“Entire Indian literature is a copy of the West”

New Delhi: Jamia Millia Islamia’s Department of Hindi organised Devdas Gandhi Memorial Lecture on 21 December. Speaking on this occasion, Rajendra Yadav, noted Hindi author and editor of Hans, said that normally Urdu is called the younger sister of Hindi but the fact is otherwise as Urdu is the mother of Hindi, or at least, elder sister of Hindi. He said that if we study the earliest literary works of “Hindi”, these can be called neither Urdu nor Hindi. In support of this, he talked about the works of Insha Allah Khan ‘Insha’, Mulla Wajhi and Wali Dakkhini. He said that it would not be wrong to say that Urdu and Hindi are one and same language, with the difference that Hindi to a large extent has been influenced by local dialects whereas Urduwalas avoided this, adding that the history of Urdu literature is four or five centuries old.

Speaking about the talk of change of Hindi script, he said that because of SMS, Hindi and Urdu today are being written on a large scale in Roman script, instead of Devnagri and Persian scripts. He said that because of modern techniques there exists the possibility of a great change in matters of script. He said that cinema’s role has been very powerful in the propagation and popularisation of Hindi.

He said one of the characteristics of West has been that there is no tradition of discouraging different ideologies and theories. Rather, effort is made to encourage them but this is not the case in India. Whether it is science, literature or any other field of knowledge, we are always indebted to West and that is why we have a very small number of original theorists, ideologues and thinkers and more of copycats because of which almost our entire Indian literature is a copy of the West. He said that Urdu and Hindi litterateurs should give up this habit of copying the West and only then the survival of any language can be guaranteed.

Prof. Asghar Wajahat said that though Rajender Yadav’s views are important we cannot agree to all what he has said. For example, he mentioned the concept of zero and many other Indian theories, inventions, thoughts, ancient literature etc. which were adopted and valued by West also.

Dev Das Gandhi was the first Hindi teacher of Jamia Millia Islamia who was sent by Gandhiji to teach Hindi at the Jamia and hence the significance of this lecture in his memory.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 June 2011 on page no. 2

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