10 research outputs found

    Language and the Making of Modern India

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    Through an examination of the creation of the first linguistically organized province in India, Odisha, Pritipuspa Mishra explores the ways regional languages came to serve as the most acceptable registers of difference in post-colonial India. She argues that rather than disrupting the rise and spread of All-India nationalism, regional linguistic nationalism enabled and deepened the reach of nationalism in provincial India. Yet this positive narrative of the resolution of Indian multilingualism ignores the cost of linguistic division. Examining the case of the Adivasis of Odisha, Mishra shows how regional languages in India have come to occupy a curiously hegemonic position. Her study pushes us to rethink our understanding of the vernacular in India as a powerless medium and acknowledges the institutional power of language, contributing to global debates about linguistic justice and the governance of multilingualism

    The mortality of Hindustani

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    Divided loyalties: citizenship, regional identity and nationalism in Eastern India (1866- 1931)

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    University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2008. Major: History. Advisor: Ajay Skaria. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 248 pages. Ill.(map)some col.This dissertation poses the following question--What does the co-existence of profound linguistic difference and unitary nationalism reveal about the nature of the Indian nation and the relationship between the region and the nation in India. To this end, I focus on the period when a tactical resolution between the demands of the region and the nation occurred in India. My contention is that at the root of this resolution is the need (both at the regional and national level) to imagine a new citizen of emergent India. Through detailed studies of cultural and intellectual engagement of regional political, literary and historical organizations in early twentieth century Orissa, this dissertation traces the resolution of regional and national interests. I argue that in the period between 1900 and 1920, the emergence of the idea of a universal and politicized Indian citizen occasioned this resolution of the tension between the region and the nation. As the meanings of politics, statehood, rule and subject-hood changed due the colonial state's efforts to introduce franchise in India, both the Indian National Congress and the major regional political organization in Orissa, the Utkal Sammillani were forced to elaborate a clear relationship between Orissa as a region and the broader Indian nation in order to define the universal Indian citizen

    A noble dream? : Hindustani and Indian Nationalism in the early twentieth century

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    Multilingual diversity was the source of one of the most enduring anxieties in Indian nationalist thought. If one of the primary features of a nation was linguistic unity then how could India, with her many mother tongues, be a nation? If language formed the root of national unity by housing the most essential of national truths, impulses and aspirations then what hope did India have of holding her fragments together as multiple mother tongues whispered diverse aspirations, truths and impulses in her citizen’s ears? This concern about linguistic diversity had a number of significant implications for Indian nationalist thought about language. My paper focuses on one primary implication of this anxiety—the search for a pan Indian language that would bind the nation together- Hindustani. The need for such a language was coupled with a need to bestow on it a historic continuity that would bolster its claims as the museum of the inner life of Indians. As a result, twentieth century nationalist imagination of Hindustani emerged as a paradoxical thing—simultaneously new and ancient. l explore the intellectual history of the making of Hindustani as a possible Indian national language and its ultimate impossibility through an exploration of the work of one of the most influential linguists of twentieth century India, Suniti Kumar Chatterji. In his books about Bengali, Indo-Aryan, Hindi and North East Indian languages, Chatterji produced a narrative of Indian linguistic unity that justified the paradoxical life of Hindustani. In this paper, I trace how Chatterji’s argument about Hindustani engages with the Herderian imperative of linguistic unity and whether despite his explicit efforts, Chatterji is forced to produce a critique of western models of nationalism based on linguistic unity.<br/

    Language and the Making of Modern India

    No full text
    Through an examination of the creation of the first linguistically organized province in India, Odisha, Pritipuspa Mishra explores the ways regional languages came to serve as the most acceptable registers of difference in post-colonial India. She argues that rather than disrupting the rise and spread of All-India nationalism, regional linguistic nationalism enabled and deepened the reach of nationalism in provincial India. Yet this positive narrative of the resolution of Indian multilingualism ignores the cost of linguistic division. Examining the case of the Adivasis of Odisha, Mishra shows how regional languages in India have come to occupy a curiously hegemonic position. Her study pushes us to rethink our understanding of the vernacular in India as a powerless medium and acknowledges the institutional power of language, contributing to global debates about linguistic justice and the governance of multilingualism

