Hindi (हिन्दी) is a language spoken in most states in northern and central India. It is an Indo-European language, of the Indo-Iranian subfamily. It evolved from the Middle Indo-Aryan prakrit languages of the middle ages, and indirectly, from Sanskrit. Hindi derives a lot of its higher vocabulary from Sanskrit. Due to Muslim influence in northern India, there are also a number of Persian and Turkish loanwords.
Linguists think of Hindi and Urdu as the same language, the difference being that Hindi is written in Devanagari and draws vocabulary from Sanskrit, while Urdu is written in Arabic script and draws on Persian. The separation is largely a political one; before the partition of India into India and Pakistan, spoken Hindi and Urdu were considered the same language, Hindustani. Since partition, Standard Hindi has developed by replacing many words of Persian origin with Sanskrit words. Hindi and Urdu presently have four standard literary forms: Standard Hindi, Urdu, Dakkhini (Dakhini), and Rehkta. Dakhini is a dialect of Urdu from the Deccan region of south-central India, chiefly from Hyderabad, that uses fewer Persian words. Rehkta is a form of Urdu used chiefly for poetry.
After Chinese, Hindi is the second most spoken language in the world. About 500 million people speak Hindi, in India and abroad, and the total number of people who can understand the language may be 800 million. A 1997 survey found that 66% of all Indians can speak Hindi, and 77% of the Indians regard Hindi as 'one language across the nation'. More than 180 million people in India regard Hindi as their mother tongue. Another 300 million use it as second language.
Outside of India, Hindi speakers are 100,000 in USA; 685,170 in Mauritius; 890,292 in South Africa; 232,760 in Yemen; 147,000 in Uganda; 5,000 in Singapore; 20,000 in New Zealand; 30,000 in Germany. Urdu, the official language of Pakistan, is spoken by about 41 million in Pakistan and other countries. Hindi became one of the official languages of India on January 26, 1965 and it is a minority language in a number of countries, including Fiji, Mauritius, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and United Arab Emirates.
Hindi is generally classified in the Central Zone of the Indo-Aryan languages. Khadiboli, the dialect spoken in Western Uttar Pradesh, east of Delhi is the basis for the language used by the government and taught in schools. Hindi is the predominant language in the states and territories of Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, as well as the cities of Mumbai and Hyderabad. Is not easy to delimit the borders of the Hindi speaking region. A number of spoken languages are very closely related to Hindi, and may be considered dialects, including Bambaiya Hindi, Bhaya, Braj, Braj Bhasha, Bundeli, Chamari, Ghera, Gowli, Haryanvi, Kanauji, and others. Some of the East-Central Zone languages, including Awadhi (Avadhi), Bagheli, Chhattisgarhi and Dhanwar, and Rajasthani languages, including Marwari, are also widely considered to be dialects of Hindi. There has been considerable controversy on the status of Punjabi and the Bihari languages, including Maithili, Bhojpuri, and Magadhi.
Hindi's popularity has been helped by Bollywood, the Hindi film industry. These movies have an international appeal and now they have broken into the Western markets as well. The beginnings of Hindi literature go back to the Prakrits that are a part of the classical Sanskrit plays. Tulasidas's Ramacharitamanas attained wide popularity. Modern masters include Sumitra Nandan Pant, Maithili Sharan Gupta, Mahadevi Varma, Ajneya.