Hindi is the fourth most widely spoken language in the world, intelligible in North India and Pakistan and in the many South Asian diaspora communities around the world. Although many English-speakers from the West can get by in South Asia without knowledge of Hindi that knowledge provides direct access to the everyday lives of millions of people. For some South Asian people English may be a medium for commerce or bureaucratic function; it is not the language of their feelings. Hindi, on the other hand, is the language the rickshaw-wallah uses on the street, the mother uses for lullabies to her infant, and the Bombay film star uses to banter with her beloved. Hindi expresses eight hundred years of links to nature and culture in South Asia-through the poetry of Kabir, the devotional songs of Sur Das, the activist fiction of Premchand, the spiritual modernity of Nirala. Hindi is the language for those who want to dip their hands in the life which flows through North India.
At the same time Hindi is entering a new phase of global significance. Digital media make Indian popular culture available in Africa and the Middle East, in Europe and North America. Multi-national corporations recognize the need for addressing the large South Asian market in its own language. And most importantly, the search for a human future shines the light again on Indian experiments in diversity and non-violence.
A direct descendant of Sanskrit through Prakrit and Apabhramsha, Hindi has been influenced and enriched by Dravidian, Turkish, Farsi, Arabic, Portugese and English. Hindi is a very expressive and emotional language boasting a strong tradition of poetry, short stories, philosophical treatises, critical essays, novels and songs. It also ranks as one of the easiest and most logical languages to read, write, and pronounce.