    Language, nations and multilingualism: questioning the Herderian ideal

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    Language, Nations, and Multilingualism explores the legacy of Herder’s ideas about the relationship between language and nationalism in the post-colonial world. Focusing on how anti-colonial and post-colonial nations reconcile their myriad multilingualisms with the Herderian model of one language-one nation, it shows how Herder’s model is both attractive and problematic for such nations.Why then does the Herderian model have such valency? How has the Herderian ideal of one nation-one language continued to survive beneath the uncomfortable resolution struck by new multilingual nations as they create fictions of a singular national mother tongue? To what extent is Herder still relevant in our contemporary world? How have different nations negotiated the Herderian ideal in different ways? What does the way in which multilingual post-colonial nations deal with this crisis tell us about a possible alternative framework for understanding the relationship between language and nation?By approaching this investigation from diverse archives across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean, Language, Nations, and Multilingualism proposes answers to the aforementioned questions from a global perspective that takes into account the specificities of a range of colonial experiences and political regimes. And by extending the discussion backwards in time to offer a more historical reading of the making of modern nations, it allows us to see how multilingualism has always disrupted constructions of monoglot nations.<br/

    Make yourself at home: BBC and the south Asian community experience in Southampton

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    On the 10th October 1965, the TV programme ‘Make yourself at home’ aired on BBC One. A companion radio programme also appeared on BBC radio. The programme was aimed at recent immigrants from India and Pakistan. Contributors spoke a combination of Hindi, Urdu and English, providing informal language lessons based around everyday situations encountered in the UK.The broadcast marked a pivotal move in the BBC’s approach to immigration and had a lasting impact on its ethnic minority programming. While the show demonstrated an important shift in how the BBC saw its role in the public life of an increasingly multi-cultural UK, the programme also marked a crucial moment in the lives of South Asian migrants. Of particularly interest to the artists in Make yourself at home is how such programmes produced a specifically British Asian culture in the UK, and what it can tell us about the nation and the migrant. Make yourself at home is a result of an AHRC funded intergenerational project that included oral histories and facilitated workshops with first and second generation of South Asians in Southampton. The artists’ goal was to understand their engagement with and perceptions of BBC programming from the 1960s onwards, and how such programming may have shaped their identities and sense of belonging to the British nation. Also featured in Make yourself at home is work by textile artist Abeer Kayani who has studied historic BBC archives, analysing the language and lifestyle barriers faced by the South Asian immigrant community of Southampton. These barriers are represented through a series of experimental hand illustrated, screen-printed textile artworks.Make yourself at home is presented in partnership with the BBC to mark the centenary anniversary of the corporation.<br/

    Fashioning readers: canon, criticism and pedagogy in the emergence of modern Oriya literature

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    Through a brief history of a widely published canon debate in nineteenth century Orissa, this article describes how anxieties about the quality of ‘traditional’ Oriya literature served as a site for imagining a cohesive Oriya public who would become the consumers and beneficiaries of a new, modernized Oriya-language canon. A public controversy about the status of Oriya literature was initiated in the 1890s with the publication of a serialized critique of the works of Upendra Bhanja, a very popular pre-colonial Oriya poet. The critic argued that Bhanja’s writing was not true poetry, that it did not speak to the contemporary era, and that it featured embarrassingly detailed discussions of obscene material. By unpacking the terms of this criticism and Oriya responses to it, I reveal how at the heart of these discussions were concerns about community building that presupposed a new kind of readership of literature in the Oriya language. Ultimately, this article offers a longer, regional history to the emerging concern of post-colonial scholarship with relationships between publication histories, readerships, and broader ideas of community – local, Indian, and global
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