There are nearly 800 million speakers of Hindi, which is spoken in India and among the Indian diaspora. Salman Rushdie, the noted author of Satanic Verses and Midnight's Children, was born in India and speaks Hindi fluently. Munshi Premchand wrote many short stories in Hindi and Urdu during the early twentieth century. Famous Bengali director Satyajit Ray directed film versions Premchand's short stories "Salvation" and "The Chess Players." Shah Rukh Khan, a popular figure in the contemporary Hindi speaking world, is a prominent Bollywood actor, producer, and was recently the host of the game show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Spoken Urdu and spoken Hindi are similar to the point of being mutually intelligible. Hindi draws many word roots from Sanskrit and uses the Devanagari script, the same script in which Sanskrit is written. First, second, and third year Hindi language courses are offered each year.
It is possible to major in Asian Cultures and Languages with a Hindi specialization or minor in Hindi.