course
Elementary Hindi-Urdu I

Jan 2019

He's one of my favorite professors, and I truly enjoyed his course!! He is so helpful, especially when you show you're making an effort, and attend his office hours. He really wants his students to do well, thus you should take advantage of that. He's not a harsh grader and if you try, you will do well. He also posts all of the class documents online, so you can look ahead or review what we learned. Aftab makes the class interesting and shows songs and videos to help us understand Hindi.

Jul 2016

I took both 1 & 2 sessions of Hindi-Urdu in Summer with Aftab-ji, and I have to be very honest: HE IS THE BEST PERSON AT COLUMBIA!!! Take his class! You won't regret! He is super patient and nice and cares so much for his students. He is also passionate about Urdu poetry and shares many beautiful verses with his students. Nothing is easy A at Columbia but Aftab is definitely the person who really wants to give you an A! Just do the homework and get some preparation before the test, he even gives you plenty of hints if you forget anything. What else could you ask? Overall, I've learnt so much not only about the beauty of the language but also the culture and literature etc. Just take this person's class and I promise you that it would be the best decision you make at Columbia!

Apr 2016

Amazing professor who is invested in his students, taking Hindi with him will be the best decision you make with languages.

Jan 2014

Professor Aftab is the best professor I have had at Columbia. Take his class! He truly cares about teaching the language than the whole grading curve crap. His grades according to how much work you put in and how much you improve which is very nice of him because learning a language is different for everyone. If you attend his office hours, it shows him that you care which in return boosts your grade. Overall if you really want to learn urdu and care about the language/culture it is pretty easy to get a goof grade in his class.

Dec 2012

Aftab ji is awesome! He's a good teacher, though in a fairly subtle, quiet way - I feel like he always wants to make you feel you've arrived at it yourself rather than being taught, which is lovely and takes some pressure off. He's got a good sense of humor and will fairly frequently mix it up with Hindi songs or poems or his own reading comprehensions, so classes are fun. He always grades on time and is extremely happy to explain anything in his own time if there's something you don't understand. He's also just a great person and I hope I can take another class with him again.

Nov 2011

I took Elementary Hindi-Urdu with Dalpat this semester and moved my schedule around so I could take one of his sections of Elementary II next semester. He is absolutely wonderful. His class is relatively fast-paced, which I enjoyed -- I felt like he covered a lot in the first semester, and I already feel so much more confident about my Hindi than I did at the beginning. He tries to get us speaking as much as possible, which is great. When it comes to his explanations of grammatical concepts, it's clear that he's not a native English speaker, but he still does a decent job explaining and he really encourages us to ask questions if we don't understand something. He is very approachable. Plus, he is possibly the cutest person alive.

May 2010

Rakesh Ranjan is a veteran Hindi teacher who came to Columbia recently from Emory University. He is the head of the Hindi-Urdu program here. You might not be able to tell from looking at him, and he wouldn't brag, but he's a badass who is whipping the Hindi-Urdu program here into shape. He is a sweet and friendly man whose approach to teaching the language is excellent. The course itself is very challenging, and I would not recommend taking Hindi for your language requirement unless you are unusually interested in the language. For an easy-to-learn language for native English speakers, try Spanish, Persian, or German. If you are ready to dedicate five hours a week (an hour and fifteen minutes per day) and countless hours of homework to your study in addition to everything else in your course load, Rakesh ji is an excellent choice for instructor. He's slow, methodical, and he knows what he's doing. He's easily available outside of class. You will get out everything you put into this class, and he will meet you more than half way. If you have experience in Hindi or other Indian languages, his expectations will be higher than if you have no experience. My only gripe is that, as a native speaker, he sometimes has trouble understanding the questions students ask about grammar. Since a native speaker never has to learn grammatical rules in the same way, grammar questions aren't always as clear to them. However, Rakesh's experience and patience makes up for this by far. If you're going to study Hindi, start with Professor Ranjan. Protip: if you're interested in intensive summer study of Hindi or Urdu, look up the Critical Language Scholarship. Rakesh ji has been part of the Hindi program in Jaipur for many years, and if you're a good student, his recommendation would be very helpful in earning the scholarship.

