The people in Labasa and surrounding cane-field area speak the local Fiji Hindi which has developed over the past 120 years of separation from the 'Mother' State of India. However some people say that the local Hindi is a diminished form of the language and especially when the script is changed to Roman, they shrug their shoulders and dismiss it. I recall that when Peceli was working in the Indian Division of the Methodist Church in Fiji his familiarity of 'local' Hindi wasn't enough for the powers that be and they sent him to a missionary to learn the 'real' Hindi as that was expected in the preaching. Hmmm.
Here are two letters to the Editor of the Fiji Times - with the differing views.
HINDI is the official lingua franca of all Indians who were born or originated from India. There is a specific script used to write in Hindi.
Although there are many dialects best suited by the masses to communicate within India and outside, however, in reference to speaking in 'Hindi', there is no such thing as Fiji Hindi, Australian Hindi, US Hindi, etc.
Every effort should be made to speak (sudh/Kadhi or pure) Hindi as known in India, as distinction is made with whom you are conversing with.
The use of aap (to address anyone elder to you), maaf karna (when been apologetic) is used in sudh Hindi. It's an accepted fact that when one speaks shudh Hindi, one endeavors to be mindful of the words they speak, with whom they are conversing with.
DR SARVESHWAR PANDE
IT seems Rebecca Singh and many others are confused with standard Hindi and Fiji My call to teach Fiji Hindi and write it using Roman alphabets is not a threat to standard Hindi or to the Devnagri system of writing. Fiji Hindi is our mother tongue and not standard Hindi.
Mother tongue is the language a child acquires while growing up which for Fiji Indians is Fiji Hindi. Standard Hindi has its own place and will continue to play an active role in all religious and traditional functions. The call to write Fiji Hindi in Roman alphabet is simple. It is known by all and can be used as an easy way of putting thoughts on paper.
Currently most kirtan and bhajan singers write their words using Roman alphabets.
There is a lot of confusion among the Fiji Hindi speakers that standard Hindi is the correct form of Fiji Hindi. It is not.
Few years ago when the Ministry of Education introduced conversational Hindi it was surprising to see that it was not conversational at all. It was standard Hindi.
For instance since when Fiji Hindi began marking gender in verbs. It only happens in standard Hindi. So my question is if the Fiji Indians do not mark gender in verbs then why should teachers of other races be asked to learn that.
Finally I am a proud speaker and reader of standard Hindi but the fact remains my mother tongue is Fiji Hindi. Let's make it legitimate. It is a language spoken by all but loved by none.
Faculty of arts and Language
added on 11 December from letter to the editor, Fiji Times.
I REFER to the ongoing debate on Fiji Hindi versus standard Hindi.
Naturally, we speak fluent Fiji Hindi and rise up to the occasion to speak standard or pure Hindi where required, normally in formal situations.
Fiji Hindi is sporadically spoken in formal situations to crack a joke.
I see nothing wrong in maintaining this while also not feeling embarrassed about our mother tongue which is Fiji Hindi.
My only issue is, will there be some accommodation in any written text to give legitimacy to the Labasa version of Fiji Hindi?
As a Labasia, I use words such as aawa and gawa instead of aaya and gaya, which is mainly for Suva-sias.
I would like to differentiate myself as a Labasia from a Suvasia as far as language is concerned.
Even in India, there are various dialects within Hindi and any attempt to recognise Fiji Hindi will be futile without recognising the few differences that exist in various regions of Fiji.