The bindass lingo won’t fade soon

Take Mumbai’s word for it-Bambaiyya Hindi is “totally bindass”,never mind what Maharashtra Navnirman Sena did to establish Marathi’s supremacy.

Written by Alaka Sahani | Mumbai | Published:January 4, 2009 4:09 am

City’s lingua franca is and will remain ‘Bambaiyya Hindi’,which mirrors city’s cosmopolitan identity

Take Mumbai’s word for it-Bambaiyya Hindi is “totally bindass”,never mind what Maharashtra Navnirman Sena did to establish Marathi’s supremacy. Bambaiyya Hindi’s cool disposition probably stems from the fact that it’s entrenched in the city’s cosmopolitan identity,and the confidence that nothing can unseat it as Mumbai’s lingua franca.

With its array of interesting,amusing and street-smart terms,it makes conversation easy and delightful. Devoid of any pretension or pressure of purity,it has come up with expressions like beedu,item,lukkha and panvati. Though they are drawn from languages like Marathi,English,Urdu,Telugu,Gujarati,Parsi,Bengali and others,finding their equivalents in other tongues is difficult. This is what makes the language of the city’s commoners’ uncommon.

“Bambaiyya Hindi enjoys a creative space,not burdened with the notion of purity. It’s a very rich and ever-evolving language. This dynamism should be encouraged,” says professor Anjali Monteiro of Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

Wrapped in the story of Bambaiyya Hindi’s evolution is the history of the 200-year-old city’s formation and population. “The metropolis has been open to migrants from across the country and outside as well as to their languages,” she says,insisting that such multi-cultural ethos is what makes Bombay.

Agrees Kamala Ganesh of Mumbai University,“The city’s language is a very authentic representation of how it grew.”

With Hindi films like Ghulam and Munnabhai cashing in on Bambaiyya Hindi to bring out a delectable slice of Bombay,the language has also found patronage outside the island city. “Maybe it has something to do with the language being entertaining and very sound-based,” says Swanand Kirkire,lyricist of Lage Raho Munnabhai. Its wide acceptability lies in its lack of rigidity,says Kirkire.

Scholars feel the language should be celebrated,an idea Krsna Mehta and India Book House explored for the diary of 2009 as it highlighted Bambaiyya Hindi’s inherent humour.

Rita Kothari,a professor at Mudra Institute of Communications,Ahmedabad,too,vouches for its irreverent and comic tone. “It’s fun to slip into such a tone which exudes attitude,” she says.

The study of this dynamic language,akin to Mauritian Creole,has fascinated Kothari,who is researching on “Hinglish”. Though she is not sure whether this language should claim an official status,she is confident that Bambaiyya Hindi will continue to survive and evolve. Isn’t that true about the famed Mumbai spirit as well?

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