Krishan Chander’s new primer for Hindi
An English translation of a selection of a satirical essay Krishan Chander wrote, where he re-introduces Hindi alphabets to the readers.
- Total Shares
Today, November 23, 2014 is Krishan Chander (1914-1977), the celebrated Urdu writer’s centenary birthday. Yesterday we, (Naseeruddin Shah and I with couple of more actors) were paying tribute to him at the Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai and as part of that tribute we read out few of his writings to the audience. One of the selections was a satirical essay Krishan Chander wrote called “Hindi Ka Naya Qayda,” or a primer for Hindi language where he re-introduces Hindi alphabets to the readers. After reading that piece, I thought it will be best to present a selection from the same to you too as a tribute to the man on his centenary birthday. Like any great piece of writing, this one also finds its relevance long after it has been penned down. So, here is an English translation of the same.
Hindi’s New Primer
Children, H for Hindu. A Hindu is one who considers a Muslim his enemy and doesn’t do things that a Muslim does. That’s why a Muslim eats meat while a Hindu eats vegetables. A Muslim shaves his head, a Hindu grooms a pony tail. A Muslim considers cow kosher and slaughters her while a Hindu treats cow as his mother and worships her. A Muslim considers pig non-kosher so the Hindu pickles it. A Muslim goes to the mosque, a Hindu goes to the temple. The Muslim offers a silent namaz and a Hindu blows a conch and beats cymbals to offer aarti. In spite of this the Hindu and the Muslim are brothers.
The Hindu holds Prithviraj Chauhan in esteem, while the Muslim honours Shahbuddin Ghouri. The Hindu worships Rana Sangha, while the Muslim writes paeans in Babar’s glory. The Hindu believes Rana Pratap is greater than Akbar, while the Muslim places Akbar ahead of Rana Pratap. The Hindu’s hero is Shivaji, while the Muslim’s is Aurangzeb. In spite of this the Hindu and the Muslim are brothers.
Hindus do not let Muslims enter the neighbourhood they stay in; Hindus do not allow Muslims to step into the rooms where they eat; Hindus would not let even a Muslim shadow cast across the room where they sleep. All Hindus drink “jal,” and all Muslims “paani.” Muslims divorce their wives while Hindus cultivate them for life. Muslims prefer to be buried after death while Hindus prefer cremation. In spite of this the Hindu and the Muslim are brothers.
The Hindu considers the Muslim untouchable, while for the Muslim the Hindu is a kafir. The Muslim does not believe in caste distinctions, while the Hindu places it at the centre of his belief system. The Hindu’s sacred language is Sanskrit, while the Muslim’s Arabic. The Hindu believes that Tagore is the poet of the east, while for the Muslim it is Iqbal. The Hindu wants an undivided India, while the Muslim desires a Pakistan. In spite of this the Hindu and the Muslim are brothers.
If Hindus and Muslims are brothers then we might have to invent a new word for “enemy.” But till that time you may take it that a Hindu is a Muslim’s enemy, and they both are brothers. And both these brothers live in the same country about which it has been said, “Saare jahaan se achha Hindustan hamaara,” and “Aey Aab-e-Rood-e-Ganga.” However, in this very country there are people who prefer to call themselves ‘humans’ - Children of God! But these very people are mistaken. They are not children of god, they are godless atheists. A pack of wolves! Children, wherever you spot these people, spit on their faces. Because Inspector Saheb’s orders are so.
Hindus and Muslims, are brothers and address each other as brothers-by-nation or “desh-bhai.” When desh-bhais, overcome by exuberance and affection play with each other, it results in “riots.” “Riots” is an exciting game and is often played in India because Hindus and Muslims live in large numbers in this country. Often riots begin with a pandit or a maulvi and end with Section 144. During this period rivers of blood flow in which Hindus and Muslims bathe with joy. Later, the Police brings matters under control, and preparations begin for the next set of riots. This game is super exciting. And because Hindus and Muslims have always been busy with it, they handed over the business of dispensing justice to the British for the longest time. That is the reason the British are called justice-loving, and Hindus and Muslims are called riot-loving people. And those who are not riot-loving are called progress-loving or progressives. But these fools are very few in the country. That’s why call out aloud; H for Hindu.