On 14th September 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India had adopted Hindi written in Devanagari script as the official language of the Republic of India. Which is why 14th of September is annually honoured as the Hindi Diwas to celebrate the popularity of Hindi as the official language of India. So we got in touch with Dr Ashok Lav, a noted Hindi language author and poet to talk to us about his writing and the relevance of the language in today’s time and age.
First of all, can you tell us how did your love for Hindi literature begin?
Back when I was a student, the English language wasn’t as relevant as it is today. There were barely any public schools and everyone around me spoke in Hindi. My parents would read me the Mahabharat, Ramayan and the Puran and as I grew up I started taking more and more interest in reading stories and novels. So while I was still in school, I started writing and my compositions were published in newspapers and magazines. Since we had just got our independence and Hindi was our national language, so through my family and the people around me, my interest in Hindi literature and my love for the language kept growing.
Apart from being an author, we know you are also the president with ‘Sarv Bhasha Trust’. Can you tell us about that?
People should be proud of different languages in our country and we shouldn’t let any language die. So this organisation was set up to prevent our regional languages from dying out. In our newsletter, we publish the works of all writers, whether new or old, in whichever language they write, in order to bring people from all parts of the country together. From Malyali to Punjabi, the Sarv Bhasha Trust publishes writings in every language. We also host a number of cultural events. And recently we hosted an event where we honoured all the authors whose books have been published for the first time irrespective of the language they’ve written in.
That sounds great. You have written more than 150 academic and literature books. But which is your favourite self-written piece in Hindi and why?
I had always been interested in writing stories and poetry. So along with the textbooks, I also wrote a lot of novels and poetry books. One of my novels ‘Shikhro Se Aage’ became very popular. Another book ‘Hindi Ke Pratinidhi Sahityakaron Se Sakshatkar’ where I interviewed a lot of eminent Hindi writers was released in the Vice President’s house in 1990. A lot of people have done their PhD. and MPhils on this book. This book is based on education, love and spirituality. Another one is ‘Ladkiya Chhoona Chahti Hai Aasman’. Earlier people didn’t really want girls and they would curse them even before they were born. That’s something I used to feel really bad about which is why I wrote this book which consists of stories and poems about women and for women. This book was released by the then chief minister Smt Sheila Dixit.
Any special reason why you chose to become a Hindi language author? What’s the best thing about the Hindi language?
Just the way we take pride in the Indian flag and pride in our nation, similarly, we must take pride in our national language too. The best thing about Hindi is it is spoken exactly as it is written, unlike English or most other languages. All the linguists in the world are in awe of this language because there is no other language in the world like Hindi. It is the third most spoken language in the world. Whether you’re in Ladakh or Lakshwadeep or Arunanchal or Kutch or Jaiselmer, if you know Hindi, you can get through anything.
How do you think we can revive the Hindi language and make it popular again, especially in today’s modern times?
In my opinion, Hindi is a language that is still very much prevalent. We live in a country of over 130 crore people and the language is still understood and spoken by most of the population. Our Prime Minister speaks to the Presidents and Prime Ministers of other countries in Hindi and gives lectures in Hindi. Moreover, there are thousands of newspapers and magazines that are published in Hindi and the Hindi channels on television are loved by one and all. The language is being taught at schools and colleges abroad so this is a language that can never die. In fact, it is a very vibrant language and it is only prospering, from newspapers to computers and phones, it is everywhere!
Which 3 Hindi literature books would you recommend to today’s generation?
One is the Ramcharit Manas which is a must-read for every Indian citizen because it has a message for everyone, no matter your profession or age. Secondly, there is a novel by Amrit Lal Nagar ‘Boond Aur Samudra’ which is also an illustration of the Indian society. And for those who are enthusiastic about politics, they should read Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s poetry book called Urvashi.
Featured Image Source: Free Press Journal