Hindi is the most commonly spoken language in India. It is the fifth most spoken language in the world with about 182 million native speakers in 1998. The script used in writing Hindi is Devanāgarī. 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; 8 million in Nepal; 20,000 in New Zealand; 30,000 in Germany.
Urdu, the official language of Pakistan, spoken by about 41 million in Pakistan and other countries, is essentially the same language Literature in Hindi languages (Hindi: हिन्दी साहित्य) includes literature in the various Central Zone Indo-Aryan languages which have writing systems. It is broadly classified into four prominent forms (styles) based on the date of production. They are; * Vir-Gathas (poems extolling brave warriors) – 11th–14th century * Bhakti era poems (devotional poems) – 14th–18th century * Riti or Srngar poems (poems of romance) – 18th–20th century * Adhunik literature (modern literature) – 20th century onwards The literature was produced in dialects such as Braj, Bundeli, Awadhi, Kannauji, Khariboli, Marwari, Angika, Vajjika, Maithili, Magahi and Bhojpuri.
From 20th century, works produced in Standard Hindi, a register of Hindustani, is sometimes regarded as the only basis of modern literature in Hindi. Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, is a standardised and sanskritised register of the Hindustani language (Hindi-Urdu) that is associated with the Hindu religion. Hindustani is the native language of people living in Delhi, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northeastern Madhya Pradesh, and parts of eastern Rajasthan, and Hindi is one of the official languages of India Hindi literature is broadly divided into four prominent forms or styles, being Bhakti (devotional – Kabir, Raskhan); Shringar (beauty – Keshav, Bihari); Veer-Gatha (extolling brave warriors); and Adhunik (modern).
Medieval Hindi literature is marked by the influence of Bhakti movement and the composition of long, epic poems. It was not written in the current dialect but in other Hindi languages, particularly in Avadhi and Braj Bhasha, but later also in Khariboli. During the British Raj, Hindustani became the prestige dialect. Hindustani with heavily Sanskritized vocabulary or Sahityik Hindi (Literary Hindi) was popularized by the writings of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Bhartendu Harishchandra and others. The rising numbers of newspapers and magazines made Hindustani popular among the educated people. Chandrakanta, written by Devaki Nandan Khatri, is considered the first authentic work of prose in modern Hindi.
The person who brought realism in the Hindi prose literature was Munshi Premchand, who is considered as the most revered figure in the world of Hindi fiction and progressive movement. The Dwivedi Yug (“Age of Dwivedi”) in Hindi literature lasted from 1900 to 1918. It is named after Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, who played a major role in establishing the Modern Hindi language in poetry and broadening the acceptable subjects of Hindi poetry from the traditional ones of religion and romantic love.
In the 20th century, Hindi literature saw a romantic upsurge. This is known as Chhayavaad (shadowism) and the literary figures belonging to this school are known as Chhayavaadi. Jaishankar Prasad, Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’, Mahadevi Varma and Sumitranandan Pant, are the four major Chhayavaadi poets. Uttar Adhunik is the post-modernist period of Hindi literature, marked by a questioning of early trends that copied the West as well as the excessive ornamentation of the Chhayavaadi movement, and by a return to simple language and natural themes.