The Hindi communication revival
18th June 2014
It is being said that a new nursery rhyme in Hinglish – Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Abki Baar Modi Sarkar – became quite popular with tiny tots during the just concluded elections.
Such claims may be a bit far-fetched but there’s no denying that Hindi made a grand return as a political language this season.
Indeed, from a public relations perspective, it was remarkable to witness the influence of Hindi as the primary language of communication when shaping public opinion.
Be it Tamil Nadu or Kerala, West Bengal or Assam, Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) top-brass mostly chose Hindi for all of their statements and rally speeches.
Hindi emerged as the most popular language in media interviews as well. Whether it was Mr Modi, Amit Shah or Rajnath Singh, one rarely gave interviews in chaste English. Of course, all these leaders were more conversant in Hindi than the Queen’s language, but the way Hindi was used to effectively articulate their vision for the benefit of the electorate was remarkable.
It’s pretty apparent that, for political parties, the choice of language influenced the choice of media. For example, Mr Modi initially preferred to give interviews to journalists from the Hindi media. Later, when he did appear on English news channels, he continued to answer in Hindi during the interview. Even star anchors such as Arnab Goswami of Times Now had to interview him in Hindi. BJP general secretary, Amit Shah’s, interview with Barkha Dutt of NDTV too was conducted in Hindi.
Adopting Hindi, in my opinion, clearly helped these leaders to reach out to all segments of prospective voters without being hesitant at any point of time during the interview. I have no doubt whatsoever that some of these leaders do speak good English too but here, the strategy was to reach out to as much as people as possible.
But then, traditionally in India, the main slogan during Lok Sabha elections has always been in Hindi. Before Abki Baar, Modi Sakar climbed up the popularity charts Congress, in the past, had been pretty successful with slogans such as Garibi Hatao (during Prime Minister Indira Gandhi era) and Congress ka Haath, Aam Admi Ke Sath.
Unfortunately for Congress, the party failed to coin any such popular slogan that could be on the lips of every Indian during the 2014 elections.
In my view, while there were many factors that contributed to BJP’s win, the role of Hindi in shaping popular public opinion across the Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar cannot be denied.
With Narendra Modi now the occupant of the bungalow at 7 Race Course Road in New Delhi, one can expect a rise in popularity of regional languages. For Hindi, it may be said Achche Din Aane Wale Hain. Though this sentiment should not convert into a slogan such as Hindi, Hindu and Hindustan.
Siddharth Kumar is a Senior Account Manager with Adfactors PR Pvt. Ltd
Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal