ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
Reader Mode
-A A +A

Language Choice and Life Chances: Evidence from the Civil Services Examination

Careers in the civil service are a continuing source of prestigious employment to the middle and upper classes of non-metropolitan India, even as the erstwhile elite classes look for greener pastures. Differential access to languages, especially to English, distinguishes the "national" and regional elites in India. This article presents evidence relating to language choice from the civil services exams post-1979. The perceptible changes in preferences of candidates taking this exam reflect a new confidence with using Indian languages led by Hindi and mirror the larger changes in the linguistic landscape and in linguistic relations.

Subscribers please login to access full text of the article.

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

649for India

$20for overseas users

Get instant access to the complete EPW archives

Subscribe now


(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Back to Top