Hindi for professionals
Considering India's consistent year-over-year economic growth (7% per year since 2014 and not a single down-year this century), I was surprised when asking Indian colleagues (based in and outside of India) about the importance of learning Hindi in this global economy: I'm consistently told that it is not important, that English is the language for the working professional given British trade and later imperialism for hundreds of years—that for the student of medicine, engineering, or law, courses are already only taught in English. And yet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech following his election in 2014 was delivered in Hindi. From an outsider's perspective, there seems to be a growing patriotism correlating with economic maturity. While some might say Chinese is the most important language to speak besides English today, I have the impression that Hindi could next be that language. So, I am requesting from the community more particular reasons to learn Hindi. I would prefer reasons beyond the following (adapted from this list):
- you will be able to speak with X million people.
- you can learn more about cultures that speak ____.
- you can read literature written in ____.
- you can travel to places that speak ____.
- you can study in places that speak ____.
- you can work in or with places that speak ____.
- you will understand your own language better.
- it's fun!
- it will help your career!
These reasons are generic and apply to nearly any language. I'm concerned about more specific reasons that have direct impact in my competitiveness in the global economy. The reasons may be industry-specific, and that's fine—as long as it is unique to Hindi. Here are some sample reasons for learning other languages:
If I work in the oil and gas industry, Dutch may be helpful because:
- The Netherlands have an estimated 25% of natural gas reserves in the EU
- If I work with electric vehicle technology or mining, Spanish may be helpful because Chile and Argentina have the second and third largest lithium mining production in the world
Any sources associated with your answers would be appreciated.
If you work in the Education industry(especially online), you stand to gain tremendously as there are lots of people in India willing to learn but who don't understand English very well.
Additionally , if you work in the Information Technology Industry, knowledge of Hindi(although most of them know English) will help in bridging the cultural divide between you and your Indian colleagues considering India has a huge IT base.
I'm not sure where you're headed with this. You brush off people telling you there is not much need to know Hindi professionally, but then you ask us to give you reasons to become convinced it is useful professionally? The people who told you there is not much reason -- aside from niche reasons, and the ones you listed -- were right. Modi giving his speeches in Hindi has nothing to do with anything besides him being a Hindu Nationalist and like-minded people in the Lok Sabha etc will shout at him "speak Hindi" if he doesn't. Speaking Hindi does not make you more patriotic in a country where where a wider range of people know English.
Take a look at the Hindi Urdu flagship program program at University of Texas.
Students and faculty members involved in the program are providing answers to your questions, not by filling in points on a list, but by directing their careers towards practical and meaningful bilingual options. These folks are immersed in learning and utilizing Hindi/Urdu beyond casual tourist or traditional academic applications.
Check out Resources, About, Students & Alumni, on and on.
I am not sure about the global economy, but Hindi-Urdu is essential for understanding Indian culture in more depth. It would be most useful in India, especially when working among middle-class and rural Indians. In fact, only a small proportion of the Indian population speaks English proficiently (the rich elite). There are of course many, many languages spoken in India, but Hindi has the most speakers and is the most widely spoken after English. If you are interested in Indian culture, religion, food, etc., it is a must. If you are doing business in a global context, however, you will most likely use English since Indians may come from Hindi-Urdu, Bengali, or Tamil speaking regions. Lastly, it is important to note that Mandarin and Hindi have a very large number of speakers but it is highly unlikely that they will become global languages like the European languages. Far more speakers of those languages are learning English than the other way around.