Center for South Asian Studies | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Study Hindi-Urdu at UH!

Why study South Asia?

South Asia is one of the most diverse regions in the world. It includes India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. The region embraces ancient civilizations and modern technology, tall Himalayas and tropical beaches, people of most world religions, more than 400 languages, and literature, music, art, dance, philosophy, and food that have evolved for centuries. Whether you became interested in South Asia through yoga, Bollywood, or chicken curry, the more you learn about it, the more it amazes you, the more it challenges you.

Why study Hindi-Urdu?

  • Hindi and Urdu have two bodies and one mind!
  • Hindi derives from Sanskrit, uses Sanskrit (Devanagari) script, and relies on Sanskrit vocabulary; Urdu uses Persian (Nastaliq) script and is influenced by Persian-Arabic vocabulary.
  • Yet the two are completely mutually intelligible in everyday spoken usage, linguistically inseparable, and are in fact one language in structure and grammar.
  • So Hindi-Urdu as one opens doors towards South Asia, South-East Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East and embodies their cultural and linguistic symbiosis.
  • Hindi-Urdu is the third most commonly spoken language in the world today.
  • As South Asia is becoming increasingly influential on the global political, economic, and cultural scene, Hindi-Urdu proficiency is an extraordinary asset to anyone who is interested in the region for business, research, or personal reasons.
  • Even though there are numerous languages spoken in South Asia, Hindi-Urdu proves to be a common platform for effective communication.
  • It grants access to the culture and rapport with the people in a more meaningful way than the practical use of English can provide.
  • If you are studying  layers of South Asian history and society, Hinduism or Islam, incredibly rich literature and poetry, complex linguistics, or if you simply love watching Bollywood films, eating Indian food, and want to travel there one day, Hindi-Urdu is beneficial and incredible fun!

Why at UH?

  • Dr. Sai Bhatawadekar uses her own “Contextual, Cultural, and Creative” curriculum design.
  • Chapters and segments, such as “Cuisine and Cooking,” “Festivals and Ceremonies,” “Love and Bollywood,” “Travel and Tourism,” “Education and Employment,” etc. provide a coherent way to integrally tie together language and culture.
  • Bollywood inspired creative writing, directing, recitals, and performances are used at all levels as an incredibly effective and joyous tool for learning and retaining language and for connecting with the South Asian culture and community.
  • Dr. Bhatawadekar makes her curriculum flexible to students’ learning needs, cultural curiosity, and research interests.
  • Her own extensive research and practice in language pedagogy, film studies, East-West religion and philosophy, and music and theater contributes to the language learning experience.
  • 1 credit hour Urdu writing course is offered simultaneously yet separately from Hindi for interested students.
  • UH is committed to the Asia-Pacific region and to less commonly taught languages.
  • South Asian Studies are expanding in various departments across UH, including History, Religion, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Geography, Urban Planning, Music, Theater and Dance, and Business etc. The Center for South Asian Studies is committed to the cause.
  • Various scholarships, grants, and awards are available for students to study South Asia here and to travel to India to study and conduct research.
  • UH, the East-West Center, and Honolulu in general provides a closely-knit, friendly, and enthusiastic South Asian community.

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