कोस कोस पर बदले पानी, चार कोस पर वाणी

Source: Business Standard

The quote perfectly defines the ever evolving languages with historical impressions making its mark in the great diversity of the language. India has 28 states, 8 union territories with more than 300 spoken dialects along with 400 different languages. To pick Hindi as a discourse in the language and literature is neither a narrowness nor turning a blind eye for other languages but a narrative that instils us with the journey of its evolving nature. After English, Spanish and Mandarin, Hindi stands as the fourth most widely used first language. More than 425 million people are using Hindi as a primary language and another 120 million people are using it as their second language in India.

Historical emergence of Hindi can be traced to early Indo-European languages which branched out to Indo-Iranian and European with the former ultimately leading the way for Hindi. This led to Indo-Aryan languages branching out to regional dialects such as northwestern zone, northern zone, eastern zone, east central zone, southern zone and central zone with Sanskrit as one of the bases of these languages.

Hindi dawned in the middle 7th century where branches of Sanskrit namely, Pali, Prakrit and Abbhramsh were mostly spoken. Speakers of these dialects interacted with Muslim invaders from Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Central Asia, and other places, which led to the development of modern standard Hindi. Sources reveal that Amir Khusro (Delhi Sultanate) first used the term “hindavi” in 1283 CE, and he is considered as the originator of the Khadi Boli Hindi. His ‘paheliyan and mukariyan’ are used by people even today. The Bhakti Movement was one of the most important phases of the history of Hindi language and literature. It is also known as the Swarna Yug. According to Ramchandra Shukla, a famous critique of the Hindi Literature, the Bhakti Period was a result of the hopelessness that was dealt among the Hindu people because Muslim invaders were ruining their temples. They had no other option but to take a religious path and to pray to god. As far as language is concerned, this period is further divided into two different kinds of bhakti, that was prevalent during that time: Nirgun Bhakti and Sagun Bhakti, further subdivided into two: Nirgun: Gyaanmarg – Main Writer – Kabir, language: Sudhakhadi bhasha – mix of Braj, Pingle, Dingle, Punjabi, Rajasthani etc.; Premmarg: Main writer – Malik Muhammad Jayasai (Padmavat). Sufis were known as premmargis, who used love as a form of their bhakti. Their language was mainly Avdhi, with a dominance of Arabic words. Sagun: Rambhakti: Main writer: Tulsidas, language: Predominantly Avdhi with Braj; Krishnabhakti – Main writer: Surdas, language: Braj.

Along with several other languages making their mark, particularly Bengali, Hindi evolved as one of the primary languages in Northern India. The two historical divisions of the Hindi region, which speaks the Indian language, are Eastern Hindi and Western Hindi. The dialects of Awadhi, Bagheli, and Chhattisgarhi make up the majority of speakers of eastern Hindi. The Western Hindi dialects are Haryanvi, Brajbhasha, Bundeli, Kanuji, and Khariboli. Kanauji and Bundeli, the two primary forms of Western Hindi, border Eastern Hindi on the west and Nepalese on the north. Eastern Hindi is bordered to the east by Oriya and the Bhojpuri dialect of Bihari, and to the south by Marathi dialects. Most of Bundelkhand and a tiny area of the central provinces on the east are covered by the western dialect. It reaches the Jamuna valley in the south and the foot of the Himalayas in the north. After Bhakti movement, there was a brief period from around 1700-1900 known as Riti Period. This was the time when Indian rulers were having the time of their lives by living lavishly (the beginning of the Company Rule). They used to appoint poets who used to write either stories of their praises or love stories, mostly in braj.

The majority of the writing is poetry by Bhakti authors like Kabir, who is renowned for his dohas (couplets), which are still utilized by the common Indian today. Subsequently, Braj couplets written by Tulsidas were laced with Persian. During the 16th century, Tulsidas wrote the famous Ramcharitmanas, one of the most treasured Hindu writings, a rendition of the epic Ramayana divided into seven portions, known as Kandas, that each describe a stage in Lord Rama’s life. Moreover, many medieval poets like Surdas, who authored Sur Sagar about Krishna’s childhood and adolescent relationships with the gopis, turned their attention to the life of Lord Krishna. Writings about devotion to Lord Krishna have also been made by Rahim, Bhushan, and Raskhan. Additionally, Mirabai is well-known as the person who gave up everything for Lord Krishna and devoted towards writing Bhakti songs and poems in Hindi.

The focus of literature altered after the British arrived. This shift was especially noticeable in Hindi prose writing, where there was a desire to return to the past and draw inspiration from Sanskrit. In 1881, Bharatendu Harishchandra penned Andher Nagari (City of Darkness), which went on to become a well-known work of political satire. Bharat Durdasha is another one of his most well-known nationalist works. Another important writer from this period, known as Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, is credited with creating an entire genre of Hindi writing and is known as “The Father of Modern Hindi Literature.” Before Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, the Hindi which was written was not refined. There used be grammatical errors with no standardization of the langauge. He is accredited to give a standardized and refined Hindi, taking a very serious note of the grammar.

Hindi during this time was known as Adhunik kaal. The four further divisions of Adhunik Kaal are: Bhartendu Yug(1868-1893), Dwivedi Yug(1893-1918), Chhayavad Yug (1918-1937), and Contemporary Period(1937-Present Time). Also known as Renaissance of Hindi Literature.  Most notable was Chhayayad Yug which brought new styles of proses, words and alankar (embellishment, figure of speech) and themes which were nuanced to common people and thereby they became a subject of the literature.

Swami Dayanand was the driving force behind the campaign to declare Hindi the country’s official language, which would unite all the regions. Although he authored in Gujarati, Satyartha Prakash, published in 1875 is his most well-known Hindi book. Numerous Hindi authors under the Chhayavaad (neo-romanticism) school of Hindi literature such as Mahadevi Verma was one of the most well-known Hindi authors of the 20th century, Jaishankar Prasad’s Kamayani (1936), Munshi Premchand, Suryakant Tripathi “Nirala,” and Maithili Sharan Gupt, were other notable contemporary writers making a long-lasting impression on Hindi literature. The Hindi language underwent a formalistic metamorphosis that gave it a literary character as a result of the Orthodox Hindus’ efforts to promote its use. Images of a long-gone era were prevalent in the poetry that resulted from Hindu revivalism. They demonstrated strong feelings of nationalism and patriotism as well as communal and revivalist ideas.  

September 14 is recognized as Hindi Diwas every year since it was on this day in 1949 that the Constituent Assembly declared Hindi, written in Devanagari script to be the nation’s official language. Seven decades later, Hindi is the most widely spoken language in India with 551 million native speakers. It was under, The Official Languages Act, 1963, Hindi in Devanagari script was declared as the official language of the Union.

Like any other language Hindi has also evolved to a greater context of social change leading up to modern language form and literature. One can see how modern Hindi might be taking a back seat in various settings as a result of cultural shifts that tended to emerge from various factors such as modern education, socialization in terms of peer pressure, globalization and so on. English became more prevalent as a result of globalization’s chances for good jobs, which further influenced education in English-medium schools. However, current scenarios present more opportunities than challenges where Hindi can continue its narrative in the present times and in future. Major social media sites are giving importance to regional languages across the globe, of which Hindi is also a prevalent one. Adaptation of technical courses in Hindi under NEP (National Education Policy 2020), education in regional languages, Multinational Companies requirement of Hindi are few developments which will make Hindi not only relevant but a major part of the ever evolving culture as well not only in language but in literature as well


  1. Hi Ma’am
    Your article is so good…..easy to comprehend.
    Thank you for sharing us with useful information.

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