तहलका में हिन्दी ब्लॉग पर आलेख

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5 मई 2007 के तहलका के अंक में रविकान्त का आलेख हिन्दी चिट्ठाकारी पर प्रकाशित हुआ है. प्रस्तुत है प्रकाशित आलेख अपने पूरे असंपादित रूप में:...

5 मई 2007 के तहलका के अंक में रविकान्त का आलेख हिन्दी चिट्ठाकारी पर प्रकाशित हुआ है. प्रस्तुत है प्रकाशित आलेख अपने पूरे असंपादित रूप में:

LANGUAGE

The New Hindi Medium

The unease among Hindi veterans over the brave new world of Internet blogging is fast being swept aside by young pioneers who view their tongue not as a burden but as an opportunity. Ravikant explores the generation gap

The Hindi blogosphere, running into something like 500 blogs today, is reminiscent of the formative years of the language when it made the transition from the oral and handwritten mode to the print media. But the similarity between the two eras and the two technologies ends here. And, given the Hindi language's notoriously fraught relationship with technology in general and mass-media in particular, it is not surprising that the Hindi bloggers on the Internet are all young - mostly in their twenties and thirties.

It is almost a given to think of Hindi as an embattled language, but the fact remains that it has managed to erase its arch-rival Urdu, has almost devoured ‘its' various dialects and has pretty much made peace with the status of English as the post-colonial global language of this country. Hindiwallahs feel let down by the State, but they have always loathed Commerce equally.

Ironically, it is the content-hungry and numbers-driven media bazaar, in the form of print since the early-19th century; films from the 1930s onwards; followed by the radio; and later still, the television, that has given Hindi its unassailable contemporary status as potentially one of the world's major languages.

But there is a parallel world that lives on the fringes of this media market - a fragile unstable world of little magazines where high closure rates are balanced by an equally high number of launches. So this world of laghu patrikas carries on with its missionary zeal and self-proclaimed janpakshdhar attitude - its content almost exclusively literary and political.

The new mass media, called the Internet, comes to Hindi in this context.

If we compare those who created websites in the late-1990s and those who are blogging now, to those who are still quite satisfied with the print media, the generation gap is obvious. However, the blogs come at a time when some of the leading print journals and all the important newspapers are available on the Web.

Nurtured by those who glorified Hindi as the language of eternal struggle, the youth today is still having a tough time trying to convince the wider public that the Internet is not elitist, that embracing it does not amount to eating cake while the hungry millions go without bread. This is literally how the debate went recently when Manisha Kulshreshtha, a pioneer who set up the webportal, Hindinest, started writing in praise of the Net in her column in Naya Gyanoday.

Hasan Jamal, the editor of Shesh and a familiar name in socialist circles, charged her with elitism. This could have gone unnoticed a couple of years ago, but not anymore. Jamal saheb got a taste of his own medicine when he got furious responses from the readers of his magazine. One of the respondents, Ravi Ratlami, yes, sitting in Ratlam - another pioneer who has tirelessly worked at translating the free software desktops and other tools in Hindi under a voluntary effort called Indlinux - told Jamal to stop being a "frog in the well" and see his own works reach the far flung corners of the globe via Ratlami's freewheeling blogzine, Rachnakar. Shesh might not be available in Chhattisgarh but his article on Rachnakar certainly is. "Just try typing your name in Hindi on Google," Ratlami told Jamal.

So it would seem that the netters are now in a position to take on the old media, although they still have some way to go. There is still anxiety in some quarters about things - including generating unnecessary controversy in the Hindi blogosphere. This happened recently when discussions on Hindus and Muslims became too hot to handle for many.

Amidst the accusations and protestations that followed, the underlying sentiment favoured sheltering and protecting the new public domain from extreme expressions of identity-oriented narrow political debates. The creators of spaces like Narad, Sarvagya, Paricharcha, Hindini and others have invested much effort in providing the basic tools and healthy initial content for Hindi blogging, and they do not want anybody to ruin it. They do not want another Partition, as one blogger said. Sounds familiar.

To sum up, the Hindi blogosphere at the moment looks like a vibrant, if a bit cautious space. Bloggers are commenting on a range of things and it has become a space for innovation, discussion and sharing.

Collectively, they can be credited with achieving what the various language and technology departments run by the government have failed to do. And their language is refreshingly different from sarkari Hindi - like roadside mechanics, they have invented a whole new jargon to come to terms with a global technology and tech-inspired spaces that need to be tweaked locally. Toh aaiye chittha likhein, chtthakaar banein, kachcha chttha kholein, aur bedharak Tipiyaein.

Ravikant is a literary historian

May 05, 2007

(साभार, तहलका)


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छींटे और बौछारें: तहलका में हिन्दी ब्लॉग पर आलेख
तहलका में हिन्दी ब्लॉग पर आलेख
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