The great Indian Psychology

DISCLAIMER: I am not targetting non-Hindi speaking sections of society. I have written my own views and people may differ with these. I have no intention of imposing my views on anyone.

Couple of days back I received a mail from my friend Asty who had started a Hindi blog। The mail was sent only to three people and he wrote “... not many people may be interested so just forwarding to you three …”

Either he got the fact right or wrong, I think he got it right.
How many people in metro cities are interested in Hindi literature now days? I am considering only middle and upper pseudo modern and neo-modern Indian classes. Lower/modern Indian classes don’t have time for reading.

I have personally experienced negligence towards Hindi literature in my home town. Couple of years back I visited a Hindi book exhibition in my home town, and while I was standing in a stall the shopkeeper (a man in his late 60’s, appearing to be learned) was conversing with a customer and stating his disappointment that not even 50% of his expected crowd has turned up. Later I found a customer complaining that books are expensive and shopkeeper told him, Hindi books are very cheap compared to English books and when you can buy English books readily, why you are complaining in buying these. Then I realized the status of Hindi literature in Indian cities.

I still don’t understand the Great Indian Mentality. As we are modernizing we are leaving our past behind, it’s good to leave your past in order to catch the future, we cannot run fast with heavy baggage on our back. But the important think to understand is when going in a expedition, we cannot go baggage less, we ought to have certain necessary items with us to survive, and what is even more important is to pick the right items and discard unnecessary ones, this is what I think we Indians need to learn. As we are modernizing we are leaving behind our culture and values.

Presently I am reading “यथा संभव ” by शरद जोशी . शरद जोशी is an eminent name in Hindi satire. I simply love his stories. It was at the above mentioned exhibition I first bought his one of the book, since then was searching for his other books but in vain. Finding Hindi literature in Bangalore is out of question. Worst part is that I could not even find them in my hometown. I visited two three good book shops but futile. One of the shopkeepers had not even heard the name of शरद जोशी . On the name of Hindi literature they keep couple of novels by प्रेमचंद as if he is the only source of Hindi literature. Yes I agree he is the best, we should promote other literary works too.
Hindi lovers must read शरद जोशी , you all will love it.

My taste for Hindi literature developed at home when I was in 12th. My father had got couple of novels by प्रेमचंद and I just gave it a try as there was nothing else for me to read those days, and guess what the first Hindi novel I picked was the masterpiece “गोदान ” by प्रेमचंद . From that point onwards I became a true fan of प्रेमचंद . Then it was “निर्मला ”, “गबन ” etc. Still have to read his entire collection.

While I was in college, got a chance to read “गुनाहों का देवता ” by धर्मवीर भारती [courtesy- Asty], a yet another masterpiece. By then I had developed a true taste for Hindi literature. Then came शरद जोशी and my faith rose further. Presently I am reading a collection of essays by प्रेमचंद and loving it।

I have formed an opinion that if you have a favorite author, you must read his essays if available, then you get the real feel of his mindset.

Now the situation is I feel more connected to Hindi literature than with English literature, given a choice between a Hindi novel and an English novel, I’ll definitely pick up former.
One reason is I understand Hindi language better than English; I can connect better with author’s thoughts in Hindi, probably that’s why.

I know people who cannot read Hindi properly, even I am ashamed that I feel hesitant to write Hindi and don’t know remember all Hindi alphabets, but experience is the best teacher, now at least I know what mistakes need not be repeated.

It’s always been this why Indians have always realized it late what they have, why it is that outside world tells them and then they realize what they have.

  • Buddhism originated in India and outside world adopted it

  • Vedas still have not found a place they deserve.

  • आयुर्वेद is struggling for its existence.

  • We have forgotten भागवत गीता

  • मधुबनी paintings are being sold by foreigners in lakhs [as told by VKC]

  • Turmeric and basmati rice are getting patented by foreign companies

List is too long and I’m getting angrier and angrier.
When will we realize that our heritage is one of the best in the world?

Other day I was with my cousin and he remarked Indians are hypocrites, sex is still a taboo subject in our country and yet we have largest population in the world. I have read कामसूत्र by वात्स्याना and am not ashamed; the book is not even 30% about sex। It deals with a varied subjects ranging from behavioral expectations from husbands, wives, kings, queens, widows. It deals with infidelity, punishments for it;

We Indians are in a too much hurry to form opinions.

