PROF TOMIO Mizokami greets you with folded hands and a warm ‘Namaste’. He speaks chaste, unadulterated Hindi. For someone teaching Hindi at Osakawa University for last 40 years , this should be a natural impulse.
Tomio was in Bhopal to formally release his book ‘Hindi Filmo Ke Lokpriya Geet (1951-1980) at Bharat Bhavan, the programme organized jointly by the Akhil Bhartiya Bhasha Sahitya Sammelan and Madhya Pradesh Culture Department. The book is a compilation of 301 songs of Hindi movies.
“This book is like a sub-text for Hindi education. I have made an endeavour to educate the students via songs,” he told the Hindustan Times. Tomio said he specifically chose 301 and not 300 songs because of the auspicious character of ‘plus one’ in Indian culture.
The idea for such a book hit Tomio ten years back but it was only last year that he actually started penning it with intensity.
Reminiscing his ‘association’ with Hindi he said “As a student I was enamoured by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. I wanted to learn the language of Nehru’s country. So, I cruised all the way from Japan to Allahabad in 1965 to learn Hindi.”
What was the best aspect of Indian culture? “I particularly like the unity in diversity that laces Indian culture. Despite a diverse landscape there is one thread that stitches all of them together.”
Besides Hindi, Tomio can also speak Punjabi and Bengali. “I learnt Punjabi in Delhi and Bengali in Shantiniketan.” On what changes did he perceive in Hindi language he observed: “I think it has become more Sanskritised. More and more number of Sanskrit words are being used”. Tomio maintained that the popularity of Hindi was increasing in the foreign universities.
“Hindi has today taken a global shape primarily because of the large number of Indians who are migrating. Even the Hindi films have helped in widening the reach of Hindi”. And which was his favourite song? “I am very fond of ‘Ye Dost Dost Na Raha’ of Sangam”.