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Language in India
LANGUAGE IN INDIA
Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow
Volume 4 : 10 October 2004
Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D. Associate Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D. Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D. B. A. Sharada, Ph.D. A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
FIXING THE LANGUAGE, FIXING THE NATION Nandita Ghosh, Ph.D.
1. With the eruption of local and regional separatist movements, the decade of the 1980s in India was a period of violence that questioned its viability as a nation. Language conflicts between communities became one of the central issues under debate. In these debates, journalists, writers, and fictional characters bemoan the many futile attempts of Indian leaders to promote one national language that will imagine a unified community of speakers who will perhaps articulate the nation. Their discussions revealed the way in which such attempts get embroiled in what might be called the language fix: the national language, a unifying language of state, must be technologically developed and authentically Indian. A paradox emerges in these debates with the supposed need for technology and authenticity: although many Indian languages have developed a scientific vocabulary, none can significantly displace the power of English in its privileged relations with technology. At
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Language in India
the same time, as a British import, English is often perceived to be inauthentic. I examine a body of fiction and journalism from the 1980s that engages in this paradox. 2. These works critique the government’s attempts to resolve this paradox by constructing a unified formula of translation through the ThreeLanguage Formula. This formula mandated that those in educational institutions, media, industry, and administration learn English and Hindi as the two official languages; it also provided for the optional learning of Sanskrit, Urdu, or another regional language. This formula was still unsatisfactory because regional communities perceived their language to be in third place to English and Hindi in importance and market value. The fictional and journalistic narratives I discuss accuse the government of creating this formula to control linguistic conflicts and to pay lip service to multilingualism. What becomes evident through these narratives is that after failing to standardize a national language, the government attempts to standardize a linguistic practice of translation by trying to control the way in which translation is to occur between communities and to fix the value of each linking language. Easy translations, after all, would consolidate the power of the ruling middle class. 3. The idea of an unproblematic translation lies at the heart of middleclass ideology. Within the discursive realms of received paradigms and categories of substantiated analysis, Antonio Gramsci and Partha Chatterjee both provide insightful analyses of the rise of middle-class power in the twentieth century.
BOOKS FOR YOU TO READ AND DOWNLOAD A LINGUISTIC STUDY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE CURRICULUM AT THE SECONDARY LEVEL IN BANGLADESH - A COMMUNICATIVE APPROACH TO CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT by Kamrul Hasan, Ph.D. COMMUNICATION VIA EYE AND FACE in Indian Contexts by M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D. COMMUNICATION VIA GESTURE: A STUDY OF INDIAN CONTEXTS by M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D. CIEFL Occasional Papers in Linguistics, Vol. 1 Language, Thought and Disorder - Some Classic Positions by
Classic Positions by M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D. English in India: Loyalty and Attitudes by Annika Hohenthal Language In Science by M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D. Vocabulary Education by B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D. A CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS OF HINDI AND MALAYALAM by V. Geethakumary, Ph.D. LANGUAGE OF ADVERTISEMENTS IN TAMIL by Sandhya Nayak, Ph.D. An Introduction to TESOL: Methods of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages by M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D. Transformation of Natural Language into Indexing Language: Kannada - A Case Study by B. A. Sharada, Ph.D. How to Learn Another Language? by M.S.Thirumalai, Ph.D. Verbal Communication with CP Children by Shyamala Chengappa, Ph.D. and M.S.Thirumalai, Ph.D. Bringing Order to Linguistic Diversity - Language Planning in the British Raj by Ranjit Singh Rangila,
Language in India
Gramsci explains the relations between intellectuals, bourgeois (middle-class) hegemony, and the State. In his opinion, the intellectuals "are the dominant group’s deputies" enabling "the ‘spontaneous’ consent given by the masses" to their dominance and disciplining those who resist (SPN 12). Partha Chatterjee is greatly influenced by Gramsci in his own formulations about a British-created, subordinate, Indian middle class (Nation and its Fragments 35). In his opinion, this class facilitated colonial rule by acting as buffer between the British and the masses; its middleness was crucial to the nationalist project. As Chatterjee points out, it is true that this intermediary class, predominantly urban and upper-caste, inherited power from the British. It attempted to move between differing linguisticcultural spaces through a link language in order to establish its own hegemony. English frequently functions as one of the primary link languages for the ruling middle class because of its colonial history, global currency, and predominance in technology, administration, and communications. 4. By the mid-eighties, the Indian middle class expanded to include new groups and attempted to consolidate its position within the nation. This expanding class provided a larger national audience for Indian writers in English. It is during this time that the English-language novel acquired a distinct identity. A number of writers living within India or in various diasporas were published by foreign presses and consequently enjoyed metropolitan, global audiences. Anita Desai’s In Custody (pub. 1984) is perhaps the most visible internationally. Partap Sharma’s Days of the Turban (pub. 1986) and Upamanyu Chatterjee’s English August: An
Language in India
Ranjit Singh Rangila, M. S. Thirumalai, and B. Mallikarjun REFERENCE MATERIAL Lord Macaulay and His Minute on Indian Education In Defense of Indian Vernaculars Against Lord Macaulay's Minute By A Contemporary of Lord Macaulay Languages of India, Census of India 1991 The Constitution of India: Provisions Relating to Languages The Official Languages Act, 1963 (As Amended 1967) Mother Tongues of India, According to 1961 Census of India BACK ISSUES FROM MARCH 2001 FROM JANUARY 2002 INDEX OF ARTICLES FROM MARCH, 2001 - SEPTEMBER 2004 INDEX OF AUTHORS AND THEIR ARTICLES FROM MARCH, 2001 - SEPTEMBER 2004 E-mail your articles and booklength reports to firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Indian Story (pub. 1988) circulate within a predominantly European and Indian market. Mahasweta Devi’s Imaginary Maps (Bengali pub. 1989, English pub. 1995) has a special status. It has been translated into English by Gayatri Spivak and studied in most North American universities. 5. These novelists appropriate the tradition of literary realism in their fiction, a tradition that evolved in the 18th and 19th centuries in Britain with the rise of the middle class. In accordance with this tradition, which makes truth claims in its representation of contemporary society, these narratives are organized around middle-class experiences that are presented as quintessentially Indian. The protagonists assume that their middleness can enable them to speak for every group of the nation, an assumption that gets disproved when they confront marginalized men and women from other communities. What we see in the journalistic narratives is similar to the fiction. Since these novels, newspaper reports, and journal articles are written in English, the language often fails as the master code; instead of linking different regions, it reveals missing links in communication. Some of these writers, journalists, and fictional characters participate in consolidating middle-class power by universalizing its worldview against a context of secessionist violence, while others expose and deconstruct the hegemony of this class. These writers, journalists, and fictional characters are then recipients of the bourgeois values associated with the liberal humanist vision of a modern nation. Each work of fiction and journalism, therefore, refracts through its medium the process by which this vision of the nation and a certain kind of middle4/49
or suggest modifications to the articles submitted for publication. As a result. Mysore 570006.net Your articles and booklength reports should be written following the MLA. 6. Hindi cannot compete with English. Contributors from South Asia may send their articles to B.stpmy. most journalists support government policy. Thirumalai 6820 Auto Club Road. Efforts at developing a technical vocabulary have ignored word resources in dialects. Central Institute of Indian Languages. This paradox leads to the creation of a linguistic formula that fails in its attempts to render each national context perfectly transparent. India or email to email@example.com/11/2010 thirumalai@bethfel. and inefficiently coordinated these between various Hindi-speaking regions (Mishra 23). Technically qualified Indians read and write predominantly in English.org. Suite C. Practically all of them either comment upon or bemoan the fact that this need for technology places English at an advantage over all other Indian languages. Mallikarjun. S.com/…/fixinglanguage1… . and to make suitable stylistic adjustments. "different states use different words for the same 5/49 Copyright © 2004 M. S. MN 55438 USA. created "lifeless and impractical" words. has been guided by the idea that a national language possessing a technical vocabulary can provide scientific information which will facilitate rural and urban development. This article then seeks to explore the language fix by examining. in their opinion. In these debates. Manasagangotri. LSA. or Language in India send your floppy disk (preferably in Microsoft Word) by regular mail to: M. High quality. Thirumalai languageinindia.soft. This failure makes visible subaltern subjects that refuse to be inscribed within the middle-class discourse of the nation and present their own narratives. It lacks sufficient publications dispensing advanced scientific and educational information. Bloomington. the paradox inherent in the desire for a technologically developed linguistic code that will also be authentically national. reject. in separate sections of this paper. In their opinion. The Editorial Board has the right to accept. which. class authority get challenged in the 1980s through the discursive field of contested and conflicting languages.. One of the arenas in which missing links in the link language and the precariousness of middle-class authority get revealed is media debates over the need for a technologically developed language. or IJDL Stylesheet. academic integrity. ethics and morals are expected from the authors and discussants.
