Every language with its own attributes, in today’s world, in today’s century, in today’s time, serves as a method of communication, as a tool for civilization, as a weapon for evolution, as a knot for globalization. Hindi, as such, portrays direct resemblance to inheritance of Indian culture, customs, traditions and identity. Immigration of generations of Indians to various nations like Fiji, Mauritius, Kenya and so forth has also immigrated Hindi, its essence and the means of communicating precious, historical and iconic cultural aspects of India as a whole. Whether it be Biharis or Punjabis or Gujaratis, all have benefited from Hindi as a mode of passing ‘who we are’, from generation to generation, within and outside of India. Faith-based stakeholders have the power to influence the greatest of minds. Apparently, this notion needs clear focus in the coming decades to revive enthusiasm in Global Hindi and Indian Culture.
Fiji shares a remarkable similarity with Mauritius when it comes to people, languages and culture. There is a sense of belonging to any geographical and spiritual environment where communication can be established. As such, Fiji, parallel to Mauritius, comprises of people of diverse culture, ethnicity, age, heritage, opinion and values. Nevertheless, Hindi and Indian culture have progressed immensely in Fiji, through education systems, media channels, Kirtan, Bhajan, Ramayana, Bhagavat Geeta, Sanatan and Sangam conventions and temples, Arya Samaj portrayal of Vedas, Gurudwara Sahib and Guru Granth Sahib Recitals and various programs launched and implemented by High Commission of India. However, are these efforts sufficient?
ACCESSIBILITY TO HINDI
Initially, Hindi began in form of poetry, drama and story-telling syllabus in schools. Today, linguists with the help of computerized technology and education boards have introduced Hindi courses and curriculums in universities with deeper emphasis on vocabulary, grammar, comprehension and translation skills. Moreover, people have options to utilize email and social media applications in Hindi. Even software applications are continuously being designed for beginners to write and translate Hindi via Hindi Unicode systems online. Anyone without any grasp of Hindi today can write and understand Hindi within minutes via online transliteration applications. In terms of entertainment, Bollywood has spread Hindi amongst all ages, across the globe. Every Smartphone or Ipad in any country has Bollywood within reach, has YouTube without limitations on Songs, Ghazals, Movies and TV Serials within reach, and that means having Hindi within reach. On the other hand, religious applications are available in ‘App’ forms for those who prefer to interact with daily prayers, hymns, sermons and preaching.
HINDI AND SHREE GURU GRANTH SAHIB JI
In Mid 16th century, Shree Guru Angad Dev Ji created the Gurumukhi script, which became the standard writing script for Punjabi language. Since then, all Sikh faith scriptures till early 18th century (i.e.1706) have been written and compiled using the same script. The translations for such Holy Scriptures in mid 20th century by Professor Sahib Singh in a more comprehensible Punjabi terminology have been widely accepted under Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee at the Golden Temple, Amritsar, one of the central thrones and wonders of the world. Ideally, further translations developed in Hindi, English, Urdu and French languages. Supreme sources from where Gurbani has been collected and compiled in Guru Granth Sahib include authors such as Bhagat Namdev, Jaidev, Trilochan, Ravidas and Kabir, who have depicted their spiritual bliss in Hindi which we read today and take gratification in.
CASE STUDY ON ADOPTION OF HINDI
Sikhs, hailing from the land of five rivers Punjab, shipped during the colonial periods of 1858 to 1947, are now a minority in Fiji, but continue to shine with glory in areas of preservation of Punjabi and Indian culture, language, art, and architecture. Such examples include our aptitude for Harmonium, Tabla, and Dhol, singing, dancing, food, attire, religious ceremonies and adoption of Amritsar Domes at our remodeled Sikh Gurudwara.
Guru Granth Sahib is traditionally written in Gurumukhi text, for which the usual translation is done in Punjabi language. Subjected to increasing intermarriages, overuse of Fiji Bhojpuri-Hindi for daily interaction, loss of their own Punjabi tongue and fall of youths’ interest in original Punjabi language complexity, Fiji Sikh families have become prone to lack of comprehension of the natural essence and meaning of their beloved holy scriptures. This is where Hindi has started playing a more significant role whereby one is required to utilize what is available and what is still luminous and that is the use of Hindi vocabulary and phrases to simplify the original Gurumukhi texts and translated to the congregation in more lucid terms.
The added advantage of Hindi comes with its ability to retaining the original expression and intended message. Hindi allows our congregation to become more aware and firmly grasp upon Gurmat knowledge into their daily lives. Areas where Punjabi language in Fiji has plummeted, Hindi has served as a functional tool to preserve religious faith and identity.
In over three years from 2015 to 2018, we have successfully attained people’s attention and understanding of the scriptures through diversity or mix of Punjabi and Hindi in sermons and prayers. This has allowed us to inculcate worthy subjects such as history, ethics, righteousness, appreciation of humanity and various socio-cultural themes across people of various faiths, creed (belief) and age.
High commissions of India abroad have channeled major funds, instruments and initiatives to grow Hindi and Indian culture at a global scale. Such efforts have not gone astray. Such efforts have eventually perpetrated a spark of illumination within us as individuals, and within our homes, societies and nations at large, to actually learn, to preserve and to safeguard language and culture against this rapid pace of ever-changing dynamics of today’s globalization.
We share much passion and regard to Globalization of Hindi and Indian Culture in the midst of growing corporate globalization. As faith-based stakeholders, there is a need to realize that Global Hindi and Indian Culture is being fostered by countless Government and Non-Government and Civil Society Organizations across the globe. There is constant delivery of such mechanisms, however we need to question, how interested are the recipients of these services? Are Youths today actually eager to benefit from these growing initiatives? Are Youths actually willing to sacrifice time for such efforts OR Are they too occupied with their socio-technological life? Has generation gap made it more difficult for Youths to sustain Hindi and Indian Culture? These are the tough questions that need enlightenment.
If there is hope, it dwells upon faith-based stakeholders to passionately preach, counsel and rejuvenate the minds of today’s youths by breaking into their inner conscience and setting their paths right through none other than the use of our beloved holy scriptures. Iron cuts through iron, likewise there is no better remedy to instill culture, other than by the same culture. What it means is, Dharmik teachings or Vedic teachings or religious teachings have the power to invigorate anyone’s lost interest and bring forth a change, a positive change, a change that can eventually grow into further bliss.