Renowned VastuShastri expert Khushdeep Bansal says that while Hindi was not his first language, his association with it goes way back. He says that it was his mentor who inspired him to learn Hindi.
“You will be surprised to know that I am not originally a Hindi speaker. I was born in Punjab. My early education was in Punjabi medium, and when I pursued engineering, it was in the 11th and 12th grades that I started studying English. However, during my engineering years, when I first met Shri. Kuppahalli Sitaramayya Sudarshan in Hyderabad and hearing him speak in Hindi, his speech had a significant impact on me. This would be around 1989-1990. Since then, I decided that I also wanted to learn Hindi. Because I was studying in Maharashtra, I began working on Hindi. My mentor, Dr. Chandragupt Varnekar, was fluent in Marathi, Sanskrit, and a mix of Sanskrit and Hindi. When we were in engineering college and had to take the GRE test to study abroad, we worked extensively on English, making flashcards to expand our vocabulary,” he says.
He adds, “I started working on Hindi in a similar way. Whenever I met Shri Sudarshanji and affectionately referred to him as ‘Baba’, I would show him how I had improved my Hindi. Personally, I believe that Hindi has the ability to convey expressions more smoothly and simply than other languages. You will see that even though our cinema in other languages is rich, Hindi cinema has its unique identity and charm. Now, all English films that come out are also released in Hindi because this language helps convey messages to more than 70% of the Indian population.”
He says that he worked hard to learn Hindi well. “As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t refine my Hindi, but I made an effort. In those efforts, I purchased Hindi translations of many books that were originally published in English. Now, I prefer to read in Hindi. So, I started with Hindi poetry. I have read Atal Ji’s poems and consider Shri Hazari Prasad Dwivedi as my guru, who created so much literature. I learned Hindi from his work, particularly those about the Nath Sampradaya and Sant Kabir, which contain the jewels of our spiritual words. I still strive to get closer to Hindi, to pronounce it correctly because my Punjabi accent still shows through. But I feel great when I express myself in Hindi. It’s good to hear Hindi. Now, my endeavour will be to keep my conversations in Hindi as much as possible, and you might be even more surprised to know that a French professor came to India for some research work in Vastu Shastra. Her English was not very good, and she asked if I could provide some literature in English. At that time, we didn’t even have that. Then, when she returned three years later and was sitting in the Rickshaw, I said to her again, ‘Catherine, science still doesn’t have any literature in English’. I have learned Hindi now. So, we have so much to share with the world as a global gurus. I have complete faith that the number of Hindi lovers is growing rapidly worldwide. It’s natural that the number of Hindi speakers in our own country is decreasing to some extent. I hope that our Hindi literature and poetry will continue to shine day by day, enhancing our stage and cinema, and helping it progress further,” he says.