28/11/2010 Language in India English word. Since the industrial revolution in Britain. . . . English. has been an integral part of Indian life since 1947. It is obvious from their languageinindia. It is for such reasons that these journalists declare Hindi to be unable to face the multiple challenges of modernity: " . technological change. The story of English in India is indeed connected to the story of modernization. English has had a privileged relationship with science and technology. built much of the modernizing infrastructure. This is because "knowledge of the kind of Hindi necessary for serious discourse" is not being imparted in India (Masica 10). and middle-class power. who used these technologies for colonial governance. Anticolonial resistance and the national government used the same technologies for purposes of creating and controlling modern India. English-speaking Indians "constitute the third largest pool of trained. They argue that English can no longer be wiped out of India. associated with such infrastructure and technology. scientific manpower in the world" (Masica 13).com/…/fixinglanguage1… 6/49 . it must be emphasized that being able to buy oranges on the railway platform [in Hindi] does not equip one to . . Lack of uniformity in usage is a bewildering fact of the Hindi world" (Mishra 24). The British. With the expansion and consolidation of the British empire in the two previous centuries and America's position in the world market in this century. English has become the global language of communication. ‘cope with the modern world’ -although such coping is theoretically certainly possible in Hindi" (Masica 11). British imperialism exposed the subcontinent to the technological discoveries wrought by the industrial revolution and the capitalist market economy. 7.
Hindi is not a well-funded. marketable subject at the Lala Ram Lal College as compared to biochemistry. In his opinion. makes less money than his former colleague Vijay Sud. characterizes this modernizing impulse within the journalists and the nationalist bourgeoisie as a desire to have their speech globally recognized as technologically developed. The novels also show English as the global language of modernization and technology at national and international levels. In their desire to modernize and globalize. who had languageinindia. since the upper-middle class has more access to English than do lower classes. industrialization. These news/journal articles of the eighties consciously or unconsciously reveal these class interests at work in consolidating power. these journalists certainly desire to compete and survive in the global market.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 7/49 . Lachman Khubchandani. In In Custody. 9. They see an increased English usage as an indelible part of such changes. a participant in and metacommentator on these debates. technologically developed vocabulary. yet. promoting English only promotes their class interests. they encounter English as the only feasible language for modernization because of its globally utilized. the Hindi lecturer. this desire arises from their perceptions that indigenous languages are deficient communications systems not historically linked with technology precisely because they feel their nation is disadvantaged as a newcomer to the global market (International Social Science Journal 169). Deven. and scientific research as tools for modernizing and restructuring the nation. 8.28/11/2010 Language in India assumptions that these journalists uphold Nehru's vision of technology. As part of the ruling middle class in India.
something American" like physics. Most other Hindi lecturers in Deven's department feel that they "took up the wrong subject" instead of taking "something scientific. In Mirpur. It is not an accident that these subjects are taught primarily in English. doing well" (185). educational. certain English words commonly used by most Indians refer to the ways in which languageinindia. it is also displaced at local and regional levels by other languages. or computer technology with which they could "have a future" (186). However. capable of inducing modernizing transformations in society. Such displacements question the journalistic assumptions discussed earlier in this section about English’s special relations with technology. microbiology. commercial. Although English is indeed more deeply entrenched in India and more globally dominant than ever before. Sud is the epitome of success. All of these subjects are equated with the scientific and the technological. while Hindi is not perceived in this novel to be participatory in nation-building activities.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 8/49 . chemistry. "teaching in a state university. By 1989. by comparison to the news/journal articles of the eighties. having a big house. 10. and industrial exchanges were happening increasingly in the relevant local language.28/11/2010 Language in India won a scholarship to study biochemistry in Indiana. In Imaginary Maps. earning a big salary. most Indian languages develop their technical vocabularies at local and regional levels. communicational. the fictional works reveal deeper contradictions in the phenomena regarding the relations of English with other Indian languages and technology. 11. The fictional texts reveal some of these complexities. mediabased. USA.
" "engine. most farmers are either illiterate or literate Punjabi speakers. and English. however. Hindi. No one language has an especially developed technological vocabulary that can adequately convey the complex requirements of modernity to this rural community. finance. and Pirtha villages through a process of rewritten spellings and vernacularized pronunciations. Similar appropriations are evident in Days of the Turban. and Punjabi." etc. borrowings from English. These words have been appropriated by the local languages of Seora. there are missing links in all of these languages. the official business of banking.28/11/2010 Language in India everyday life has been transformed by the technological innovation of the railway system: "train. In Jagtara. In their conversations. and administration is conducted in multiple exchanges between English. also become part of the languages that appropriate them. Therefore." "station.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 9/49 . both languages either create new vocabularies to convey this information or borrow and appropriate words from English. Perfect links between cultures and languages are not possible. Such words. their translations frequently break down causing confusions in meaning." "billboard. Balbir's village. Kuruda. Hindi. For example." "junction. knowledge of which is primarily available through the English language." "driver. these farmers translate between Punjabi. Information about farm technology is available to varying extents in Punjabi and Hindi. nor is it possible to have English link all regions through its languageinindia. In Jagtara. the green revolution in agriculture happens through scientific farming. with some knowledge of Hindi and little fluency in English. This is one of the methods by which Indian languages acquire a technical vocabulary to cope with modernization.
an ignorance based on their inability to access a language containing scientific information.28/11/2010 Language in India access to technology. Being poverty stricken and lower caste. In "Pterodactyl. Modernization has affected all Indian languages in uneven and chaotic ways. Pirtha. a journalist. 13. 12. Under such conditions. Scientific. Their exclusion from mainstream languages incapacitates them from representing their interests to government officials and bargaining for the funds set aside for their welfare. Adivasis are unable to help themselves because they do not know what causes their deaths -. and so on" (123). and Puran Sahay" (Imaginary Maps). Harisharan. the adivasis at Pirtha die of food poisoning caused by the contamination of herbs and roots with insecticides.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 10/49 . the adivasi subaltern is exploited because of a complex of reasons. "We have not brought scientific health care to the tribals. It is not possible to argue that English has a privileged relationship with technology because it is inherently techno-friendly or that it is the only possible language for modernization. If something happens beyond the limits of their knowledge they think of mysterious reasons. each feeds off the other. languageinindia. most adivasis cannot afford an education in any of these languages because it is expensive. divine rage. a government official in Pirtha. legal. Their own language is not officially patronized in the same way and therefore is subalternized not only by English but also by Hindi and other regional languages. the witch's glance. Class exclusions are reinforced by language exclusions. reports to Puran. and technological information is available to some extent in most Indian languages as well as English.
