There are several confusions on the origin of Hindi as a language. Interestingly the standardization of grammar for Hindi language was done in the past century i.e. 1950s. This does not necessarily mean, however, that Hindi was created in 1900s. Some people call it the youngest or newest Indian language. To verify this claim, I thought to do some research and present some information on how old Hindi language is and how it could have originated. Remember, the greatness of any language is not in its oldness. A new language can be as good. All that glitters is not gold and all that is old is not gold.
How old is Hindi Language?
Hindi was born much before the name Hindi originated. Hindi as we know today is not as it was actually. It originated as Apabhramsa (अपभ्रंश), then went through development, got scripted, and after many years Hindi turned out to be lot more different than it started originally. It is said to have originated from Shoorseni Apabhramsa. There is no confirmation on dates and it varies in different sources.
As per BBC Website, Vikramorvashiyam, a play by Kalidasa, was written in Apabhramsa form in 400 A.D. The same thing I have found at other websites and in some books as well but at the same time I have read somewhere (forgot the source) that this date (timing) is not agreed by all.
Hazari Prasad Dwivedi has given reference of some author (Mr. Shukl) who mentioned some authors from 7th century. Most of them however safely agree on the development of Hindi after 10th century A.D.
An interesting fact from http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/other/hindi/guide/facts.shtml
"Prem Sagar, meaning ‘Ocean of Love’, by Lalloo Lal was published in 1805. It’s considered the first published Hindi book and tells the deeds of Lord Krishna, a Hindu religious figure".
It should be noted that most of the times the dates are based on the literary works only. In my opinion, dating any language should be a very difficult job as how would you know the origins of a language. How can you know when it was first spoken.
Why the name Hindi or What is the Meaning of Hindi
Many people believe that Hindi was developed as a result of foreign invasions. The people from the other side of Indus River (Sindhu River) called the people living on this side of Sindhu as Hindus. It is said that they did not have “S”, so they used “H”. The language Hindus used to speak was referred to as Hindi. Thus the name of the language originated. Interestingly, there were/are more than one forms of language in India.
What was the original name of Hindi?
There were several languages spoken across the nation and the languages spoken in our country were known as ‘Nagari’. This language is known as Hindi, Hindui or Hindvi amongst foreigners.
हिंदी साहित्य का अतीत, लेखक आचार्य विश्वनाथ प्रसाद मिश्र
Is there a difference between Khari Boli and Hindi?
Some people believe Hindi and Khari boli are synonymous and use these terms interchangeably. See for example this quote from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Khari-Boli
The two major lingua francas in India are Hindustani and English. Hindustani is based on an early dialect of Hindi, known by linguists as Khari Boli, which originated in Delhi and an adjacent region within the Ganges-Yamuna Doab (interfluve).
From the information I got, there seems to be a difference between Khari boli and Hindi. Udaynarayan Tiwari has mentioned (Western) Hindi and Eastern Hindi differently. He has included Khari Boli, Brijbhasha etc. as part of Hindi and not Khari boli is equal to Hindi as many people believe. Eastern Hindi seems to have originated from Magadhi.
Is there a difference between Hindustani and Hindi?
Udaynarayan Tiwari in his book Hindi Bhasha ka Udgam aur Vikas has said that although the name Hindustani was also given by the Turk invaders, this name was made popular by the Europeans. He further explains it as a language spoken by the Muslims of North India as well as the Muslims of South India. Although earlier Hindustani and Hindi were synonyms, later this language, i.e. Hindustani came to be known as Urdu with the increased usage of words from Persian, and other foreign languages.
Was Sanskrit added later to Hindi?
I have heard some people saying that Sanskrit was never a part of Hindi and there were words only from Brij and other local languages existing at that time and from foreign languages such as Persian, Arabic etc.
In his book Hindi Bhasha ka Udgam aur Vikas, Udaynarayan Tiwari writes:
पृष्ठ ८७, शौरसेनी-प्राकृत मूलतः शूरसेन प्रदेश (मथुरा) की भाषा थी. संस्कृत नाटकों में स्त्री पात्र और विदूषक इसका प्रयोग करते हैं. मध्य देश की भाषा होने के कारण यह संस्कृत के बहुत समीप रही है और इस पर संस्कृत का निरंतर प्रभाव पड़ता रहा.
Based on this, it does not appear to have artificially added in later years but Sanskrit words came to Hindi in a very natural manner as Sanskrit was one of the spoken languages in ancient India and borrowing words from other existing languages is very common. For example, the way we are adopting English words in Hindi, Tamil, Marathi and other Indian languages these days.
Hazari Prasad Dwivedi (Page 32, Hindi Sahitya Ka Adikal) has said that the use of Tatsam words was visible in the ninth and tenth centuries however tadbhav words became more visible from fourteenth century.
Tatsam: are those words directly taken from Sanskrit without deviating from original form, for example Surya.
Tadbhav: are those words that are taken from Sanskrit but modified according to the language, for example Suraj (from Surya).
This article is based on the information collected from the following books and websites:
हिंदी साहित्य का आदिकाल, लेखक हज़ारी प्रसाद द्विवेदी
हिंदी साहित्य का अतीत, लेखक आचार्य विश्वनाथ प्रसाद मिश्र
हिंदी भाषा का उद्गम और विकास, लेखक उदयनारायण तिवारी
Author - Archit
लाभस्तेषां जयस्तेषां कुतस्तेषां पराजयः I येषामिन्दीवरश्यामो हृदयस्थो जनार्दनः II