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Distant connection: Foreigners come calling to Bhopal for the love of Hindi

bhopal Updated: Sep 13, 2015 21:37 IST
Neeraj Santoshi
Neeraj Santoshi
Hindustan Times
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Adoum Idriss from Chad at World Hindi conference in Bhopal. Amitabh Bachchan's dialogues motivated him to learn Hindi. (HT photo

His journey from central African Republic of Chad to Hindi world was not because he gravitated to Hindi literature or its writers.

It was Bollywood especially Amitabh Bachchan that attracted 39-year-old Adoum Idriss to Hindi. “Since my teenage years, I have been a big fan of Bollywood movies, especially Amitabh Bachchan’s. Over the years, watching Bollywood movies, I could almost speak the dialogues from my favourite movies, without fully understanding them,” told Idriss HT on the sidelines of the World Hindi Conference in Bhopal.

Bollywood movies generally reach Chad through Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Idriss said that following his passion he came to India and took admission at Central Institute of Hindi, Agra, where he learnt the nuances of the language.

“Learning Hindi has not only allowed me to enjoy Bollywood movies but also helped me to connect to the larger civilizational ethos of India. Now when I come here and talk to people in Hindi, I can feel a special connection with them and also feel their affection and amusement over the fact that an African from a far-off country speaking such fluent Hindi,” he said.

Similar views were expressed by Hindi scholar from Italy Marco Zolli.

“Unless you allow a language to breathe freely and take words from other languages, it won’t flower and attract the youth. Many youngsters tell me here they don’t know Hindi, but they speak Hindi so well. What they are actually saying is that they don’t know pure Hindi. You have to allow youth to write Hindi the way they speak it. Whether you call it Hinglish or anything else, it is still Hindi”, said Zolli, who teaches Hindi to interested Italians and conducts regular residential programmes at Varanasi.

Nilam Kumar, who has come from Fiji, said there were many people outside India who were fighting for promoting Hindi in their own way by trying to make it more relevant in the cyber era.

“I am presently running Shanti Dut, Fiji’s only surviving Hindi newspaper. And this has been possible by making Hindi relevant to the hyper connected world,”she said.