Don’t say I have a dirty mind, I read whatever I get. I have गीता too in my collection; I have seen गीता episodes many times.
It is not what you read that is important; it is what you become after reading it what matters.

OK now I am ending this or someone will sue me for the content.

This may sound as a criticism, and yes it is. I am an Indian and am proud of it.
I believe India is the greatest country in the world. Its culture, heritage is the best. Every Indian should be proud of it. But keeping up with the legacy is the challenge for today’s generation.

Good news for some people – See Do Visit section of my blog. It has a link to मुंशी प्रेमचंद ; this blog has short stories from this author and a novel too.

We need some efforts like this. My well wishes to person who undertook this effort
Also explore other links to Hindi literature from the same section.

Posted by :ubuntu at 6:47:00 AM  


priyanka said... 13/4/07 9:08 AM  

its not the matter of hindi or english ......I think what matters most is how strong the subject matter is,to bind u with the book....and what is ur taste in reading..... i personally feel hindi books lack somewhere to hold ur attention.......they r bit slow ..i guess....many times it happens like...i start reading hindi novel but i cudn't end it....

ubuntu said... 13/4/07 9:28 AM  

Yes i agree it is a matter of taste but developing your taste at the peril of ignoring your heritage is not right.
That is my whole point we are believing that grass is greener on other side.

Manish said... 13/4/07 9:43 AM  

Well I agree completely with the part highlighting the need to value Hindi Literature and Indian Culture and need to have an understanding of our cultual heritage. All that is fine..but that alone does not make us the best in the world. This is the common problem that I see in protagonists of Indian Cultural Heritage. They always tend to live in past glory forgetting the fact that resting on past laurels is no guarantee to success in present or in future. This closes the mind towards looking at the current set of problems that we Indians have, thereby preventing progress.

What should I feel proud of as an Indian if I leave aside this so called 'cultural heritage'.
The current Indian attitude sucks. One of the most indisciplined people in the world today. Look at our cities..filled with garbage, dirt and what not. Look at the traffic on roads..paradoxically following traffic rules is a 'guarantee' to accidents here. Look at the way our governement/public institutions function..All Indians running them. Isn't it?..Every one is so 'self centered'..simply look at a non-functioning traffic signal or unmanned square(no cop) on any Indian road..Chaos all around!..I am sure everyone has experienced it!. Even look at a proper traffic signal..everyone is looking at an earliest opportunity to bust the red light and move over!..What is this..complete respect for law or for others? Every Indian wants to have a clean house but does not mind throwing 10kgs of garbage everyday outside the four walls of his house. I happen to visit India gate often and its many people spend evenings there in summers. Look at the place in the morning..u won't recognize it..filled with all garbage, wasted food items, paper plates and what not. This is despite the fact that there are a number of dustbins that have been placed there. Its the same story with any park or public place in India. I have visited a number of places in the world. Common things I observed..discipline, respect for laws, hygeine and true love for their countries. One can feel it in the environment and surroundings. True they do not have a heritage of Bhagwat Geeta, buddhism, vedas and so on..but still they have great love and respect for their countries. I would quote an example from US. I was returning at 12 in the night in a taxi. Their was a traffic signal and it was red. One car I saw stopped there for 3 mins..with no other vehicle in site. The driver moved only when the signal turned green. Can we imagine same thing in India?. It may be a trivial example but it speaks volumes about people's attitude.

I can go on and on ...but to cut it short I would say that feeling proud of one's culture is a given. It has to be there in every citizen of this country. But it's wrong to use that only as a criteria to keep feeling proud and have a false sense of 'superiority' over other countries or cultures. This has been a restrictive factor and would continue to be so, if we Indians do not take Individual as well as collective responsibility towards removing the 'grave ills' that plague our society.

