The Hindi Rupee

I have often trumped up the many achievements of my better half on this blog. Rightfully so – he is an admirable man in many ways, but when it comes to Hindi, he falls flat. He is useless at Hindi. At this statement, he would rise up indignantly, puff out his chest and tell you that he is a Prathmic first class.

I shall save the deplorable state of examinations and education in India for another blog. Let us suffice to say, I do not agree with this assessment. I have witnessed his performance in Hindi for several years now, and feel that there was an examiner who, in an enormously benevolent mood after a full breakfast of parathas with ghee, corrected the papers.

I have tried conversing with him in Hindi. Just as an experiment: I have tried conversing with the ducks on a lake in Hindi. I have a tried conversing with the trees under the twinkling stars in Hindi. The ducks come first, followed by a large gap where the trees and the husband come panting in neck to neck in the conversation race. The ducks quack back, the trees stand there as though nothing happened, and the husband looks puzzled. When prodded, he cracks a joke about my Hindi not being Prathmic First Class standard.

I do not blame him – it is his circumstances. Always blame the circumstances. You see, in TamilNadu especially Chennai, there is a distinct indifference towards Hindi. A calculated ignorance. “IF I don’t know that Hindi is the national language, then Hindi is not the national language” mentality that I am sure the rest of India finds extremely trying.

On an unrelated note, Tamilians as a race are rather proud of their famous offspring. Every person from Kumbakonam will tell you all about Ramanujam. Of course, if he is old enough, the story becomes Ramanujam and he as buddies goofing off near the big temple. The Abdul Kalaams and P.Chidambarams of the World, are spoken of as their own sons. We are a welcoming race that way.

Well, here is the crux. The Indian rupee is now officially going to have a symbol. No more do we have to write ‘R’ and then an ‘s’, all we have to do now is this:

The symbol was adjudged a winner from thousands of entries and guess what? The winner was from Tamil Nadu. One would have thought that the rest of the country would be bored stiff with the boasting about how Tamil Nadu produces people who can come up with rupee symbols. I thought he was all set to go down in history as one of those tales grandmothers tell their grandchildren.

But alas, I will have to take you back to the beginning of this article and show you how Tamilians are allergic to Hindi. Apparently, this symbol resembles the Hindi ‘Ra’. The whole state is in a state of emotional uproar about how a Tamilian worth his salts, having bathed in the Cauvery river and played on its earth could come up with a Hindi symbol.

The fact that this man, Udayakumar (, is a ย Professor of Design at the Indian Institute of Technology is forgotten as Tamil Nadu marches its way to progress.

12 thoughts on “The Hindi Rupee”

  1. hahaha, DH is not proficient in Hindi either, though he claims to have studied it in school, so I can very much relate to that.
    And btw I thought it was a half English R, didnt strike that it was the hindi Ra.

  2. umhmm.. I wasnt like this when i was in India but I was offended ๐Ÿ™‚ that they choose an hindi letter for the word, you cant even say it is an unintentional mistake with the line on the top.

  3. Just because I have a “policy” of blogging only once per year you decided to present your case. Here I am presenting 3 reasons why all these accusations on my hindi skills are baseless

    1) I lived in Calcutta for an year as a Customer support engineer dealing with taxi drivers and rural areas where their best sophistication is ability to speak in Hindi
    2) I managed very well in Hindi and earned the tag of favorite uncle tag from my hindi speaking niece
    3) Most important: I have a first class in Prathmic which the author doesn’t have

    I rest my case bloggers. You decide

    On a serious note (If you thought I was joking before even without a smilie)
    – I don’t find the dont-force-hindi-on-us stand completely baseless.
    ====From wikipedia with pointers to constitution===
    The official language of the Indian Union is Hindi with English as a secondary official language;[1] states in India can legislate their own official languages.[1] Neither the Constitution of India, nor any Indian law defines any national language.[2]
    If I want Tamil language to survive (for whatever reason) then I could argue moving to Hindi as national language will eliminate the need for someone to learn Tamil and force them to learn English or Hindi. By the same argument, can we ask all muslims and christians to become Hindus because that is the majority religion in India?
    [I know it is not same.. but you see my point]
    So, though most of the times I think it is a good idea for everyone to learn Hindi to cut communication barrier sometimes I think, may be it is not that big a deal after all.

    1. 1) If you keep pushing your Calcutta experience, I will be forced to open the ek-ek story here for all the world to hear
      2) Of course, you were her favorite uncle. You were the one who let her talk uninterrupted and expressed admiration for every hindi word spoken.
      3) BTW, just because I dont talk about my PRathmic first class does not mean I dont have it. In fact, I may also have a madhyama first class and it was second language till 10th class.

      1. This is hilarous, I used to claim I was Rashtrapaksha pass as well.. I never even took Prathmic but I had Hindi has second language till 10th class as well.

  4. Damn! I posted a long response and this stupid wordpress ate it up.

    Here I go again:

    3 reasons why this article (esp. about me) was wrong,

    1) I successfully lived/worked in Calcutta in a job that required to meet people who knew just bengali and/or hindi
    2) My hindi speaking niece considered me as her favorite uncle
    3) Most imp: I have first class in prathmic (which the author cannot boast of)

    Now for the serious point:
    –According to wikipedia & constitution link given there–
    Hindi and English are official language generally used with clear constitutional power given to states to use regional language as official language along with English. (without Hindi)
    Hindi is not the national language.
    Leaving the politics (and the selfishness) behind, if I love Tamil as a language (for whatever reason) by accepting HIndi as the official language, then motivation for people to learn Tamil will go down eventually and that will make the language extinct.

    If we say, majority already speak that language so you better switch, isn’t it similar to saying majority in India are Hindus, so let us make it as Official religion?

    I see the problem of everyone having to learn English (if that is the Official or inter-state language) which is worse than only 2-3 states having to learn Hindi.

    These thoughts seems far outreaching for me.. but I thought it may increase your comment count ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Sri,
      Such a long comment.. Wow!! As Senthil would have said, “ennadhanalu, naan Prathmic first class anne.. Neenga adhu padikalaye.” ROFL.

      Rupaya rules.

  5. LOL! I am reminded of a friend of mine who would start rattling ‘ Ek gaun mein… ek kisan… ragutha thaa!!” whenever someone spoke in Hindi around him….and would declare that he was a Prarthmic first class too. You can guess which state he belonged to, ofcourse!:-)

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