Migrant workers in Kerala
Migrant workers in KeralaReuters

Even though Hindi is widely used in India, many in the South Indian state Kerala have been hesitant about learning the language as it was not "mandatory" for their survival. However, over the years, the situation changed and knowing Hindi has become a necessity given the influx of migrants from eastern and northern states.

According to an estimate, there are over 25 lakh migrants living in Kerala, which has a population of 3.34 crore as per the 2011 census.

With nearly 7.5 per cent of the population being migrants, it has become a necessity for the Malayalam speaking people to learn Hindi, as it is the most widely used language by the people who have migrated from states like Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha.

As a result, from policemen to bus conductors and from housewives to greengrocers, the local people are left with no other option but to learn at least a little Hindi. Even many migrants, particularly those who plan to stay longer, pick up the local language.

The migration of workers from other states to Kerala has also boosted the business of Bollywood films in the state, making it a big market for Hindi movies. And, the tremendous box office records of films like "Chennai Express", "Kick", "Bang Bang" and many others is enough to prove the growing demand for Hindi movies in the state.

"I am basically from West Bengal and am settled in Kerala for the past three years. I watch all the Bollywood movies releasing in the theatres next to my workplace. Since I can also understand Malayalam, I go and watch Malayalam films, especially Mohanlal's and Mammootty's," Harish, a migrant told IBTimes India.

"I came to Kerala from Odisha in 2006 and I have been working in a farm in Ernakulam for the past 9 years. Now I am fluent in Malayalam, even though some words are a little difficult for me to pronounce. Even my employers talk 'thoda thoda' Hindi," said Aakash, another migrant settled in Kerala.