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

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Language as People’s History

Wanderers, Kings, Merchants: The Story of India through Its Languages by Peggy Mohan, New Delhi: India Viking, 2021; pp 352, ₹599

English Language Education in India: How Aspirations for Social Mobility Shape Pedagogy

While English is not the official language of India, it has become the language of the ruling elite. Fluency in English is extremely sought after and brings with it the potential for social mobility to the underprivileged sections of society. But is an English-medium education the solution? */ */

Language Issue in Constituent Assembly Debates

The issue of the national language was one of the most contentious and passionately debated ones by members of the Constituent Assembly. The significance of this debate lies in the way the members imagined India as a nation, articulated regional and linguistic identities, and sought to build unity of purpose to lay the foundations of modern India. The debates revealed a divide between North and South India, and took on communal undertones too. The eventual choice of Hindi could be pushed through due to the numerical strength of the supporters of the language. This paper will unravel the varying standpoints of participants in this debate.

Life to Indian Languages

This paper presents a linguist’s response to the main themes that run through Majeed’s (2019) comprehensive and thought-provoking two-volume study of the Linguistic Survey of India and its Editor, George A Grierson. It argues that an important source of the complexity of Grierson’s subject position and the intellectual ambiguities in the LSI originates from the fact that the LSI is an unprecedented exercise in modern linguistics. Proffering a reading of the LSI’s methodology, the paper explores the ways in which linguists may participate in an interdisciplinary recovery of this important historical exercise and its afterlife.

Truth about Language in India

Current trends in the use of languages are likely to consolidate English in the upper crust, local languages at the base and camp languages in between. Can we view such a future with equanimity?

Of Marathi and Welsh

Not so long ago there was the 75th Marathi Sahitya Sammelan in Pune. The radical criticism of the Sammelan has been quite loud and not entirely baseless. However it still misses the point. There is some pleasure in rhetoric. There is even greater pleasure in an illusion that you are changing the world. The net result of this empty rhetoric is that the Vidrohee group is now divided into two camps. The 75th Marathi Sahitya Sammelan was even worse. There were angry and brave noises on the n'th language status being accorded to Marathi. But nobody had any clue how to handle that problem.

'Once Were Languages'

India has a large number of non-English languages and dialects that are still thriving. However, these languages exist in a sector strongly associated with poverty, and with a failure of access to the open-ended world of modernity. But as India's poor enter a more empowered space they will sacrifice any languages that only expressed an era of poverty and helplessness. And, in exchange, people will be able to talk to each other as equals for the first time.

Consequences of Hindi as Official Language: Language and Indian Unity

What are the consequences of Hindi as the official language and the demotion of English to an associate status? In the short term and in the long run? Both have to be carefully considered with special regard to (a) the steps and the manner of transition from short to long; (b) conduct of the administration in the States and the Centre; (c) political, economic and cultural integration of the country. From this will emerge an image of Indian unity which may well be radically different from the one that is in the public mind, i e, if there is only one such and not a multitude.
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