Abhishek said... 14/4/07 2:06 AM  

Be Happy.. Jolly! So many people dropping in comments. :)
Jokes apart, you didn't quote me in full context. I had also said '..well most people don't read anything!'. And maybe I sent my blog to only three people, because it was poetry. Few people read, even fewer can understand and appreciate.
But that apart. If hindi is not being read, it is not because people don't want to read, it is because of the unavailability. I had gone to Delhi Book Fair and I saw heavy crowds at Hindi stalls. Even publishers there were discussing that Hindi books outsold every other language. But to buy 'Gunaahon ka Devta' I had to wait for this Fair, coz I didn't find that book in any of the big book stores. To buy some Hindi novels for my ma I went to Wheeler's on Secunderabad railway station!
It's simply related to commerce yaar. The day roadside vendors (the folks selling pirated copies of English stuff) start keeping Hindi books, I believe they will outsell the english.

Anonymous said... 19/4/07 11:31 AM  

I do agree with your thoughts that we are loosing our interest to hindi, but let me tell you one thing, if a person is use to one thing then he doesn't values it.

What i mean to say that when I was in Delhi/Noida, Kanpur (My Home Town) i really didn't value Hindi. Ever since i am in South India (2500 miles from Hindi speaking belt) I realize the importance of Hindi. I feel very happy when ever I talk to a person in Hindi whether he/she is a from North or South. Even in my office also apart from my Seniors most of my communication with peers happens in Hindi only and I feel very proud to know Hindi.

I know that I won't be settling in South, but whenever I will shift to North some times down the line I will also carry the respect towards Hindi and will try to imply it to future generation.

It is a fact that grass always look greener on the other side, but from my last two year experience if you go to other side you will definitely miss your side.

Summing up, only time and situation will make a person realize the importance of their culture. That is why, Brain Drain has reversed to Brain Gain.

Vivek Mishra

Khushboo said... 25/4/07 7:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Khushboo said... 25/4/07 7:46 AM  

Good one yaar.I agree we are drifting away from hindi literature. Recently I wrote something in my blog in hindi and asked a friend of mine to read it. The reaction was "oh..i saw it, It was something in hindi; so i closed it without reading" :)

Vaibhav said... 26/4/07 10:58 AM  

Ah nice to read a full action blog and action wala comments. Ya, I agree with Asty that we ( this we consider me as well) dont read anything, no matter its english or hindi !

Yes Hindi drift is here off course becasue after +2 I never get chance to write hindi, if today someone told me to write my name in hindi, I have to think before writing.

Frankly speaking Indian System is not able to support Hindi so nicely, rest all depend on our interest right !

But just consider a amazing fact, a country where 80 percent ppl speak hindi, hardly 10 percent of ppl read hindi !

Bipin "3~" Upadhyay said... 27/4/07 7:45 PM  

I can go on and on to say how happy I am to come across such a post... and then support your points... put my own points....
But hey! This is a comment, not an essay.

I was lucky to have been born and brought in a atmosphere where I had hindi literature material scattered all around the home.
Being studied at an ICSE board school and read even the Shakespearen literature, I still say (and feel proud) that I've read Hindi literature more than English; and that too when I read my last hindi novel in.... ummm 11th, I guess.
Now that's where the problem is.
Career, requirements, blah blah...
I'd still love (and will do) read a Hindi novel sometime... but where the heck is the time.
If I get time, I get my hands on a short story, or more preferably poetry (Baba Bulleh Shah, Ghalib, ...).

Anyways. Hope to start something new. I currently have a Shivani's novel in my rack (I guess) :)

I read my first Premchand novel when I was around 10. Do you think if there is something less binding or slow, it will be able to hold an pre-teenager?
I'd say it mainly depends on the person's taste... and there's nothing bad in having a different taste.

AEON Flux said... 21/4/08 5:44 AM  

Hey Priyanshu, I stumbed across to your blog through Mr. Google. And guess what was I trying to find? A website where I can buy hindi fiction online.

I'm a book worm and I live in Chennai. Hindi here is not very appreciated though things are changing rapidly but ability to buy Hindi literature in a bookshop here is extremely limited. Hence the search.

Some people on your blog have commented that Hindi literature doesn't bind them as well as English fiction. Problem is when people start comparing Hindi 'classical' literature with English 'fiction'. They should get themselves a copy of Chandrakanta (and Santati as well), Amrita Pritam, Ranjit Desai, Chitra Chaturedi, and a whole gamut of translated works from Bangla/Marathi, like Sharatchandra Chattopadhyay or Shivaji Sawant (Mrityunjaya is a masterpiece).


Arissa said... 10/11/08 5:43 PM  

Keep up the good work.

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