English is foreign and therefore inauthentic. middle-class power fluctuates and middle-class pretentions of speaking for the nation get ruptured. and other languages in the years following independence. neither English. Urdu. 14. a perception that makes them think of English as the only suitable language for modernization. premised upon this desire for authenticity. However. have arisen over English. for many members of this class. In these missing links.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 11/49 . nor Hindi or any other language can completely represent every communication between different regions and locations. any link language used by languageinindia. This contradiction allows no single language to meet the paradoxical requirements for technology and authenticity. Each displacement reveals the missing links in the link languages. it also attempts to predetermine the nature of translations between linguistic contexts. moves away from the idea of a single national language to acknowledge the multilingualism of India. Conflicts. English retains its power because of its historical and colonial positioning. industry. This perception contradicts their desire for authenticity because. created by the government to resolve these conflicts. Hindi. However. The Three Language Formula.28/11/2010 Language in India Most regional languages have developed their own technical vocabulary and are used by the local media. The middle classes often perceive the need for a national language to be technologically developed. and administration. These attempts are fueled by an uneasy middle-class ideology that assumes its middleness can enable it to speak for every context within the nation. education systems. each language displaces and is displaced by the other at every level of exchange in the nation. However.
dialogic relationships with each other. and universal. Yet it is frequently constructed as the only possible language for modernity.  Bhabha discusses the deconstructive implications of spaces outside of a pedagogical knowledge that constructs itself as authentic. any utterance from such a space focuses attention on the particular time and place of a speaking subject. 15. In his opinion. All languages operate within this Bhabhaesque hybrid space in India. Because of its technological value.28/11/2010 Language in India the ruling middle class debunks all claims for authenticity while operating between contexts because it becomes at once authentic or inauthentic in these translations. the second half of English August's title languageinindia. English in India disorients the authenticating claims of every other language. 16. They enter unequal. upper-middle-class power. It is not quite foreign nor quite indigenous.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 12/49 . it is the impossible national language. revises settled hierarchies. rational. identity-defining. These hybrid spaces exist between unequal. and institutes a dialogic process that reveals how power is constructed and the subaltern marginalized. antagonistic. and authenticinauthentic quality. challenges principles of rationality. It reveals the powermongering desires behind such claims. It is difficult to eradicate because of its connection with global capital and pan-Indian. Indian English embodies such hybridity because it is simultaneously deconstructive and maintaining of status quo. The inherent contradictions in all concerns for authenticity are well illustrated by Homi Bhabha's concept of hybridity. For example. antagonistic sites without clear cut boundaries. unifyingfragmenting effects.
and share the class privileges enjoyed by English speakers: "the English we speak is not the English we read in English books. Srivastav. English as the mastercode is inadequate in conveying local and regional cultures. a civil servant educated in Hindi. Srivastav therefore upholds the validity of Indian English because it represents the hybrid influences that shape identity languageinindia. This untranslatability of English becomes a topic of discussion for journalism as well as a motivating problem for the fiction. Agastya's boss. the official national discourse on the validity of English as a link language in India is presented by Srivastav. asserts that English in India is not only useful as an administrative tool but also authentic by virtue of its usefulness.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 13/49 . . 17. These novels and news/journal articles attempt to talk about local and regional experiences through the apparently pan-Indian medium of English. another complex and unwieldy bequest of the Raj. how we speak should not matter as long as we get the idea across" (59). Yet in the act of translation. This story is constituted by the prominence of English existing in complex and combative relations to other languages. . Our English should be just a vehicle of communication . and resources. like the railways and the English language. . As part of an expanding middle class. .28/11/2010 Language in India refers to "an Indian story": "District administration in India is largely a British creation. or of a language) is integral to the Indian story" (10). But Indianization (of a method of administration. information. he desires to use English to administer the country. broker power. they confront the untranslateable. . In English August. He desires that this administrative language should be absolutely transparent in order to facilitate interegional translations of culture.
an unavoidable leftover. In contrast to Agastya and Dr. The novel presents many instances when English fails to link different contexts. mostly farmers. Agastya's English professor. he complains of having to teach Shakespeare and Conrad in Hindi to uncomprehending students. However complete transparency is impossible because English is fractured from within. We can't be ashamed of our past.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 14/49 ." or Indians " . Agastya. goes to St. languageinindia. He is also unaware that language at all times can only be a mimicry of itself. He homogenizes the many Englishes spoken by different classes in Britain. he is unable to communicate intellectually with fellow officers. who speak English more fluently than [they] speak any Indian language" (23). the protagonist. Dr. the inhabitants of Madna. not everyone speaks the same English. just as English here too is what it is. a colonial institution. . no. because that is to be ashamed of our present" (60). 18. experiences a similar redundancy. Upadhyay reacts to their incomprehension by opining that "English in India is burlesque" (24) because it only poorly mimics an authentic British English. who speak a different English with a heavier vernacular accent. Upadhyay. where he studies English literature.28/11/2010 Language in India politics in India within the postcolonial context: "You are what you are. He and his friends are the "English type[s]. . Upadhyay. Stephen’s College. He would like to accept the presence of Indian English as an indelible part of colonization without dwelling on the complexities of its hybridity in order that he can use English to link different regions. Dr. When he is posted as a government officer to Madna. He is unable to accept the different kinds of English his students speak. a small town in Central India.
xxxi). In contrast. In these acts. 19. really fucked . Upadhyay. This hybridization of English is therefore threatening. and politicians. nowhere else could languages be mixed and spoken with such ease" (1). the "pure" idiom affected by the latter through either a Sankritized Hindi or the "purified" English that Upadhyay languageinindia. questions of authenticity can only arise within the context of missing links in the link language. local merchants. Hazaar fucked. . Srivastava. This class is obviously divided by differences in lifestyles caused by income. What is interesting about such encounters is that these challenges do not only occur between the middle and the working class but within the middle class itself. Perhaps what is truly "fucked" about such hybridization is that it reveals what Spivak terms "the deconstructive embrace of a postcolonial identity" which unsettles the hegemony of a certain section of the English-speaking ruling class (Imaginary Maps. technology. they challenge the hegemony of Agastya's class power and inhabit an in-between Bhabhaesque space created by their encounter with the modernizing effects of postcolonial bureaucracy. Urdu and American.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 15/49 . and access to English. a thousand fucked. speak the "occasional tell tale . Agastya. . Agastya. Upadhyay desire complete transparency in English when communicating outside their immediate contexts because they feel paralyzed by its failure as a link language. Srivastav. . rural and urban contexts. .28/11/2010 Language in India adivasis. . Agastya characterizes this hybridity as an "amazing mix . and even some of the Madnaites would broadly fall within the middle class. Dr. . and communication. and Dr. English phrase" creating a hybrid language that reshapes English (18).
the idea of an Indianized English is desirable because English helps them translate their cultural capital across the country. glow of feeling.that is. 20.D. This fractured nature of identity politics surrounding hybridity is also evident in the journalistic discourse of the eighties. . He claims that Indians can successfully write in English because "The English language is the most composite in the world. making it unique and valid. Sethna argues that the native tongue cannot always be defined in terms of nationality (Mother India 651-71). the school or college version replete with regional overtones. Shyam Ratna Gupta lists the different forms of English: "kitchen-butler English" as used by domestic servants. For some journalists writing at the time. shade of suggestion. effects achieved with perfect adequacy languageinindia. pattern of experience and turn them into truly English effects -. It has the capacity to assimilate everything. Krishnamurthy provides a narrative of the progressive appropriation of English in India. . which were "pressed into shape to form Indian English" (Hindustan Times 9). and a debased curricula. K. N. it can take any hue of thought. Singh provides examples of Indian poets like Gieve Patel. Keki N. . professional English which is jargonized but communicates effectively. Similarly. sloppy grammar.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 16/49 . Khushwant Singh celebrates how Hindustani and English borrowed words from each other. Daruwallah.28/11/2010 Language in India desires reveals neocolonialist exploitation in the middle-class desire to appropriate resources to safeguard power. and Nissim Ezekiel who use this fusion of languages in their poetry. and literary English which is competitive and influenced by advances in print technology (Hindustan Times 9).
