सेवा, Independence Day, two movies

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Today India Celebrates its Independence Day.  There are several celebrations happening around the world.  The ISpeakHindi.com crew will be attending one in Houston.  We have created a few shirts using the iron on paper.  At some point we will have some official ISpeakHindi.com T-shirts, but this should give you some ideas of what we have been thinking:

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क्या आप हिंदी सीख रहे हैं?  (kyaa aap hin-dii siik ra-he hain) Are you learning Hindi?

There is a movie that is also related to Independence Day and to all of our ISpeakHindi.com listeners:  Rang De Basanti

One interesting aspect of the movie from a Hindi learner standpoint is to see how convincingly  the main character, Sue, speaks Hindi.   I believe that you might find it encouraging.  Remember though that each conversation was planned ahead and set ahead of the time.  These lines were intensely studied and memorized ahead of time.  This is a technique that is useful for us Hindi learners as well.  It helps to plan out the conversations we want to have, and to master those words and sentences ahead of time.

The movie starts out with Sue a documentary film on Indian freedom fighters covered in her grandfather’s diary.   After all the researching the film and studying Hindi for 2 years, the project is cancelled.  Sue does not let this stop her and goes to India herself and films the documentary.  In the process she recruits a set of young people to play the roles of these freedom fighters, and in the process they learn about their history.  The young people realize the sacrifice of a previous generation and are moved to make a contribution in improving India today by doing their part to fight corruption and make a positive change.

In an odd sort of way, this relates to a part of the American film I watched last night, Eat Pray Love.   Part of the movie takes place in India in an ashram.  It is there that the Hindi word, सेवा is mentioned.  सेवा is the connection (the only connection) that I see between Rang De Basanti and Eat Pray Love.  Do you know what it means?

In the movie सेवा is translated as something like “selfless service”, and is used to refer to the work that every person at the ashram is required to perform.  In Dr. Snell’s dictionary, we find that it is a feminine noun that means service.  (Don’t let the आ ending trick you into thinking it is masculine. )  And the Oxford Hindi-English dictionary gives a little longer definition: 1) Service, 2. Attendance (on); care (of or for a person or an animal); tending.  3.  employment, post.  4.  worship (as of the feet of a deity); homage.  5. care (of an object: as plants, or the hair).  6.  a church service.  7. an administrative or similar service.  8. resort (to): following or taking (a recourse of medicine, or a drug).

सेवा करना – to serve; to attend (on); to worship; to look after.  (and there is more in the entry which is not reproduced here)

Take a few moments to search the internet for this word and find some examples.  Which definition best fits that usage?  Come back to ISpeakHindi.com and create a comment on this post about it.

Are you using Richard Delacy’s book, Elementary Hindi?  If you are, then check out this wiki page where we are working to organize the content ISpeakHindi.com to help you as you follow the book:


And one of the Hindi learners on our site has created a group on the site for those using the book.  Come join it an share your experiences:



I would like to remind our listeners about two events coming up.  One in the Houston area and another in the Dallas area for people learning Hindi.   If you are in the area, then you should definitely sign up.


August Lunch and Learn in Houston

Date: August 21, 2010
Time:  Lunch & informal conversation from 1-2
          Hindi learning activities from 2-5
Place:  Kabab Kahani (http://www.KababKahani.com)
            21542 Tomball Parkway #2;
            Houston, TX 77070          

Topic:  Hindi Conversation with activities and learning for all levels
Cost: $30/person includes lunch, learning materials & activities


We are also planning a similar event in the Dallas area for September 4, 2010.

Date: September 4, 2010
Time:  Lunch & informal conversation from 1:30-3
          Hindi learning activities from 3-5
Place:  Flavors Indian Restaurant (http://www.indianflavors.net/)
           4101 Beltline Rd.
           Addison, TX 75001
Topic:  Hindi Conversation with activities and learning for all levels
Cost: $30/person includes lunch, learning materials & activities


Have a question about Hindi? Click here to ask it

Looking for something more basic? Why not try our "50 Hindi Words to Get You Started" Lesson?
Looking for something else? Check out our Hindi/English Dictionary. Learn Hindi
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About Nathan

Started ISpeakHindi.com in June 2007. Continue to work on ISpeakHindi.com to learn Hindi myself and to help others want to learn it. Nathan Price is the sole owner of ISpeakHindi.com.