Hindi: One and One Make Eleven

International Languages Department, Central Library,

What is one takeaway one? Can the answer be expressed in Roman numerals? As a number, the concept of zero has come to us by way of Arabic, all the way from India. In India, the preferred official language is Hindi (हिन्दी), which belongs to the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. Hindi is a first language for nearly 425 million people and a second language for 120 million more. Significant Hindi communities are also found in Bangladesh, Mauritius, South Africa, Uganda, and Yemen, as well as the United Kingdom and the United States. Literary Hindi, written in Devanagari script, has been strongly influenced by Sanskrit. It is written from left to right and is phonetic—pronounced as it is written. Some words of Hindi, going back to Sanskrit origins, have found their way to English, such as avatar, jungle, karma, and yoga. What is one and one? Here is the answer in Hindi, in the form of a proverb:

एक् और एक् ग्यारह् हॊते है
Transliteration: ek aur ek gyarah hote hei
Literal: One and one make eleven.
Meaning: Unity is strength.