Venice to Varanasi: Meet the Italian who is in love with Hindi
“ Aap kya lengi?” That question in shuddh Hindi from a bearded Venetian makes me wonder if I’ve downed too many glasses of prosecco, the sparkling local wine. But no, I’ve actually managed to bump into a Hindi-speaking Italian who rattles off words like sandarbh and vyakaran with total ease, and a Banarasi accent.
一个留着大胡子的威尼斯人用印度语问道:“Aap kya lengi?”，我还以为自己喝多听错了。实际上没有听错，我真的遇到过一个讲印地语的意大利人，他能脱口说出像sandarbh和vyakaran这样的词，还带贝拿勒斯口音。
The beard and the Banarasi aside, one instantly thinks of our Italian bahu Sonia Gandhi who, in dentally, also belongs to a contrada (hamlet) in the Veneto region. But unlike Sonia Maino’s love affair that started in Cambridge, Marco Zolli’s fascination for India was sparked off by a Hindi course he did in a Venetian university.
“It wasn’t yoga or spirituality that drew me like other foreigners. I was just a 17-year-old who wanted to expand his world view. And to understand a culture, one has to learn its language,” says the 44-year-old.
So at the age of 20, he headed to a language school in the hill station of Landour, Mussoorie for a three-month course. “Instead of ing with the other foreign students, I spoke and played with the local kids. In those three months, I fell crazily in love with this rich and complex language.” He did go back to Venice to finish his PhD thesis on a Bhisham Sahni novel but then kept returning to India. Soon, he got an offer to teach Italian at Delhi University.
20岁的时候，他前往位于Mussoorie Landour山区避暑小镇的语言学校学习了三个月的课程。“我没有参加和其他外国学生的聚会，而是和当地的孩子们聊天、玩耍。在这三个月里，我疯狂地爱上了这门丰富而复杂的语言。他回到威尼斯，完成了关于Bhisham Sahni小说的博士论文，但之后又回到印度。不久，他找到了一份在德里大学教意大利语的工作。
“The funny thing is that my Indian colleagues taught in English and I taught in Hindi.”
Now, Zolli is a consultant who helps Italian firms understand the cultural nuances of doing business in India as well as running a Hindi school in Varanasi. “It’s a resi ntial school with a focus on bolchal. People who work at the school speak Hindi, and some of them also a little Italian but there’s no English.” Students range from movie directors, journalists and even the occasional traveler. Meanwhile, he shuttles between Venice and Varanasi, with even his four-year-old daughter accompanying him so that she gets acquainted with the country early. “My wife also speaks Hindi. I don’t think I could have got married to someone who didn’t!
What about his own struggles with learning Hindi? “The zing thing about Hindi is its vocabulary which borrows from so many other languages like Urdu, Sanskrit and English. But it was really frustrating at first,” he says，recounting how he went in search of a ‘ tapak’ in Mussoorie when he felt chilly.
As for Banaras, he describes it as “extra Bharat”. “Their zest for life is unique from the way they do masti to the way they grieve.” But isn’t he bothered by the dirt and the congestion? “You can find in India what is inside you. If there is gandagi inside in you, that’s what you’ll see.”
For a moment i taught Mrs. Sonia Gandhi ...
But still She should get inspire from this Guy.
For a moment I thought this was going to be a revelation about the Sainted Sonja! Alas, she still continues to read from a Romanticized script, with no real love for any Indian language. Just Indian money, that is all she yearns for.
amrish harekal • 4 hours ago
Now he will procm to be a expert in Hindi and Hinduism. This has been the case with many foreigners. US and European human departments in universities are full of books degrading to India and Hinduism.
amrish harekal • 10 hours ago
She is dumb and egoist, after spending so many years in India, she is unable to speak in Hindi.
amrish harekal • 7 hours ago
I have met many foreigner speaking Hindi many years ago. I met American learning Tabla in Varanasi. He had shaved his head and looked like a Hindu "SHishya" but he was American caucasian. It was many many years ago. This reporter can meet many foreigners in speaking Hindi and living like a true Hindu wearing Dhoti, Kurta with Tilak.
Rohini Veliyyil • New Delhi • 4 hours ago
What''s so great about reading Hindi? Can u read bangla?
Dilbag Rai • Chandigarh • 9 hours ago
Hats off to Italian from Venus to have love for Hindi
asnani_rajesh Asnani • 50 mins ago
Hindi has become synonymous with India and the Indian subcontinent. It has become the de facto national language of India besides becoming more and more loved internationally especially with the popularity of Bollywood. Many Indians are at least trilingual with English as their international language and Hindi as their national language besides speaking their mother tongues.
RCH • 1 hour ago
It is only us Desis who disrespect our own rich Desi langs and have surrendered lock stock and barrel to a foreign tongue called English.. which is a reminder of our sl very to Britain..
Yash Parmar • 2 hours ago
The catching sentence in the whole article was that his collegue from India taught Italian using english language while an italian taught in Hindi. Ita not because his indian collegues didnt know hindi but they are ashamed of using hindi. The hate towards hindi language is cultivated from childhood especially
Pappu Pass or Fail • 2 hours ago
before HE..India is seen SHE not for Hindi luv but Dynasty power hungry..LOVE
NSNS Shen • New York • 3 hours ago
What a difference between this Italian man and that Italian woman! Alas, if only she would learn a few things from him.
ChoukidarBindaasNeha • New Delhi • 4 hours ago
He is lucky that ogling indian males have not targeted his family members or maybe he is dumb enough not to notice
Basant Giri • 5 hours ago
Language and culture has fragrance of its native region. We should appreciate efforts of this Italian.
Rashtra premi • Rashtra premi • Dehli • 7 hours ago
Well done sir!! Those Indians who are ashamed to speak in Hindi or their mother tongue which it may be, shd learn something here....Hindi is beautiful
Milton Mathews • 7 hours ago
Its News when an Italian speaks Hindi, when will it be News when an Indian speaks Italian?
Deb Chatterjee • Location • 8 hours ago
It is the attitude which matters when learning a new language.
Rahul Rahul • 9 hours ago
These are Mediterranean s,they are not even white white people,they are a sort of colored like North north Indians,same BREED .and these people are most selfish people on planet Earth ,beware,Italians most selfish people on planet earth.
Jai Ho • India • 10 hours ago
I wish "our imported Italians" had liked Hindi and Hindus.
AROP • 10 hours ago
Pity is, even Hindi is taught in English in India. Trend must change.
Vijay Banga • new delhi • 10 hours ago
People forget India''s own Sonia speaks flawless Hindi all day, you need not look for examples