ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Impulsive Imposition: Language and Politics of Majoritarianism in India

The declaration of making Bengali and Malayalam languages compulsory in state-run schools in West Bengal and Kerala has been seen as a step to promote regional languages in India. This article argues that these are reactionary steps to the centre's rigorous policy of promoting Hindi along with the larger agenda of negating federal principles. Such policies threaten the diversity and federalism of India. The states' fear of the central government's ideology of monopolising faith, education, and language will adversely affect the Indian political system, which is based on pluralism and accommodation. The policies of the centre as well as states should be viewed with precaution as they further advance the politics of majoritarianism.

Endangered Languages: Some Concerns

A recent UNESCO report indicates that India has the largest number of endangered languages in the world. A matter of concern, besides the absolute numbers, is the distribution of these endangered languages across number of speakers. The languages under threat include both scheduled, non-scheduled as well as official languages of some of the states. Policies for protecting and promoting the entire range of endangered languages are needed if the linguistic diversity of India is to be preserved.

Linguistic Diversity and Disparate Regional Growth

Disparate regional growth in India has seen economically faster growing "minority" cultural groups demanding a change in the horizontal devolution formula instituted in the federal system. This has created the possibility of friction between majority and minority cultural groups in the union of states. A new multicultural approach towards federalism is therefore necessitated which takes cognisance of this fact.
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