"merges with some. In languageinindia. Raja asserts: "If we can use English with some confidence why should we not speak in English? If we feel that we are at home in English. These middle-class journalists write for different sections of the middle class but share each other's assumptions about the process of Indianization of English." The word and utterance in any language shape themselves in this dialogic process. any linguistic utterance takes "meaning and shape at a particular historical moment in a socially specific environment" (276).S. the word in any language exists in a "difficult to penetrate" "elastic environment" made up of other. it encounters other words about the same idea or object.28/11/2010 Language in India by English words" (659). Krishnamurthy. alien words (276)." In this dialogic interaction with this tension-filled environment. the word gets into "complex interrelationships" with other words. he ignores the fact that all languages are adaptable and that English is a global language because of British and U. which then become "overlain with heteroglot social opinion. Raja.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 17/49 ." and "recoils from others. This process can best be explained through Bakhtin's idea of "the dialogic orientation of a word among other words" (The Dialogic Imagination 275)." "charged with value. Khushwant Singh is also a novelist in English who has helped the nationalist reconstruction of English as an Indian product. When he promotes the concept of the essential adaptability of English to any culture to justify its validity in India. why should we not write in English?" (Mother India 374) Gupta. In Bakhtin's terms. and Sethna write for different newspapers. imperialism. 21. When any word is used to express an idea or describe an object." and "open to dispute. According to Bakhtin.
and creates a hybrid culture that is derivative in nature (Times of India /Sunday Review. hence. V). causing misgivings among other journalists of the eighties. He is supported by R.G.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 18/49 . created through Islamic invasions of the Middle Ages. this image gets fractured at several levels: first. attempt to construct a monolithic idea of Indianness that is defined against foreign domination.28/11/2010 Language in India colonial and postcolonial India. created by the interaction between British and Indian culture. Khan and R. This Bakhtinian process of hybridity is also filled with violence and displacements between languages. However.G. are obviously influenced by the notion that English not only creates class distinctions among Indians but also represents impure western values that threaten to corrupt and erase an authentic Indian self. 22. They feel that non-English speakers are unable to translate themselves outside of their contexts. Naseer Khan considers English to be a foreign import for it is not widely spoken by a majority of Indians and cannot "pull out [from] under our feet the carpet of our past heritage. Both Khan and R. such a language prevents them from competing adequately for the resources of the nation.K. A. second. particularly the carpet of a composite culture" (Seminar. when confronted with languageinindia. when confronted with the Muslim identity.K. 34). who declares that English damages the psyche. hinders progress. inventing a new form of English and reinfusing Indian languages with new vocabulary and meaning.. English words and phrases became part of other Indian languages precisely through this dialogic interaction. The process was creative. and third.G. when confronted with the hybrid Anglo-Indian identity.K.
24. that he spoke English with their accent. Agastya's name is Sanskrit. mocks Deven. so also with Agastya's Sanskrit name. minority Christian identity much like AngloIndians. It is small and precarious. In the novel English August. From that day his friends had more new names for him. Agastya's hybridity makes visible the fractured nature of identity politics in which these journalists get embroiled. In the novel In Custody. Nur. the Muslim Urdu poet. the condition of the Urdu department is even worse than that of the Hindi department. the Hindu Hindi lecturer.28/11/2010 Language in India scheduled castes and tribes who are not considered to have pure Aryan ancestry.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 19/49 . a culture once colonized by Portugal and now associated with a non-Hindu. languageinindia. based on a forest-dwelling sage in the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. in a fit of rage at the condition of Urdu in postindependence India. "there on sufferance merely" (103). he became the school’s ‘last Englishman. It is linked with "Muslim ideas" and "Muslim toadies" (145). His mother is Goanese. As a mother tongue connotes the essentialist desire to claim a language as belonging to one's ethnic identity. the conflict over Urdu or Hindi is also rooted in a desire for authenticity. that he had Keith or Alan for a name. As with English. However his friends change his name to August because they discover his secret wish that he were an "Anglo-Indian.’ or just ‘hey English’ (his friends meant ‘hey Anglo’ but didn't dare) and sometimes even ‘Hello Mother Tongue’"(2). 23. Such a desire is parodied and displaced by August's desire for Anglo-Indian identity.
. . But Hindi -oh Hindi is a field of greens. in 1947. Why such treatment for Urdu. .28/11/2010 Language in India What is the matter? Forgotten your Urdu? Forgotten my verse? Perhaps it is better if you go back to your college and teach your students the . simple Hindi language. ancient India had to become the classical source of languageinindia. .and 20thcentury Hindu nationalist historiography. safe. also the mythical hero of the epic Mahabharata. . also constructed as the repository of Indian culture. 25. safe comfortable ideas of cow worship and caste and worship of Krishna. which frequently narrativized the Middle Ages as the time of foreign invasions and categorized Muslims as foreigners. . According to Partha Chatterjee. To make that claim. .com/…/fixinglanguage1… 20/49 . Indian nationalists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries needed "to claim for the Indian nation the historical agency for completing the project of modernity. . . my friends? Because Urdu is supposed to have died. Such fictional revelations have their counterpart in the 19th. . the classical language of Aryans. Desai's novel reveals how Urdu is nostalgically associated with the courts of nawabs during Muslim rule of the Middle Ages in India. (56) Hindi is obviously associated with the Hindu god Krishna. These associations are further tied up with Sanskrit. all flourishing. . as well as with the Hindu tradition of vegetarianism associated with cowworship and eschewing beef-eating.
the Urdu poet. especially since Urdu is not as old as Sanskrit. is a typical yet contradictory quality of nationalism. "The defeat of the Mughals by the British threw a noose over its [Urdu's] head. according to Benedict Anderson. Urdu suffers in the novel because it is linked with an Islamic culture associated with the Middle Ages. The idea that what is older is more authentic is based on a search for origins. living in run-down neighborhoods. we see the impact of such divisive politics in the postindependence Urdu community. complains of his inability to pay printers' and distributors' bills and of shrinking readership and subscriptions. and easy targets of violence. Murad. Deven has to teach Hindi to pay bills.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 21/49 . The Urdu department in Deven's college is poorly funded. while the ‘Muslim’ period would become the night of medieval darkness" (The Nation and its Fragments 102). The politics of religious identities create linguistic identities.28/11/2010 Language in India Indian modernity.  In the novel. and the defeat of the British by the Hindiwallahs tightened it" (42). which. his request for money to tape Urdu poetry is met with hostility by the administration. which validate present conditions of belonging and settled relationships (Imagined Communities languageinindia. He states that most nations create immemorial and somewhat arbitrary pasts. most Urdu speakers are poor. This metaphor of death by hanging and the extended conceit of detention and sentence expresses Nur's frustration at his marginalization in India. Clearly. dejectedly states. Urdu is Arabized to be primarily associated with Muslims even though linguistic differences between Hindi and Urdu are minute. the publisher of an Urdu journal. 26. Nur.
