The Fundoo Funda

‘Funda’ is a Hindi word (or, more accurately, an Indian word, as it is also used in other Indian languages, including English), which is a short form of the English word fundamental. The same is the case with the word ‘fundoo’, except that is it an adjective derived from ‘funda’ according to Hindi derivational morphology. The adjective has two senses. One of these is the sense familiar to a select group of people, the kind who are educated in colleges like New Delhi’s St. Stephen’s and have a circle made up almost exclusively of people from a similar background. For this group of people, the word ‘fundoo’ means fundamentalist. And nothing else.

Thus, for them, ‘fundoo’ (the noun version) basically means a person from the Sangh Parivar. And since they (not the Sangh Parivaris) are mainly ‘secular’, it is a term of derision. Just like the other n-term they have for the Sangh Parivaris.

I first became familiar with this word when I entered an engineering college for my bachelor’s degree. In that college, the word was heavily used. It meant someone whose fundamentals (as in Thermodynamics or Theory of Machines) were very strong, i.e., who was very good at something. It could also be used with some metaphorical extension to mean high praise (with regard to anything) for someone or something. It might sound strange to many, but at that time I somehow thought that this word (and the word ‘funda’) were slang words only used in that particular college.

Later I found out that these two words are among the most heavily used words as far as the young (school or college) generation is concerned.

Being called fundoo can be a big complement, though the overuse of the term means that the complement could be highly diluted.

I didn’t become familiar (till much later) with the other sense — fundamentalist — of the word till I read a particular number of one of the most popular columns in the Indian press, written by Khushwant Singh. I had no idea that the word was also used in this sense. But what was more surprising, almost astonishing to me, was the fact that Khushwant Singh similarly seemed to have no idea that there was another sense in which this word was used.

By the way, I wrote ‘one of the most popular columns in the Indian press’ instead of ‘in the National’ or ‘in the English’ press because this particular column is syndicated by many Indian language newspapers and they publish a translation.

As I then read all kinds of magazines and newspapers etc., I found out that there were others like Khushwant Singh for whom too the word only meant one thing: fundamentalist. What was common among all these people was that they were from the select group that I mentioned in the beginning.

I have spent various periods of time in many educational institutions of India and have lived in many cities and towns and have kept my eyes and ears open, especially to language related things. Nowhere except in the writings of this group of people have I found anyone using the word ‘fundoo’ in the sense that they use. And as I said ealier, it is one of the most heavily used words and therefore I keep hearing it much too regularly.

I am aware that there might, in fact, be some other people outside this group who use the word in that rare sense. And I am not sure about the origin of the word either. It could very well be that the word was initially used in the first sense. But I have heard no one using it in that sense. Not a single person.

To repeat once more to make the point clear, the second sense of the word is used so heavily that I find it hard to believe that if you live in an Indian city or even a small town (and know either English or an Indian language), you could remain oblivious to the second sense of the word. But you could easily be unaware of the first sense because it is used so rarely. The only way this can happen is if that group of people has somehow cut itself off from the life around it and is not much in touch with it.

This cut off has to be fairly radical, because according to many yardsticks, I myself am quite cut off.

But I know the second sense. As well as the first. I knew them long before I started studying Linguistics or related fields.

Or perhaps they are words from two different languages, the first spoken by the top caste and the second by the lesser mortals.

हिन्दी ज़ेडनेट – नये अनुवाद (1)

तो आखिर मैंने हिन्दी ज़ेडनेट के लिए तीन और अनुवाद पूरे कर ही दिए। इतना समय लगने का एक कारण यह था (इसके अलावा कि मेरी उम्मीद के विपरीत और कोई अभी तक इस काम में शामिल होने के लिए आगे नहीं आया है) कि एक लेख काफ़ी लंबा था और उसमें दो कविताओं के उद्धरण थे, जिनमें से एक शायद दुनिया की सबसे अधिक पढ़ी गई कविताओं में से एक है।

उम्मीद है कविता अनुवाद के बाद भी कविता जैसी ही लगेगी।

नये अनुवाद ये हैं:

  • ग़ैर-टिकाऊ अविकास: नोम चॉम्स्की
  • कला, सच और राजनीति: हैरॉल्ड पिंटर
  • सभ्यताओं का टकराव: नोम चॉम्स्की

और हाँ, ज़ेडनेट की साइट पूरी तरह बदली जा रही है, परिणामतः हिन्दी ज़ेडनेट भी यहाँ से अब यहाँ आ गया है।

और यह भी कि कुल अनुवादों की संख्या अब एक दहाई यानी दो अंकों तक पहुंच गई है।

तीन अंकों तक अकेले पहुंचाना मुश्किल होगा, फिर भी…

हिन्दी में ज़ेडनेट

ZNet/ZMag पर एक बेहतर दुनिया के लिए कोशिश करने वाले लोगों के विचारों और उनकी गतिविधियों के बारे में लेख प्रकाशित होते हैं। हाल ही मैं मैंने ज़ेडनेट के हिन्दी संस्करण की शुरुआत की है। यह शुरुआत केवल पाँच लेखों के अनुवाद से की गई है, पर उम्मीद है और लोग भी साथ देंगे ताकि ज़ेडनेट की सर्वोत्तम सामग्री हिन्दी में उपलब्ध हो सके। आप भी इसमें सहयोग कर सकते हैं।

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