti Sharma, Teacher, BMS Mattan Bala, said the entire nomenclature of Hindi language has to undergo a metamorphosis in the sense that it acquires more pace on the communicative front.
Others who spoke at the occasion included, Ulfat Jan, Lecturer, SP Higher Secondary School Srinagar, Neetu Singh Bhat, Teacher, GMS Rambagh, Indu Raina, Teacher, GMS Natipora, Renu Raina, Teacher, BHS Sonwar, Veena Kaul Ganjoo, Teacher, GMS Hutmuraha Mattan, Manjoo Kaul, GMS Seer Shaksaz, Veena Tikoo Sapru, Teacher, GHS Anantnag, Renu Rani, Raj Janak, Teacher, Zone Pampore, Ishrat Fatima and Richi Kumari, Students, GHSS Amirakadal Srinagar.
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