Urdu. In the 19th century. connected to Muslim culture. introduced only in the last two centuries by the British is. middle-class Hindu power and alienate Muslim group identity. 27. Murad assures Deven that Urdu has future prospects with its international audience in countries like Russia. in comparison to Hindi or Urdu. This languageinindia. claiming the past and searching for origins are modern phenomena. Iran. is constructed as less authentic and more foreign.28/11/2010 Language in India 14). middle-class Hindus. Hindi. the least authentic and most foreign. and Sweden.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 22/49 . Iraq. is constructed as the most authentic language. Similarly. with its roots in Sanskrit. Yet the fictional text also reveals other ways in which these languages relate and are used by their communities of speakers. In this sense. these actions expose their attempts to fix the ways in which the two languages will interrelate and be utilized by the national community. such internal differences post independence are deliberately essentialized to enhance upper-caste. Tensions between Urdu and Hindi refract the contending dialogic forms of discourse shaping India-as-nation. In Custody reveals these contending dialogic forms of discourse in the national bourgeoisie's deliberate attempts to separate Urdu from Hindi and to authenticate the latter at the expense of the former. Malaysia. Any search for origins claiming and constructing the past also makes distinctions between the foreign and the indigenous. many of whom are upper-caste. Dating India's past back to the mythological histories of Aryans is to the advantage of Hindi speakers. middle-class nationalists deliberately homogenized internal differentiations among Indians in order to organize anticolonial resistance. English.
and when they were not as politically charged as they have been since the 1950s. This alliance could be considered an unendurable -. and not realized that if he was to be the custodian of Nur's genius. They refer to a time in Indian history when differences between the two languages were minimal. which is submitted for the Nobel Prize in literature. which. composing. 28. Muslims. At the end of the novel. Deven becomes the custodian of Nur's unpublished work: "he had imagined he was taking Nur's poetry into safe custody. Some of the commentators in the eighties deliberately uncloak the premises of such power when they present a narrative of Hindi's and Urdu's shared history. Deven and Nur share a reciprocal relationship that shows Hindi and Urdu speakers relate in multiple ways outside the parameters established by nationalist discourse. middle-class Hindu power. and other religious communities. Both demanded an equal strength" (203).com/…/fixinglanguage1… 23/49 . reading. through the discourse on authenticity. Both he and Siddiqui collaborate from the Hindi and Urdu departments to record Nur's poetry. seeks to standardize and subordinate plural linguistic identities under upper-caste. These relationships challenge the boundaries set by the government-sponsored Three Language Formula. and publishing activities that take place both in Urdu and Hindi. We can see how this future is already a part of the present when lines of ethnic/religious identity get crossed in the teaching. when these languages were utilized equally by Hindus.28/11/2010 Language in India audience creates a demand for Nur's poetry. then Nur would become his custodian and place him in custody too.or else a shining honor. Deven is a Hindu lover of Urdu poetry. These scholars languageinindia.
These scholars contribute to debates on authenticity by problematizing relatively recent constructions of Hindi as authentic/Hindu/Indian and Urdu as inauthentic/Muslim/ foreign. Distinctions between what is indigenous/authentic and languageinindia.28/11/2010 Language in India assert that these languages became contested territories after partition. these languages work to legitimize upper-caste. Urdu was delinked from other Indian languages. middle-class Hindu power within India. all arguments favoring authenticity.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 24/49 . They point out that Sanskrit is not the root of every linguistic community in India unless it rediscovers its mixed roots with Urdu. whether it is that of English or Hindi. representing specific communities which were struggling to define their positions within India. the classical language of Aryans. They reveal how the desire for essentialized identities ignores the ambivalent nature of language and how vocabulary is built over time in response to cultural needs and in relation to other languages. They feel that these distinctions between languages are unhistorical and inexpressive of living speech. Ultimately. promote the idea of a single national language or a unified linguistic formula of translation that will tie the nation together. the relations between the two languages once again defy the sterile possibilities laid out by the Three-Language Formula. Whether English functions as the de facto language of power or Sanskritized Hindi is chosen as the official language. Both Hindi and Urdu have evolved by molding themselves to each other and to the culture. It is this class that has the most access to English and also claims Sanskrit. as its heritage. 29. It is also this class that inherited power from the British.
 The government formulated the ThreeLanguage Formula to control linguistic conflicts and pay lip service to multilingualism. 30. Easy translations would consolidate and centralize State power. Since the 19th century. No one language is completely able to languageinindia. Yet. if one reasons within this framework. it is possible to find most languages. The language "fix" then attempts a solution that makes a fixture of the problem. foreign and therefore inauthentic since they were introduced to the subcontinent through foreign invasions at some point in Indian history. However. However. lack prestige. With this formula. in multilingual India. promoting any language over others aggravates intercommunity tensions. Only the Austric and Dravidian languages.28/11/2010 Language in India foreign/inauthentic are constructed as part of the "fix" into which language debates have frozen and have contributed to the fundamentalist rhetoric of the BJP and the secessionist violence of the 1980s. spoken by tribal populations. receive no funding. and are spoken by only the most subaltern communities.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 25/49 . it attempted to standardize a linguistic practice of translation by attempting to control the way in which translation was to occur between different communities and fix the value of each linking language. date back to the earliest indigenous inhabitants. the novels and news/journal articles under discussion reveal the failures of such translations. however. Indian leaders have perceived a national language to be a unifying mechanism against the potentially divisive linguistic pluralism of India and a homogenizing tool enhancing development where heterogeneity signals underdevelopment. including Sanskrit. These languages.
many official documents and broadcasts in the national media are in Hindi. Celebrations of Moharram (a Muslim festival) and Holi (a Hindu festival) often cause riots that are solemnly reported in local newspapers as evidence of the inability of both communities to live within a national. displace.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 26/49 . The Hindi film industry in Bombay enjoys a panIndian audience. 31. despite not being regionally concentrated. In Desai's novel. but several hierarchies have emerged in which different languages compete for power with. cannot function as a unifying official language. and are displaced by each other in differing regions. Hindi cannot unify the nation. the languages take each other into custody by holding each other hostage in an attempt to safeguard their own power. Desai's English novel. The novels reveal how all languages in India are combative and create divisive linguistic groups. Hindi has been the official national language. middle-class protagonists often find themselves to be relatively powerless. the town in which Deven lives. in fact. Power fluctuates between different speakers and listeners. By the 1980s. Since 1947.28/11/2010 Language in India express the other. Recalling the title of Desai’s novel. is filmed in Hindi. Neither can it completely displace the currency languageinindia. and Central Indian homes. Not one.West. With such factionalism. secular culture. Hindi is used by different classes in most North. New alliances are formed between newly visible subjects. Its demonization by Hindi speakers divides Mirpur. into warring factions. Urdu. Hindi is the "vegetarian monster" displacing Urdu from its pre-independent position as official language (55). while the language formula attempts to safeguard the rights of each language by acting as a custodian. In Custody.
