Javo, Roko, Pandhra B: MTC Crew Pick up Hindi

Oopar Aavo ji (please come up),” the MTC conductor addresses a commuter, who was travelling on the footboard,surprising other passengers in the bus. As people on board turned their attention towards the khaki-clad crew member, the commuter smiled. This could be a usual scene in North Indian cities, but what surprised passengers was that they saw a conductor in Chennai conversing in Hindi on an MTC bus on Poonamallee High Road.

With a large influx of North Indians to Chennai to work in various construction and infrastructure projects (in addition to the crowd in IT and financial services), some conductors on bus routes frequented by migrants have been trying to learn Hindi. While a few have picked up Hindi words and numbers to assist the non-Tamil passengers, some are competent to address them with very little hiccups.

Saravanan, a conductor on 15B bus route (Broadway-CMBT) says he has improved Hindi by carefully listening to their conversations on the move. “I gradually picked up Hindi by communicating with them. I used to eagerly ask the meaning of words,” he said.


Despite having studied Hindi till Class 5 in school, Saravanan said he lost touch with the language. “As several people from North India travel between Central Railway Station and CMBT, I thought it would be better to know some words to communicate with them,” he explained.

Another crew member Jeevanandham, who works on the same route said he felt the need to learn a few words as he has had communicate with several North Indians for issuing tickets everyday. “Now, I know roko means ‘stop’, ‘Go’ stands for javo and Pandhra B refers to ‘15 B’ bus route. I picked up all these words only by listening to labourers,” he says.

Bus route number 570 (CMBT to Kelambakkam) is another route where Hindi has made inroads in the daily lives of MTC conductors. This use of Hindi by MTC crewmen is happening in the heartland of anti-Hindi agitations, thanks to a plethora of construction projects in and around Chennai, mushrooming eateries and lifestyle shops, in which people from North India are largely employed. “Most of the business outlets on OMR employ North Indians. When they travel by our buses, we find it difficult to understand their language and vice-versa. So, we manage with some useful English and a few Hindi words for interactions,” explains an MTC driver.

Thanks to My Nation for sharing this news Source : Indian Express

This entry was posted by Arun.

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