How Hindi Has Changed in Modern India

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How Hindi has Changed in Modern India

by – Jyoti Gajbhiye, Vol.II, Issue.XIX, August 2016

Introduction to the Author:

Jyoti on Hindi Language Jyoti Gajbhiye holds a PH. D. in Hindi Literature from Mumbai University. In the past, she has taught in Yashwantrao Chavhan open university in Maharashtra. She currently is a freelance writer, poetess and playwright.  Her writing has appeared in different literary magazines in Hindi as well as in English.

In the present paper, she writes about the Hindi language and its script Devnagri. How Hindi started in India and how it changed in modern time.


Language is the fundamental source and the medium of human communication. It is ever changing and has evolved over the years. It has changed with time and developed some new criteria. Society and culture change significantly in every decade. Society is made by the person and the person is the one who carries the language. The individual wants his/her language to be convenient and applicable in multiple ways, easy to communicate, easy to write. Nowadays, people of the younger generation are beyond the phase of believing that speaking English is more impressive than Hindi, perhaps because of the widespread presence of English education in urban areas; which means that English is no longer a big deal. They want to use Hindi but they are not seeking to speak sanskritnishth Hindi. What they choose to use is ‘bolchal ki bhasha’ (the spoken word). Language has two basic types, namely oral and written forms. They both have their own specific criteria and their own way of evolving and affecting each other.

Let’s take a look towards origin of Hindi. Griysen divided Hindi into two types-

1) Pashcimi Hindi – Shourseni Apbhransh

2) Purvi Hindi – Ardhmagdhi Apbhransh

Shourseni Apbhransh developed into khadi boli and later in Hindi. The roots of Shourseni Apbhransh are from Sanskrit. Sanskrit comes in the Arya bhasha category which has come in Bharopiy family which also contain Greek, Latin, Farsi, German.

Hindi has changed in different ways. It is no more Manak (Standard) Hindi, now that it is affected by the significant influences of technology, lifestyle, and other languages and cultures.


How Hindi has changed in writing and speaking-

Hindi Script (Writing) – Hindi has Devnagri lipi which originated from Brahmi lipi. It was developed in tenth century. Some letters changed their shapes-

Some Verbs written in different form-

Anunashik (Nasal) letters-


In 1935 Kaka Kalelkar had made “Nagri lipi sudhar samiti” for correction in devnagri lipi. Since that time script has changed for some particular mannerisms.

Today’s generation is more technologically attuned and the use of Hindi typing means that Hindi as a language has prevailed and even thrived in the digital age. However, most of this digital presence is in the form of the Latin (English) script; in the beginning, this was for lack of Hindi typing tools and keyboards, but now it is more out of simple habit. However, the lack of certain elements in the Roman script; such as the ‘purnaviram’ (Hindi punctuation) means that Hindi is written with the use of the Roman English script’s ‘period’. This is another small but significant way in which Hindi has interwoven with other languages.

Use of Slang and New Words –

In daily life people casually amalgamate regional language words and as well as English words adapted for use in Hindi. Incomplete sentences have made the language as a whole more compressed and streamlined. All of these effect Hindi in some way. ‘Jhakaas’ and waparna are Marathi words which have been borrowed to be used as common words spoken in Hindi. This generation has even constructed some new words like ‘Fenkofy’ for bluffing/bragging. Another example is the word ‘yoga’, which is now pronounced with an “aa” at the end even in Hindi, whereas the word originally is simply ‘yog’. It’s an example of a word which transformed so efficiently that even in its place of origin, its pronunciation has changed.

There is an ever increasing list of new words which have begun to become part of Hindi.


How Hindi has changed in the context of Film, television and Social Media –

Hindi is popular in world different parts of the world thanks to the exposure gained by Hindi movies. Actors who are not of a Hindi background don’t use proper pronunciation. European languages have Roman script; if they cannot be written in Devnagri script it begs the question as to how can Hindi be written in Roman script Regional languages and English are also used in Hindi movies. Sometimes they both come together and make a sort of cocktail. An example of this being the recent movie ‘Udta Punjab’, which seamlessly uses both regional language and English into a Hindi sentence, for example, the phrase ‘Veer before heer’ used in an otherwise Hindi sentence which is a play on the similar English phrase using Punjabi.

Popular songs in Hindi also confirm the same phenomenon-

Oh womaniya

Munni badnam hui darling tere liye

Upsetao nahi moora, nervousao nahi moora

And also product baselines which combine English and Hindi into one easy to say and remember phrase, like-

Tum toh ho gorgeous hamesha

Taste bhi, Health bhi

So film writers have gradually developed their own version of the Hindi language which can absorbed by society, as one of the several versions of it is present in the current world.

When it comes to social media like twitter, Whatsapp, Facebook, instagram, blogs the use of Hindi is in multiple levels. The common Indian uses it for some desi messages (or even some shaayari), whereas some writers use it for writing well thought out blogs. Some Hindi lines may be referenced even in English. Again if they did not find some options while typing, they improvise with the Roman script without missing a beat.

A whole new dimension is introduced with the advent of emoticons. Perhaps we will come to see a day when kids don’t even use the word ‘namaste’ anymore, in favour of using the emoticon depicting folded hands.

We have to be careful with way these elements are used, for languages can die if we don’t use them. So we have to speak and write in a middle path. We will not destroy its original structure but make some changes for convenience. Hindi has changed in modern India but the popularity of Hindi has increased and never looked back. Hindi teaching has also started all over the world. We have reached the point where foreigners want to learn Hindi. So, perhaps the easier way is not the wrong way and is the way to the future of the language. For all the changes and influences it has absorbed Hindi is still hamari (ours). So we light a lamp of Hindi with its all dignity and don’t worry whether the lamp is electric.



(The paper is based on the personal experience of the author.)

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