Jan 2010

Excellent professor! She is very sweet and genuinely interested in each student's welfare; the small number of students in the class allows her to really get to know you personally and your strengths and weaknesses as a student, which she accommodates in class. She has a background in French so her familiarity with linguistic intricacies and grammar makes her explanations, typically, clear. When they aren't, feel free to ask her to re-explain - she'll try until you understand. The class is structured around concise introductions of that day's grammar and vocabulary followed by a significant number of practice exercises which typically mean, if you focus in class, you will learn most of the material pretty thoroughly without having to put in a lot of outside work. When you aren't doing grammar exercises, you will most likely be having a very tangential conversation about some element of Indian culture or piece of history or watching YouTube clips of famous Bollywood songs.

Dec 2009

Suman ji is incredibly nice and brightened my morning each day. She tries to make Hindi fun with songs from Bollywood movies and food, and I have to say she succeeds in that regard. She wasn't the best at explaining the intricacies of grammar, but she was absolutely a capable teacher and she's really good at making sure everyone in the class is catching on to things. She makes it very easy to review for quizzes, which covered vocabulary, grammar, translation, etc. I don't know about the rest of the options out there, but I say Suman is a good pick.

Feb 2008

This is a fantastic class, or it was with Tyler at least. You learn the language at a great pace and should be able to read and write perfectly by the end of the semester. You learn something new almost every period. Tyler was one of my favourite Professors, he is young, energetic, clearly passionate about the language, good-humoured and very intelligent. He will take time out to talk about big issues, what's going on on campus (ie at Ahmadinejad time) because he is passionate about what is happening.

Nov 2007

Tyler is awesome, he's new to MEALAC and didn't stick to the syllabus of the class but he is definitely the better pick for Hindi teachers. Like other young professors he is energetic, interesting, and ready to help with any problems and questions. There's daily homework which is crucial to a good grade. I did my homework in 15 minutes and got a terrible homework grade, it's better to spend 40min-an hour on homework. Several oral and written quizzes which are manageable and easy to get a B/B+ on. The final is very important and requires a good amount of studying. He also takes into account a persons experience with the language and looks for the improvement, so non Indian and non native speakers are not at any disadvantage. Overall he is an amazing person and has been my best professor this semester.

Dec 2005

I have never met anyone talk more about being a good teacher without ever really teaching anything. However, Professor Sangar is an extremely nice lady. She does seem to genuinely care about her students which is nice. She even brought in food for us a few times. This doesn't get you very far when you're trying to learn Hindi though. We only really went through the workbook about 2/5 hours per week with the rest of the time filled with useless conversation about how accomplished she is, how much people love her, and general life lessons for us to follow. During class it seems funny, but when you're trying to do the homework and studying for the quizzes you'll remember that you were actually supposed to learn Hindi. The 2 hours that are spent going throught he workbook aren't really even too helpful. You read a conversation once and then you wait for the rest of the class to read the same conversation. If you already know Hindi and are just taking the class to learn to write, the class is fine but a bore, but if you want to learn to speak the language: STAY AWAY. Very little is learned about Hindi, but a lot is learned about the greatness and the widespread love the world has for Professor Sangar. I was unaware of this, but apparently she is an Indian icon, or so her stories go. The only reason I learned anything in that class were the weekly TA sessions with Andrea. She was wonderful at explaining things and very helpful. I learned more with her in 1 hour than I did in a week with Professor Sangar. If you want to learn Hindi, look for another professor.

Apr 2004

Anjana-ji is very friendly and approachable, and she cares a lot about her students... she is constantly arranging special activities and trips, cooking homemade indian food, and spends considerable amounts of time imparting advice and general life lessons. She is a very entertaining, funny, sweet woman, who misses no opportunity to burst into song... class is never boring with anjana-ji. However, you also don't learn very much. Her handwriting is practically illegible, and her english poor enough to cause considerable communication problems (eg she NEVER understands the questions people ask her in class). Very little emphasis is put on speaking, so don't expect to be able to carry on even the most basic conversation unless you have previous exposure to the language. Which brings us to the final point-- Anjana-ji definitely gears the course towards the students of South Asian descent. This can be a real problem in many ways, but most significantly, it segregates the class. Non-indians end up feeling very isolated, marginalized, and unwelcome. Although I have great affection for Anjana-ji, I would have to recommend that students wanting to learn Hindi enroll in one of the other sections.