Flopped Trip & Software in Hindi

I was supposed to be in New Delhi yesterday. I had an acquaintance from US going through the city and it was a perfect chance to get to know each other. He’s from my profession too and well, I admit, part of the zeal to meet up stemmed from a greed that something might come out of it in the long run.

But it was not to be.

I got caught in the rain and I had fever. I slept through most of the day while my boys (that’s how I refer to my team) had a lot of fun in the office. Of course, I had to come in late night itself to clean up and answer to all the honks from the clients who wanted an update. Fortunately, most didn’t since I’d informed them that I’ll be away. Special mention: Deb. She’s the cutest one and one of the reasons I love her is that on my hi, she wanted to know what I was doing in office when I was supposed to be away. C’mon, how many clients do that?

But the above is not the real reason why I’m writing.

I came across a report that Red Hat is setting up a small centre in Pune (hurrah for the city! I think Pune is dealing with the rapid growth because of investment in IT much better than Bangalore did/is doing). They’ll be operating a support cell from there as well. They will also be working to have RH releases in Indian languages and spruce up whatever little they’ve done till now.

My initial reaction was, “Right! As if somebody will use these versions!” A little contempt too perhaps. Only initially.

Would I use software if I had the interface in Hindi? Probably not. The Europeans and the South-East Asians use software in their language. We can too. But we don’t. The why is sickening. The reason is not badly translated interfaces. The reason is not worry about raised eyebrows or smirks from the people around. The reason is I (and I would guess many others) probably won’t be able to handle the language. Hindi is my mother tongue. I think in Hindi most of the time. I swear in Hindi (or Punjabi when I want to be really colourful). But I’m not as good with Hindi as I am with English when it comes to written languages. Curse the colonial hangover. Curse the mentality that having an awesome command over English makes one cool (sic) and hip (sic), and is a passport to better jobs in India and perhaps abroad. I’m thankful to my parents for teaching me excellent Hindi and English but I’ve stuck with English past few years and Hindi has been relegated to as being the language of local verbal communication and little reading of newspapers.

Perhaps the next generation will be better off. These days I hear my cousin (he’s 14 BTW) use such words as ‘sthapit’ (establish), ‘viksit’ (develop), ‘bhasha’ (language), etc.; words that are more pure Hindi than colloquial alternatives I use. It’s true: he knows Hindi better than me; he can use it better than me. He’s pretty good at English too. Thanks to Cartoon Network.

Translated cartoons and soaps have done more to keep Hindi alive than anything else. A little over a decade ago, just after reading the book ‘Bharat Mein Angrezi Raaj’ (British Rule in India) which was banned during occupation by the British because of the explosive content, I came out a very proud Indian, and a little worried how the neo-colonialism (let’s not go into that right now) might affect us as a nation. I was worried about Hindi becoming weaker by the day. Well, it seems now my worries were groundless. Hindi is stronger as ever in the heartlands and in semi-urban and urban India, even as we become more western (sic), it is being resurrected thanks to period movies, soaps, translated shows, newspapers, news channels, and … software.

I probably will not be able to handle the interface of my software in Hindi initially. But I’ll try. I use Google in Hindi now.

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2 Responses to “Flopped Trip & Software in Hindi”

  1. Bobby Kanchan Says:

    ‘Madhyam’ is a good, lightweight Hindi word processor, available free at http://www.balendu.com, having interface in English. It’s a simple and efficient tool. I think, this kind of software can be adopted easily by people who don’t want the entire interface in Hindi.

  2. shalini Says:

    hi guys,
    i have recently ensountered a site which is used to write in hindi quillpad.in/hindi. It converts hindi in english script to hindi in hindi script.

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