In Days of the Turban. if in the previous centuries Urdu functioned as the elite language of administrators and literateurs. We must have degrees. Its speakers are upper caste and upper-middle class. Shelley. occupying prestigious and powerful jobs. Urdu retains its currency in several countries and eleven Indian states. ‘For a degree. even though the latter does not enjoy as wide a currency. 32. Hindi is also displaced by the power of English. Most South Indians resent the hegemony of Hindi but accept English as a link language. In all the fictional works under consideration. English is undoubtedly the language of power.’ ‘Then why did you take it up?’ Deven asked. The story suggests that. cosmopolitanism. These students feel alienated from the circle of privilege when forced to learn Hindi. anglicization.’ they told him plainly" (182-183).com/…/fixinglanguage1… 27/49 . Keats. most students are bored: "they shouted. . Therefore. ‘why should we waste our time learning Hindi when we can pick up some useful skills that will help us find employment? . although Hindi is mandatory for fulfilling degree requirements in the Mirpur University curriculum. and what am I being made to do? The chafing chores of a peasant!"(10). able to quote Byron.28/11/2010 Language in India of Urdu. and distance from languageinindia. after 1947 it is still used. by educated elites like Nur. . . In In Custody. The references to Victorian and Indian poets point to the cultural capital Balbir has accrued: literary refinement. Hindi does not help get you employment. to a lesser extent. Kalidas. sir. most jobs are available through knowledge of English. Tagore. . Balbir's English education beckons him away from farm work to white-collar jobs in cities: "Here I am. including fifty-six Indian universities. .
the underclass may be brutalized by its inability to access the power available through English. The adivasis of Jompanna (English August). But Agastya is an urban. 33. a high-ranking official in Madna. When communicating. Seora. In the fiction.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 28/49 . For example. tells Agastya. a Block Development Officer in Jompanna. They [the local inhabitants] can't even speak Hindi properly. . no language can adequately translate meanings from another. everyone can follow Hindi. he needs interpreters to help him understand the adivasis. . And now everything from the State government comes in the regional language" (1516). In these instances.28/11/2010 Language in India manual labor -. . . no one is precisely able to understand the other. Puran. . In the miscommunication that follows. You see. in North India and Bengal and other places. Pirtha. . Srivastava. but it also becomes visible in the gaps established by the inability of the English language to translate its experiences. In these acts of translation. power fluctuates between established groups of speakers. and Kuruda (Imaginary Maps) can speak mostly only in their own dialect. a journalist who travels to Pirtha. upperclass Indian who can speak English and Bengali fluently and Hindi haltingly. "Yes. middle-class power gets decentered and hitherto marginalized subjects become visible.values he wishes to market for a privileged urban lifestyle. is stunned by the fact that adivasis have no word in the Ho language for languageinindia. In fact. English divides its speakers from the non-speakers into disparate worlds of wealth and poverty. these residents pressure visitors and administrative personnel to learn the local language. urban. you'll face the problem of language in Madna.
Mahasweta Devi debunks the patronizing arrogance of officials towards local dialects by deliberately interspersing the latter with formal Bengali in the style of a political harangue. In Imaginary Maps. Puran is confronted by the dilemma of the untranslatable. At best his report reveals the residues of translation. Srivastav -.desires to use English to administer the country. the excess that cannot be communicated in English. It is obvious that neither Hindi nor English can successfully displace the currency of a regional language in a specific region. . 34. languages are divisive not only because they are combative but also because they are internally fragmented.28/11/2010 Language in India exploitation because nothing within their societies remotely resembles the indignities they suffer from mainstream culture. Our English should be just a vehicle of communication .com/…/fixinglanguage1… 29/49 . . . Hindi. broker power. Srivastav desires that the administrative language be different from the literary and journalistic language with which languageinindia.a civil servant educated in Hindi who is part of an expanding middle class -. . In English August. . As these novels show. how we speak should not matter as long as we get the idea across" (59). and share the class privileges enjoyed by Agastya: "the English we speak is not the English we read in English books. This lack represents meanings that cannot be recovered. Devi's technique not only reveals how formal Bengali oppresses local dialects but also indicates local resistance to such power. Devi's readers are also middleclass intellectuals and artists who she hopes will transcend class interests to bond with the oppressed. Educated Bengali is spoken by middle-class urban dwellers who are in league with the seats of power in central government. or Bengali.
The combative relations between languages are also evident in the discord between journalists in the 1980s. and higher education. accent. These differences cause a clash of cultures resulting in the psychological violence of governmental authority.28/11/2010 Language in India Agastya has fluency. communications. . not everyone speaks the same English. However complete transparency is impossible because English is fractured from within. Srivastava wants this language to be absolutely transparent in order to facilitate interregional translations of culture. the other official language. information. Fragmentation happens within every language. . and his consequent withdrawal from his work environment. His English is different from and has less market value than Agastya's because Srivastav speaks with a heavier vernacular accent. 35. So diction. These reports note that English is widespread and deeply entrenched: its words and phrases exist independently in most Indian languages. the adivasis speak a broken Hindi quite different from Agastya's because it is inflected by the syntactical structure of the Ho language. creating warring groups who cannot communicate. In languageinindia. and fluency determine class privileges. Agastya's Hindi in English August is less fluent than that of his fellow Hindispeaking officers. Several news and journal reports assert that English functions as the de facto national language because it affects law courts. and resources. English-educated Indians form a powerful national middle class with international influence. also divides the country. government documents. Also. Agastya's alienation. of sending one's child to an English medium school has become a veritable stampede" (Masica 9). and "The trend .com/…/fixinglanguage1… 30/49 . Hindi.
the same management would deny languageinindia. it is difficult to live without the mediation of English. who are treated differently than Hindi language readers. they believe. Hindi.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 31/49 . who possess the authority to make laws. through advertisements. They declare that most newspaper owners' attitude to Hindi is non-serious.28/11/2010 Language in India short. . for them. . is merely an obligation. But it is this very entrenchment that makes other journalists assert that English does not unify the country as the lingua franca but divides it into the privileged and underprivileged: "the continued ascendancy of English divides the nation into elites. the English media present an urban lifestyle inaccessible to most of the country. . This faction claims that English is dominant in India only because it is the property of the elite. English-language newspapers are relied upon to bring international news their readers. and those who are subjects of these laws" (Handa 13). and is to be discharged rather unwillingly or indifferently depending on the mood of the ruling party. unlike their attitude to English journalism: A majority of the Hindi dailies in the Capital are run by the business houses whose first commitment lies elsewhere and not to the publication of newspapers. Despite wider circulation and better financial performance. a burden. Journalists who espouse the cause of Hindi bemoan its lack of funding and shrinking publications as well as antiHindi agitation by non-Hindi speakers. 36.
which would place them at par with the English publication from the same house. they experience themselves as secondclass citizens. Advance (Khullar 20-27). They do not argue for extending the privileges of English among the lower classes nor are they able to suggest practical viable alternatives to the hegemony of English. English is not the only language that is hegemonic. (Yadav 41) As a result of these institutional problems. These journalists all belong to the middle class. and Economic and Political Weekly (1410) elaborate on how Urdu has suffered with the promotion of Hindi as the national language: decreased funding. declining number of teachers. However. Link (Khullar 37-38).28/11/2010 Language in India the facilities. They write in English out of necessity in order to reach a powerful middle-class audience. remuneration. strengthening its persistent hegemony. as Hindi-speakers. disappearing schools. their critique of the hegemony of English becomes ironic because it is facilitated through the medium of English. an absence of a cultural pivot. and poor editing skills.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 32/49 . and benefit from the privileges of an English education. pages. they are also members of the English-speaking middle class. indifferent political leadership. the languageinindia. curricula that drop Urdu. poor printing facilities. Hindi journalism suffers from a diffused readership. 37. These journalists express anxiety and nostalgia because. However. Several articles in Volume 332 of Seminar. write in English. they suggest. and manpower to Hindi journals. Most pro-Hindi agitators themselves lapse into English.
and with predominantly poor. or nation. such as the Three Language Formula. even though all Muslims do not speak Urdu. can be seen as a product of centripetal forces. From their underlying assumptions. Centripetal forces are the historical processes of centralization and unification. Such demands are paralleled by a corresponding Hindu fundamentalism. Hindi. would claim such privileges if it were not displaced by English. The government's failure to promote Urdu has been quoted.28/11/2010 Language in India government’s decision in 1958 to declare Urdu a dialect of Hindi.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 33/49 . in the 1980s. illiterate or semi-literate speakers. who cannot promote the language. resulting in a unitary language. They point out how the pro-Hindi lobby within the government prevents the promotion of Urdu. The tension between Indian languages can be clarified in terms of Bakhtin's idea of the centripetal and centrifugal forces within language (The Dialogic Imagination 259-272). demonizing Indian Muslims. as an instance of its pro-Hindu sentiments by Islamic parties in Kashmir demanding secession from India. 38. But a unitary language does not exist within India. Both Hindi and English are further displaced by and displace regional languages in a phenomenon that Bakhtin terms languageinindia. it is apparent that Urdu’s association with Islam and the demonization of Indian Muslims complicates Urdu-Hindi relations. heteroglossic forces of decentralization stratify language into dialects and socio-ideological groups in every epoch. with the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). community. while the centrifugal. the official language. The desire within the national leadership for a unifying national language or at least a uniform method of translation. its linkage with the Muslim community.
