Seminar Series -
This paper attempts to critically highlight and historically unpack issues tied to the way the bilingual divide/hierarchy has been coded into the post-1947 public domain, particularly, with respect to the social science enterprise in India as the gap between the realms of the 'academic' and the 'vernacular'. Unlike with respect to the literary sphere, where translations into English from the bhashas may perhaps be viewed polemically as seeking recognition in the global marketplace of cultural goods, the place of English and translation vis-a-vis the Indian social sciences needs to be envisaged differently.
Dwelling on the historical construction of the discourses of Indian constitutionalism and political legitimation in the years just before and after Independence pre-1947, the paper contextualizes post-1947 language policy against moves within the nationalist movement, on the one hand, to identify language as an ostensibly ‘neutral’ and legitimate marker of cultural distinctness that the nation could profitably embrace, unlike caste and religious identities while simultaneously promoting the claims about the unique efficacy of Hindi to be designated as both official and national language. The final section will consider how post-1947 policy moves on language issues have undermined and redefined the relations between our disciplines and vernacular publics as they emerged in the late nineteenth century.
This page was published on 16 April 2012