Anil Chamadia *
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an appeal to fellow countrymen to convert Corona (Covid -19) pandemic into an opportunity. Interestingly Prime Minister Modi, an ardent supporter of Hindutwa ideology, set an example of fighting the whole war against Corona through English words ! Media Studies Group, a Delhi – based research organisation working in the field of communication and expression, after a study of Prime Minister Modi’s address to the nation, delivered on different dates during Corona period, has drawn a conclusion that the words used by Prime Minister for Corona and its allied economy were all English.
Actually, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed the nation on five occasions between March 19, 2020 to June 30, 2020. His speeches were generally in Hindi, but full of English vocabulary. The Prime Minister used more than 250 such words in his speeches which were related to tackling of Corona and related health & economic issues. It’s true that
Prime Minister Modi has presented Corona pandemic as an opportunity for “Aatmnirbhar Bharat”, but this pandemic has posed serious challenges to Indian languages.
Prime Minister Modi used his addresses as a tool to apprise the nation about the necessary precautions for Covid -19 and various initiatives of the government to contain this pandemic.
A communication or dialogue by any Prime Minister with his nation and fellow citizens carries a distinct importance during a pandemic or calamity. But Prime Minister Modi addressed the fellow countrymen, including those who understand Hindi well, through his Hindi speeches filled with those English words which are important in order to understand Corona related precautions and government initiatives.
How a language becomes very important for common man during a crucial moment can be understood by a statement of noted writer and activist Late Pandit Rahul Sankrityayan, who
is considered a genius of Hindi language. In his book ‘’Mere Asahyog ke Saathi” (page 41, Printing ISBN 81-225-0131-1), he says, “As per my ideology, at Chhapra in Bihar , I always
used to deliberate in local language (Bhojpuri) only, because of which not even a single word could escape from the ears and minds of the people.”
Normally, northern India is considered as a Hindi – speaking region. But there have been a political aim to develop Hindi as a connecting language at least so that people of every corner of this nation can communicate through it. The supporters of Hindutwa present Hindi a national language and they use a speech of late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which he delivered in
Hindi at United Nations as the Prime Minister of India, for political purposes.
A paradox is always visible in Indian parliamentary democracy that leaders of political parties here tend to make speeches in Hindi to garner votes, but the influence of English has been growing in governmental apparatus and its functioning with each passing day. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi doesn’t hesitate in using local language of a particular place in his speeches during elections. It’s evident in recently concluded assembly elections in Bihar where he delivered a speech mixing Hindi & Bhojpuri to kickstart the election campaign of his party from Sasaram, a city of Western Bihar. Later, he also used Maithili language while campaigning in another part of Bihar. But during Corona period, the Prime Minister used Hindi just for grammatical sake and adopted English words for fulfilling the real purposes of his speeches.
All those speeches, which have been used as the basis of this study, are available on the website of the Press Information Bureau (PIB), an organ of Govt. of India. This study is based
on those five scripts. A date-wise list of English or Hinglish words, used in these speeches, is being presented here. Some words of Urdu and Sanskrit too have been used in Prime
Minister’s speech. But they have not been included in the present study.
It’s been observed that a new sort of language, instead of Hindi, has been developed for the purpose of mutual communication in India. And this new language highlights a deep-rooted
influence of English on Indian languages. In the context of Hindi, such language is named asHinglish for convenience. Hinglish is considered as a dialect used by middle class for mutual
communication. Dominance of Hinglish has grown with the policies of rapid urbanisation of India.
Linguistic experts say that a language is not merely used for expression. Rather, they carry cultural implications. It’s been observed in a book “Bhasha ka Sach” (The Reality of Languge), edited by Dr. Sapna Chamadia and Avanish Kumar, that expression is a cultural enterprise as the way of expression get influenced and changed with cultural rise, fall, dominance, devaluation and suppression. (ISBN -978-81-926852-5-0) During Corona period, words like social distancing, lockdown have gained currency in Indian languages and on the contrary words like local, airport have now become an integral part of Indian languages and are being used frequently.
The following are the words used by P.M. Mr. Modi in his address to nation five times since 19 th March to 30 th June,2020.
Anil Chamadia Chairman, MSG : Delhi based organization Media Studies Group has been studying on the subjects related to communication since 2006.