This is not applicable to all Bengalis, however, a certain section, especially from the older generation are notorious Hindi speakers. We often accuse the South Indians particularly Tamilians for their refusal to learn our Rashtrabhasha Hindi, however, Bengalis are no better. Well, unlike the Tamilians, the Bengalis instead of reluctance show over-enthusiasm in speaking Hindi. Megalomaniac Bongs considers that if they warp and twist Bengali words and syllables then Hindi is conquered. As a result, most Bengali words are twisted and the emphasis on “o” is reduced to make it Hindi.
Bengali is a unique language which has no gender and the main conflict starts with the gender part in Hindi. Most Bongs are so engrossed in their Hindi speaking skills that they give a damn about gender and thus the Hindi sentences sound somewhat like “tum jab jata tha main tab aata tha” or “meri ladki bahut accha hain, woh bahar kuch nahin khata hain, aur jaata bhi nahin hain”.
Another ironical part is that in Bengali language nothing is there to drink, everything is eaten from water to cigarettes. Thus, we eat water, we eat cigarettes, we eat juice and we eat lassi. For a Bengali this rule does not change in Hindi either and thus they say “tum paani khayega?” or “mera beta bahut accha hain woh kabhi bhi cigarette nahin khata”.
To speak Hindi, Bengalis simply twist their words. So they often say “humko chair pe boshake tum kahan daurata hain?” or else “yeh baccha itna lafata hain, ki mera matha dhar giya”.
Bengalis love to travel, and all over India Bengali tourists are found in plenty. Their Hindi speaking skill is best exhibited during these travel excursions. Once my Aunt went to Rajasthan, she was too tired trekking forts, so in one Fort she decided to skip the trekking. The others in the group went up while she kept waiting down with the assistant of the Tour guide. After waiting for quite some time she grew impatient and requested the assistant to go up and call them. It was 1980, days before mobile phones came into existence. What she said in Hindi was “jaao unko daakke lao”. She repeated this few times and the poor assistant was unable to comprehend what she meant. He made a wild guess that daak (that means ‘to call’ in Bengali) could be daku (dacoits), something Rajasthan’s Aravalli was once notorious for, so he replied to her vehemently nodding his head “nahin maaji abhi Rajasthan mein daku nahin hain, pehle tha”.
My father was equally proficient in Hindi. He nonchalantly spoke Hindi and often considered the other person dumb for not understanding. He considered that Hindi is an easy language and he need not put any extra effort to learn the same. Once the doctor advised him to eat ridge gourd every day to keep his creatinine level under check. So daddy dear called up my local Gujrati vegetable vendor and asked “aapke paas jhingha hain?” In Bengali, we call ridge gourd jhinga whereas in Hindi jhinga means prawns. I can well imagine the shock and horror the strictly vegetarian Gujarati vegetable seller went through on being asked to deliver “jhinga”. He angrily retorted and said “hum jhinga nahin rakhte”. Likewise, my dad called few more vegetable sellers in the locality. Everyone said they don’t keep jhinga. Incidentally, all the vegetable stores are run by Gujaratis and why on earth would they keep prawns. My father oblivious to the linguistic blasphemy he committed complained to me on my return that Bombay was a weird city because here ridge gourd was not available in any shop whereas in Kolkata every hawker sold it. So if he had to follow his doctor’s advice the only option was to shift back to Kolkata. It was futile to explain him his mistake.
We all remember the famous scene from my favourite movie “Sonar Kella” where Jatayu alias Lalmohan Ganguly speaks Hindi. That is a classic example of Bengali way of speaking Hindi. I often watch that scene on YouTube whenever I need to laugh a bit. Our reluctance to learn Hindi properly has no wonder given birth to a new version of Hindi which is Bengalised-hindi or “Bhindi”. Bhindi these days is heard all over India and also abroad. On that note “Abhi aapne post pora to comment karo aur abhi main jaata”.
Linking this post to #MondayMusings hosted by dear Corinne.