An excerpt from a discussion of using Roman script to write languages like Hindi and Urdu which have traditional scripts.
In this situation, with such massive popular support, the state policy of ignoring the Roman script is actually harming Hindi. Unlike Turkish, which modernised and shook off its cobwebs, Hindi has clung on to all that is old. This might seem romantic but the end result is that Hindi is being relegated rapidly to the status of a kitchen language: a tongue reserved for informal use while only English is seen to be good enough for official use.
This has grave implications, which will lead to the stunting of Hindi. Already, Hindi literature is miniscule and the language has almost no intellectual space. On the e-commerce portal, Flipkart, for example, one of Hindi’s greatest novels, Raag Darbari, has 27 reviews. Half Girlfriend, Chetan Bhagat’s latest English novel, in contrast, has almost 1,700 reviews. India’s leading publishing houses use English as a major publishing language and not the native Hindi, in spite of it having more than 40 crore speakers.
There are many things, of course, needed to revitalise Hindi. But one of them should certainly be a change of script to Roman. In many ways, this is a fait accompli on the ground, as more and more people use Roman Hindi in their day-to-day interactions. But to make sure that official Hindi benefits from this, an Indian Ataturk would need to make sure this change is adopted officially.
There are not many things where Rahul Gandhi can claim to have shown India the future: but Roman Hindi may certainly be one of them.