These combative interactions merely highlight the contradiction inherent in desiring a unifying language or language formula. are instruments of knowledge that make possible a consensus on the meaning of the social world. the choice of a national language becomes a crucial issue when the dominant middle class. 39. different socio-ideological groups enter into combative relations to acquire and safeguard power. whose power rests on economic capital. according to Pierre Bourdieu. The dissent over which language is to be so selected points to the existence of multiple imagined communities. aims to impose the legitimacy of its dominance through the continued currency of English in India. one aimed at imposing the definition of the social world that is best suited to their interests. In these mutual acts of displacement and stratification. The different class factions are engaged in a symbolic struggle. but also through the appropriation of a common language to lend passion and purpose to the community so imagined. as Benedict Anderson has suggested. The statutory choice of Hindi further complicates the problem because it ostensibly empowers the Hindi-speaking North languageinindia. causing each language to fragment. which contributes to the reproduction of the social order (166). each of which engage in combative interactions with one another in an attempt to stake a claim on the nation. Language belongs to the symbolic field. Decolonization not only involves the creation of imagined communities through the workings of print capitalism.28/11/2010 Language in India heteroglossia.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 34/49 . These heteroglossic or centrifugal forces of decentralization not only create hierarchies between languages but stratify these from within. Symbols.
it was translated into English by Spivak and read worldwide. ultimately creating more space for minority and marginalized discourses to emerge. and landowners. Notes 1.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 35/49 . which becomes a site for the struggle for dominance and control of resources and power in India. Back 3. and tribal languages creates a hierarchy. This article. doctors. The deliberate experiments Spivak makes with English in representing the Bengali dialect are creative and valid in their own terms.28/11/2010 Language in India and Central Indian states that then dominate the legislative process. Back 2. A large part of the middle class comes from these regions. Back languageinindia. Combative interactions between linguistic communities assist the democratic process by unsettling the sites of middle-class power. regional. also falls under the same constellation of ideological features but seeks to investigate the premises of middleclass power. The translated text takes on its own identity independent of the Bengali original. Originally written in Bengali. The status of Imaginary Maps as a work of translation is relevant in light of this dialogic interaction between languages. written as it is by an English-educated member of this class. stretching from clerks to lawyers. The further subordination of Urdu. The novels and the news reports under discussion reveal how the language "fix" is a part of the problem causing tensions between communities in the eighties. Chatterjee calls this class the petit bourgeoisie. much like Indianized English.
According to Joshua Fishman. the African theorist. These journalists’ assumptions are supported by the prevailing international scholarly opinion. states that an increased flow of information in developing nations in Asia and Africa makes expert knowledge available where needed and provides a forum for leadership and decision making (Language and the Nation 39). "Not by Demand Alone" (8). Lachman M. which impacts directly on the socio-economic development of a nation. The vernacular is used by the "protoelites" of a nation as an "authenticating tool for modernization." which he terms the "vernacular" (45). Back 6. Bamgbose surveys the relationship between language and national development in several multilingual African countries to show how language facilitates literacy and communication. Fishman writes that in order to satisfy demands for authenticity. Khubchandani (International Social Science Journal 169). This becomes "an intrinsic part of the birth of national consciousness among the languageinindia. Ayo Bamgbose.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 36/49 . Colin Masica (CIEFL Bulletin 13). Mishra (Link 23-24). This desire for an authentic language that will encapsulate the national identity is shared by the leadership of many nations in the late 19th and 20th centuries. for official use. Back 5. the "essence of nationality is reflected in the continuous use of language over a period of time.K.28/11/2010 Language in India 4. Sharada Venkataraman (Hindu 24). Shyam Ratna Gupta (Hindustan Times 9). and mass consensus at social change" (42-43). political consolidation. the national leadership of a developing nation will often select a particular language. as the vernacular. For example. K.
The first is the transportation phase (1600-1800) covering the power struggle between British and Indian rulers for control over land. He formulates the four stages through which English became "Inglish. the colonized other." that is. exposing the double standards inherent in colonial rule. Back 9. This is an extract from his article. Back 8. Upadhyay. languageinindia. Of particular relevance to my argument is Homi Bhabha's article "Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse. his nostalgia becomes a sign of his split desire. to create a reformed. See Bhabha's article "Postcolonial Authority and Postmodern Guilt" (Location of Culture 56-68). 1985. "Growth of Inglish in India" published in Hindu on December 3.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 37/49 . Back 7. This mimicry becomes a mockery of the colonizer. Dr." Bhabha argues that colonial discourse seeks to stamp its own image on the colonized. educated in the "civilizing" culture of his colonial masters. increasingly popular and Indianized. the colonized other mimics the colonizing self with a difference within the sameness.28/11/2010 Language in India populace" (57). recognizable Other. This image is almost but not quite the same as the colonizing power. The effect of this mimicry is disturbing for in "normalizing" the colonial subject. colonial authority alienates its own language of liberty and produces another knowledge of its norms. He is unaware that he himself becomes a site for the splitting of colonial discourse. can only hanker for a language that can unproblematically reflect its own authenticity. The discourse of post Enlightenment English colonialism therefore cannot be anything other than a mimicry of itself.
This vision also ties in with the nationalist construction of India as the motherland demanding devotion. according to Krishnamurthy. Sri Aurobindo's vision of India as a mother. However. and cultural values in the English spoken by Indians. loyalty. This idea of the mother is also essentialist in nature where India is often seen as an embodiment of the mystical east as opposed to the material west. The identity stage (1950 and after) was the final stage in the appropriation of English in India when. Sethna is the editor of Mother India. and self sacrifice of its citizens/children. The second stage is between 1850 to 1900. Back 10. accents. the need for building a modern nation has led to the use of Indian words. During this period. expressions. only the upper class had access to it. tones. This brand of "Inglish" has flourished with the growth of newspapers and magazines in India (19). all Indian universities used English as a medium of instruction. The title of this journal is significant because it is based on an Indian mystic.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 38/49 . domestic servants working in upper class households picked up some rudimentary terms.28/11/2010 Language in India commerce. British officials. a journal published on a monthly basis from 1960 onwards in Bombay and funded by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust. and other parts of the world. and activists like Tagore and Gandhi used English with an Indian flavor. During this time. Poets. and communications. English was institutionalized during the third phase (1900-1950) when it was frequently used by the Swadeshi movement to communicate with the rest of the country. when English was Indianized. English was introduced for training civil servants to spread British culture. assumptions that inform Sethna’s languageinindia. writers.
such as Hindus and Muslims.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 39/49 . However. Chatterjee claims that even before independence. Back 13. including the most minute details of language structure that would otherwise have interested only a small group of specialists. grammatical declinations. spelling. Even-Zohar argues that language conflict occurs only when there is an ideological conflict among different groups. Back 12. Since 1947.28/11/2010 Language in India orientalist ideas of English in India. "Kaif" (Research Bulletin Arts Punjab University 114). majority. minority. distinctions between the outside and inside became internal differentiations with certain kinds of Indians (Hindu. the national imaginary asserted its freedom from colonial domination by distinguishing between the outer/foreign and inner/indigenous domains of the nation (The Nation and its Fragments 6-11). upper-caste) on the inside and others (non-Hindu. pronunciation. Chatterjee is incorrect in assuming that precolonial identity was not as internally differentiated as postcolonial identities. and vocabulary may all become semiotic carriers of identity promoted or rejected by different groups (127). within a nation. The theorist Itamar Even-Zohar asserts that the linguistic diversity between the two languages has been invented by concerned communities of speakers since independence in order to effect this difference (Nationalism and Modernity: A Mediterranean Perspective 130-131). lower-caste) on the outside. word order. Back 11. Iqbal Khan languageinindia. Then everything linguistic becomes a burning issue for the conflicting parties. In the case of Hindi or Urdu.
