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

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Examining the Draft National Education Policy, 2019

This paper on the draft National Education Policy 2019, examines its timeframe and the possible implications of its implementation in terms of the overlapping categories of gender, caste, and class identities. It also focuses briefly on issues of language and the way in which historical precedents are invoked. This is followed by a discussion on the wide-ranging changes envisaged in higher education. I suggest that the document needs far greater scrutiny than it has received so far, and that a hasty implementation will have grave consequences, diluting if not reversing the serious and painstaking attempts that have been made to democratise the contexts, and contents of education for decades.

How is Multilingual Freelance Journalism Transforming the Media Landscape in India?

Changes in the technological landscape and the political economy of news media have opened up new spaces for freelance journalism, particularly in multilingual spaces. Freelance journalists occupy a precarious position due to their place within neo-liberal logics, but at the same time, are less beholden to many of the political, social, and commercial pressures constraining reporting and editing in big media houses. Biographical sketches of three Chennai-based freelancers demonstrate different possibilities of engaging as a freelancer across languages.

Breaking the Chaturvarna System of Languages

The Indian language policy is informed by a pull towards unilingual identity, inspired by the European model of nation state that is predicated on the homogeneity of its people. Language hegemony works at two tiers in India—at the state and the centre. The Constitution fails to pay more than lip service to the linguistic plurality and multilingual ethos of the peoples of India and has created a chaturvarna (four-tier order) of languages, with Sanskrit, Hindi, the scheduled, and the non-scheduled languages occupying various rungs of the ladder. English—the language of the conquerors—being outside the chaturvarna system has emancipatory potential.

Style as ‘Alternative Normativity’

Doing Style: Youth and Mass Mediation in South India by Constantine V Nakassis; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016; pp 352, ₹ 1,656.

Caste in a Casteless Language?

This paper focuses on a new archive of dalit writing in English translation. The "archive" has a forced homogeneity imposed by the term "dalit", which embraces an urban middle-class dalit and a member of a scavenger caste; the homogeneity is consolidated by the fact that the translated texts are in an international language. The questions asked concern the relationship between caste and the English language, two phenomena that represent considerably antithetical signs. Dalit writers accept English as a target language, despite the fact that local realities and registers of caste are difficult to couch in a language that has no memory of caste. The discussion shows how English promises to dalit writers (as both individuals and representatives of communities) agency, articulation, recognition and justice. The paper draws attention to the multiplicity of contexts that make writing by dalits part of a literary public sphere in India, and contribute to our thinking about caste issues in the context of human rights.

Racing with the Rain

For most of us, every word, each letter, whatever be the language, comes with a form that is unique. Words like “love”, “aversion” or “friendship” evoke different emotions, feelings and images, all quite separate from one another, never uniform, each belonging unambiguously to the person from whose...

Perspectives on Mathematics

This collection of seven papers is an indication of the kinds of issues involved in understanding mathematics in a broader perspective. What we hope to achieve is to generate insights into understanding one of the most creative languages humans have created and instil a more balanced response to mathematics as a language, culture and a living presence amidst all of us.

Applying Mathematics

What does it mean to apply mathematics? Why is mathematics considered as essential to natural sciences? Why do scientists consider the applicability of mathematics as something mysterious? The applicability of mathematics is mysterious and unexplainable only if we subscribe to a particular view of mathematics, namely, mathematics as a logical, axiomatic and formal system, which deals only with a platonic world and not our real one. In contrast, there are enough reasons to believe that mathematics is a fertile lived-language, sharing many characteristics with other verbal languages. Thus, to understand the applicability of mathematics, we need to first understand the applicability of languages, for example, the 'applicability' of English. The paper discusses some common characteristics in applying English and mathematics and offers a particular model to explain why mathematics seems to be so effectively applicable in science.

The Locations of Hindi

Hindi Nationalism by Alok Rai , Tracts for the Times 13, Orient Longman, Delhi, 2000; pp 138, Rs 150.

Language, Power and Ideology

Language has been intimately related to ideology and power in Pakistan. While Urdu is conspicuous as a symbol of Pakistani identity and national integration, other ethnic groups have seen this as a version of internal colonialism. Indigenous languages thus become tools that serve to assert ethnic identity and ensure a wider mobilisation.

Figure of the 'Tapori'

Cinema in late 20th century India has also engaged with cities to represent the new experience of modernity, and to produce new and complex representations, that often reflect the fluidity and fragmentary character of urban life in India. This essay is about recent appropriations of the city 'street' through the construction of a subculture of masculine performance, strongly rooted in the urban cultures of Mumbai. It is this subculture that gave rise and constructed the popular figure of the 'tapori' a male persona who was part small time streethood, and part the social conscience of the neighbourhood.

Sanskrit, English and Dalits

Unlike Sanskrit, there are no scriptural injunctions against the learning of English; English is theoretically as accessible to dalits and women as it is to the 'dwijas'. However, the brahmanical classes have monopolised the use of English (as also other symbols of western modernity) and have justified the denial of the same to the dalits, sometimes even reading their 'faulty' use of the language as acts of resistance/rejection of colonial modernity.

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