Sometimes my son asks in English: “Baba, what does duniya mean?” It means the world, beta, the world that I have lost. The world of Hindi: Amitava Kumar remembers his lost world of Hindi

Amitava_KumarMy son, who was born here in New York four years ago, doesn’t speak Hindi—but I have taught him the first few lines of the Kishore Kumar song Hum to Mohabbat Karega, Duniya Se Nahin Darega.

I have often explained to him the meaning of the words, but sometimes he asks in English: “Baba, what does duniya mean?”

It means the world, beta, the world that I have lost. The world of Hindi.

I have recorded my son singing the song and played it on WhatsApp for my sisters who haven’t seen him for a very long time. I think they would be amused if they also heard him say, when I’m putting him to sleep, “Chuppchaap so jaao.”

Feroz-TajA Door Into Hindi comprises tutorials on Hindi while Darvazah has chapters in Urdu. Each tool has 24 progressively advanced tutorials comprising videos, animations, jokes, each aimed at drawing the learner closer to the language. Each video lasts 15-20 minutes, while the accompanying text describes the grammar, synonyms, among other issues related to what was shown in the video.

India may dream in Hindi but aspires to write in English, is the argument presented by Aditi Maheshwari, director Vani Publications at the Jaipur Literature Festival here.

“India may dream in Hindi, sleep in Hindi, but it aspires to read in English. The population of Hindi readers is much fewer than English readers in India,” Maheshwari said at the concluding day of festival on Tuesday. 

Om Prakash Valmiki lost his battle for life to liver cancer on Sunday, aged 63, leaving behind a literary legacy that is iconic not just for his words, but also because of what it tells us about our times.

Born at the lowest rung of the scheduled castes as an untouchable chuhda in Muzaffarnagar district of western Uttar Pradesh, he rose to occupy the highest place in the world of Dalit literature because of his powerful writings.

Uday PrakashWriter Uday Prakash has always recoiled from the rich, the powerful and the pompous. He tells Shougat Dasgupta that mockery is the only recourse of the weak in Tehelka.

Uday Prakash is proud of the accent walls in his flat; he painted them himself, without help. He is proud too of his rooftop garden. The upholstery on the outdoor furniture may be fraying, faded by the city’s extreme weather and dusty from the nearby construction but all of it — the plants, the furniture, the many in his study downstairs, the computer — is the fruit of his ceaseless labour. He has considerable pride in his independence, his self-reliance. Now 61, he is perhaps less content by the fact of his hard-won recent success than by the way in which it was attained — without favour, without a leg-up in an industry, indeed a country, oozing with nepotists, flatterers, favour-curriers and mutual backscratchers.