Hindi also called Modern Standard Hindi, is a standardised and Sanskritised register of the Hindustani language. Hindi is an official language of the Union of India, and the lingua franca of the Hindi belt languages.
In the 2001 Indian census, 258 million people in India reported Hindi to be their native language. However, this number includes tens of millions of people who are native speakers of related languages but who consider their speech to be a dialect of Hindi.
Hindi is the fourth-most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin, Spanish and English.
Article 343 (1) of the Indian constitution states:
"The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals."
Article 351 of the Indian constitution states
"It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages."
It was envisioned that Hindi would become the sole working language of the Union Government by 1965 (per directives in Article 344 (2) and Article 351), with state governments being free to function in the language of their own choice. However, widespread resistance to the imposition of Hindi on non-native speakers, especially in South India (such as the those in Tamil Nadu), Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, led to the passage of the Official Languages Act of 1963, which provided for the continued use of English indefinitely for all official purposes, although the constitutional directive for the Union Government to encourage the spread of Hindi was retained and has strongly influenced its policies.
At the state level, Hindi is the official language of the following Indian states: Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. Each may also designate a "co-official language"; in Uttar Pradesh, for instance, depending on the political formation in power, this language is generally Urdu. Learn spoken hindi classes in chennai at Communiqua language training institute. Similarly, Hindi is accorded the status of official language in the following Union Territories: Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, National Capital Territory.
Outside Asia a form of Hindi is an official language in Fiji. However, this is not the same language as the official language of India. The Hindi spoken in Fiji is Fiji Hindi, a form of Awadhi, whereas the Modern Standard Hindi of India is a form of Hindustani. Hindi is also spoken by a large population of Madheshis (people having roots in north-India but have migrated to Nepal over hundreds of years) of Nepal In Pakistan, being extermely close to Urdu, Hindi is easily understood. Apart from this, Hindi is spoken by the large Indian diaspora which hails from, or has its origin from the "Hindi Belt" of India. A substantially large Indian diaspora lives in countries like The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Australia, South Africa and many other countries, where it is natively spoken at home and among communities. Outside India, Hindi speakers are 100,000 in the United States; 685,170 in Mauritius; 890,292 in South Africa; 232,760 in Yemen; 147,000 in Uganda; 5,000 in Singapore; 8 million in Nepal; 20,000 in New Zealand; 30,000 in Germany.
Hindi is considered to be a direct descendant of Sanskrit, through Prakrit and Apabhramsha. It has been influenced by Dravidian languages, Turkish, Persian, Arabic, Portuguese and English. Hindi emerged as Apabhramsha, a degenerated form of Prakrit, in the 7th century A.D. By the 10th century A.D., it became stable. Braj, Awadhi, Khari Boli etc. are the dialects of Hindi. The dialect of Hindustani on which Standard Hindi is based is Khariboli, the vernacular of Delhi and the surrounding western Uttar Pradesh and southern Uttarakhand. Urdu, literally meaning, "the language of the camp", a dialect of Hindustani, acquired official linguistic prestige in the later Mughal period (1800s). In the late 19th century, the movement standardising a written language from Khariboli, for the Indian masses in North India, started to standardise Hindi as a separate language from Urdu, which was learnt by the Mughal elite. In 1881, Bihar accepted Hindi as its sole official language, replacing Urdu, and thus became the first state of India to adopt Hindi.
After independence, the government of India instituted the following conventions:
l standardisation of grammar: In 1954, the Government of India set up a committee to prepare a grammar of Hindi; The committee's report was released in 1958 as A Basic Grammar of Modern Hindi.
l standardisation of the orthography, using the Devanagari script, by the Central Hindi Directorate of the Ministry of Education and Culture to bring about uniformity in writing, to improve the shape of some Devanagari characters, and introducing diacritics to express sounds from other languages.
The Constituent Assembly adopted Hindi as an official language of India on 14 September 1949. Now, it is celebrated as Hindi Day.
Comparison with Modern Standard Urdu
Linguistically, Hindi and Urdu are two registers of the same language. Hindi is written in the Devanagari script and uses more Sanskrit words, whereas Urdu is written in the Perso-Arabic script and uses more Arabic and Persian words. Hindi along with English is the most commonly used official language in India. Urdu is the official language of Pakistan (along with English), and is one of the 22 official languages of India.
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