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

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India's Language Debates and Education of Linguistic Minorities

India's more than one billion population comprises a unique mosaic of more than 400-odd languages and 3,000-odd dialects spread across its 28 states and seven union territories, making it a very distinct linguistic, cultural and ethnic landscape. However, this linguistic and cultural diversity has come under attack in different periods of history and has threatened the existence of many of the minority languages, mainly those which are numerically less represented and also those which are powerless or are of less utility in terms of social mobility. The paper discusses different contexts, starting from the colonial period to the recent National Knowledge Commission Report (2006) that tended to undermine the languages of less power in Indian education.

The language question in Indian education has been a matter of much debate since colonial times. It has played a crucial role in shaping the educational policies of regimes. From time to time they were contested and debated by interested parties whom the hegemonic policies of the day affected. Some of these debates are still relevant, nearly two centuries after they surfaced for the rst time on the Indian subcontinent.

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