Back 14. Khan. and Khullar state that this mixed language. and Amrit Rai (A House Divided 285-289).28/11/2010 Language in India (Times of India 5-6). in the Deccan Plateau. It grew as a response to the need for communication between Persian conquerors and their Indian subjects for 600 years. and contained a mixture of Sanskrit. when both Hindu and Muslim poets and preachers wrote in this language. Rai. Khari Boli. now called Hindustani. He believes that nations are ambivalent in their languageinindia. This common language was variously called Dakani.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 40/49 . They agree that both languages evolved around 1000 AD during the PrakritApabhransa stage with the establishment of the first Muslim dynasty in India. and Hindavi. Gurjari. these scholars believe Hindi/Urdu was at first one language which developed initially in Golconda and Bijapore. and Brij Bhasha. Peer. Arabic. before it came to North India. when Muslims and Hindus became concerned about preserving their separate identities. The British used these divisions to maintain their power by polarizing the Hindus and Muslims a polarization accentuated by the communal politics of Jinnah and the Muslim League that split the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan. K. Persian. I am using this word with particular reference to Homi Bhabha's introduction to Nation and Narration where he focuses on this turbulent and ambivalent nature of language and connects it to a similar quality within the nation(1-7). K. Spoken in the bazaars of Delhi. Khullar (Advance 20-27). Mohammed Peer (Guru Nanak Journal of Sociology 138-149). split into Urdu and Hindi since the 17th and 18th centuries with the breakup of the Mughal empire.
This quality in language enables us to understand how the nation when narrated can turn boundaries into inbetween spaces through which the meanings of cultural and political authority are negotiated. Back 15." this language would be the most privileged (48). Back 16. Bhabha's insights are valuable for understanding the language problem in India where much of the mutual demonizing of Urdu. the process of state formation creates conditions for a "unified linguistic market dominated by the official language. He also linguistically reorganized states and discouraged languageinindia. This ambivalence is reflected in national boundaries which determine those included and excluded . he had to amend it in 1967 to retain English as the associate official language.28/11/2010 Language in India transitional histories and conceptual indeterminacy.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 41/49 . not all of Bourdieu's ideas apply to India." generating a "conflict-ridden historical process" from which a "particular set of linguistic practices emerges as dominant" (Language and Symbolic Power 5). If. Nehru was unable to retain Hindi as the only official language as per the Official Languages Act in 1963. Bhabha asserts that like national discourse. However. This choice seems to endorse Pierre Bourdieu’s argument that these needs for a unifying language of state "create specific conditions of language use. and English speakers emerges from this in-between space within the nation in which all ambiguously experience themselves as self and other. as he says. the "other" is therefore never outside the nation but emerges forcefully within indigenous cultural discourse. Hindi. language is also ambivalent.a process producing unpredictable forces of political antagonism.
K. published several articles by A. This volume of Seminar. Masica adopts the stance of a disinterested scholar without an agenda. and in Andhra Pradesh. Karnataka. Naseer Khan (30-34). languageinindia. See Suman (Seminar on National Integration and Communal Harmony 165-167).The Nagpur Conference of 1920 . Language riots broke out in Madras in 1950. Back 19. Raj Bahadur Gaur (). and I. Back 17.L. M. Akhilesh Mithal (). which they construct as antinational and undemocratic. Sharada Venkataraman (Hindu 24). Kerala.K. Tikku (Hindustan Times 9).28/11/2010 Language in India any demand for special languages unless these had popular support. Mohammed Hasan (14-16). Mishra (Link 23-24). Nehru's policies proved to be unpopular. Anjuli Gupta (Hindustan Times 9) and R. and the Congress Party manifesto in 1945-46 provided the groundwork for Nehru's policies. and Venkataraman openly espouse English as an extension of their class privileges.K. a monthly magazine. Hasan Abdullah (17-19). and Punjab through the 60s and 70s. They seem to take recourse to a nationalist discourse that sets itself up against foreign influences. Khaliq Anjum (35-36). Rajendra Yadav (Link 40-42). Back 20. Raja. Shyam Ratna Gupta (Hindustan Times 9).com/…/fixinglanguage1… 42/49 . the Nehru Committee in 1923. Colin Masica (CIEFL Bulletin 7-14) and Raja (Mother India 374-76). Handa (Missing Links in the Link Language 13). the Calcutta Congress in 1937. which partly fueled the rise of militant separatist movements in the 1980s. Gopi Chand Narang (22-25). and K. Back 18. While Gupta.
the government discourages large scale institutionalization of Urdu at primary and secondary school levels. and the conducting of several signature campaigns and official commissions. breeding orthodoxy and separatism. Centripetal forces result in a unitary language which Bakhtin elaborates to be "a system of linguistic norms" which are not only grammatical rules but also "ideologically saturated" with a "world view". Every individual or collective utterance participates in the unitary language (in its centripetal. Uttar Pradesh. despite these activities. a "social phenomenon. the holding of two All India Conferences. and Andhra Pradesh were foiled in 1984 by the anti-Urdu lobby on grounds that this would encourage separatist tendencies between Hindus and Muslims. Attempts to promote Urdu as a second official language in the 1970s by Mrs. this government antipathy actually encourages Muslim parents to send their children to learn Urdu at parochial schools. language." is a "verbalideological world" comprised of centripetal and centrifugal forces (The Dialogic Imagination 259). unifying forces) and partakes of social/historical heteroglossia (centrifugal. its inclusion as an Indian language under Schedule VIII of the Constitution. awarding of prizes to Urdu writers.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 43/49 . stable nucleus of an officially recognized language" (271). such a language creates "within a heteroglot national language" the "firm. stratifying languageinindia. In their opinion. Back 22. Gandhi and the state governments of Bihar. According to Bakhtin. In their opinion. These journalists list the number of activities undertaken by the government to ostensibly promote Urdu: creation of Urdu professorships.28/11/2010 Language in India Gujral(26-29). Back 21.
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Elizabeth Taylor of Indian Politics.com/…/fixinglanguage1… 49/49 . Tilak. Philosophy Fairleigh Dickinson University nan_dita@excite. FIXING THE NATION | "Party of Eunuchs. Tarazu aur Talwar Inko Maro Jute Char. Communication. NEGATIVITY IN POLITICAL ADVERTISING AND LANGUAGE USE | LANGUAGE POLICY IN THE FORMATIVE YEARS OF INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS 1885-1905 | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR Nandita Ghosh. Ph.com languageinindia. Department of English.D." Etc. USE OF IDIOMATIC COMPOUNDS IN NEWSPAPERS | DECLARING A LANGUAGE CLASSICAL | DHVANI A Brief Overview | FIXING THE LANGUAGE.28/11/2010 Language in India FRIENDLY VERSION.
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