Punjabi and Hindi both are the most recognized languages in the Indian media culture. Punjabi is recognized as the third official language of Canada and is the fourth most spoken language in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, Hindi is the most spoken language in India and constitutes up to 44% of India’s total population as native speakers. One astonishing fact about these two languages is that both Hindi and Punjabi are widely oriented to Hinduism and Sikhism religions. Both these religions have strong roots in the Indian subcontinent region.
Hindi and Punjabi language have made striking recognitions in the world and are suffusing at a rate faster rate than 6,497 and 6,490 languages respectively. Let's shine some light on the emergence, usage and the presence of Hindi and Punjabi languages in the media culture of India and the world.
The Punjabi Language
The word 'Punjabi' has been derived from two Persian words 'Panj' and 'āb' meaning 'Five' and 'Waters'. The world literally translates to the land of five rivers which are Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, Beas and is commonly known worldwide as Punjab. The word 'Punjabi' thus means the language spoken by the people of Punjab.
Originally, Punjabi was written in two scripts which are Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi. Originated in the 7th century, today Punjabi is the 10th most spoken language of the world with over 130 million speakers. With changes in time and due to India’s partition in 1947, Punjabi got restricted to the Gurmukhi script in the 21st century.
Punjabi's Connection to India and Pakistan
Regardless of Punjabi being the most spoken language in Pakistan, it is still not recognized by its constitution as an official language. The reason behind this discontent with the Punjabi language is the rivalry between these two nations. The rivalry between India and Pakistan began on the basis religious affiliations of pre-independent India's population to Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam. This division is most famously known as the 'Divide and Rule Policy' of the British in India.
During the partition of India, millions of Muslims migrated to Pakistan which resulted in the formation of a new country, whereas the majority of Sikhs and Hindu's remained in India. Punjabi, as the religious language of Sikhs, thus maintained its official supremacy in India.
Punjabi in Indian and World Media Culture
The Punjabi literature first originated in the 10th century by the 'Natha' section of Hinduism and was written in verse form. It spread widely amongst the region of Sapt Sindhava which is modern-day Punjab. In recent history from the 17th century on words, Punjabi spread in the Persian-oriented Shahmukhi script and was mostly used by the Muslims saints.
In the year 1867, the Punjabi language gained some momentum with the publication of the first Gurmukhi script newspaper 'Akhbaar Sri Darbar Sahib Sri Amritsar Ji'. Following its arrival, manifold newspaper agencies started publishing in Punjabi. Today, an individual can purchase a Punjabi newspaper in Western Countries like Ambedkar Times and Desh Doaba in the USA, Ajit Weekly in Canada and Europe Samachar in the European continent.
The Pollywood industry, which is the film-industry of Punjab has also marked its reputation all around the world. Established in early 1920, the Punjabi cinema industry released sound movies without any videography. Later came notable movies like Jatti, Satluj De Kante and Teri Meri Ek Jindri that gave the industry a rapid boost.
In the pop-culture, the Punjabi music industry set a record with hit songs. The song Tunak Tunak Tun by Daler Mehndi got renowned internationally in the year 1998. In the 21st century, with the advent of Punjabi songs in Bollywood movies, the Hindi music industry suffered a setback. Today, a large majority of Bollywood movies feature Punjabi songs and the language itself has become a tough contender to the Hindi language for producing Bollywood music.
The Hindi Language
Hindi is the third most spoken language with over 450 million speakers worldwide. Along with Punjabi, it is one of the 22 officially spoken languages of India. It has derived from the Vedic Sanskrit language and witnessed a quick growth in the 7th century. The dialect in which the modern Hindi language is spoken is the Khariboli dialect. In the year 1949, the Hindi language in Devnagri script replaced the Arabic Urdu language as the official language of the Republic of India. It was until the year 1958, there was no fixed standard of Hindi grammar in the world which was then set up by the government of India in a report named ‘A Basic Grammar of Modern Hindi.’
In the recent past and even in the 21st century, the Hindi language has been the reason for communal riots between Hindus and Sikhs and amongst the population of North India and South India. The common languages spoken in South India are Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada whose threat of replacement by the Hindi language often became the major cause behind the riots.
The majority of users of Hindi language are native to the Indian sub-continent including the countries India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bengal and Sri Lanka. However, the Hindi language is also spoken in the UAE, UK, USA, Canada, Germany, Guyana, Mauritius, Singapore, Fiji, Suriname, Trinidad, and Tobago. The total number of Hindi speakers outside India is 8 million.
Hindi in Indian and World Media Culture
Hindi as a form of literature is the most famous literature in India. There are several translations of Hindi literature present in English, Chinese, Japanese and other languages. The Indian Hindi literature can be divided into two categories which are pre-colonist literature and post-colonist literature. The pre-colonist literature consists of epics, folktales, autobiographies, and poems whereas the post-colonist literature is composed of fictional literature, novels, and poems. The most famous Hindi writers that are recognized worldwide are Premchand, Tulsi Das, Kabir Das, and Mahatma Gandhi.
Due to the spread of Hindi language and literature in the western culture, Hindi words like namaste, bazaar, guru, mantra, etc. became understandable by the world population. The Oxford Dictionary even gave recognition to the word bazaar as a valid word in the English language. In the 21st century, people started using Hindi language in Latin script and a new language Hinglish (combination of Hindi and English) came into existence.
The Bollywood industry of India compromises of Hindi movies and songs. The industry alone produces more than 2,000 movies per year and is the world's largest movie industry. Dadasaheb Phalke is considered as the father of Bollywood who produced the first Hindi Bollywood movie in the year 1913. In the 20th century and the early 21st century, Hindi movies like Sholay, The Guide, Salaam Bombay, Awara, Nayakan, Earth, Lagaan, and Devdas made the Hindi speaking community internationally proud.
The usage of Hindi language did not remain restricted to the Indian movie cinema and marked its presence in Hollywood movies like Slumdog Millionaire, Bend It Like Beckham, Big Sick, etc. The famous Indian character 'Raj' from the Western TV show The Big Bang Theory often makes references to the Hindi language. The world popular Hindi song Jai Ho sung by A.R. Rahman for movie Slumdog Millionaire made groundbreaking achievements in the music industry by winning the Grammy award for the Best Song Written for a Motion Picture in 2010.