[Reader-list] Placing Hindi in the democratic-federal setup (Posting 6)

himanshu ranjan himanshusamvad at yahoo.co.in
Sat Jun 25 19:57:14 IST 2005

Placing Hindi in the democratic-federal setup (Posting 6)
     Now, presenting the sixth and the last posting, I am really in a fix. Getting badly involved in hotch-potch studies, collecting reference material that are contradictory enough to puzzle one and oscilating historically between the two thorny poles of 1857 and 1947, it is I, an untrained and, rather anarchist fellow for such an inter-disciplinary academic venture! There is already a demarcating clue in the subject that gives particularity and restricts me to the domain. The growth and role of Allahabad as a cultural centre of modern esteem fall exactly in the span of the first half of thelast century. The nineteenth century renaissance is the backgrounder and the period after partition that makes roads to the present, is the aftermath extention that needs deep instrospection. Particularly, the sixth decade is a crucial one that depicts the real face of independence and that of the fractured culture -conscience of the new modern nation-state. And this also precipitates on the very
 spot, Allahabad!
     Identity-politics, based on religion and language, was the main under-current of our national movement. Factors of secularism and democracy were there, but the former being very diluted and the latter being dictated by the peculiar moral vision of Gandhi. Some more radical ideologies like socialism and communism certainly helped and checked the right deviations, but they were not so assertive and capable enough to play decissive roles. The whole spectrum was doomed to fall in the lines of religious nationalism and its communal deformations. Yes, the prolonged efforts of that failed radicality, at least, saved democracy in India and paved the way for its more radical multi-dimentions to grow on. The Hindi movement of nineteenth century intertwined with the cow-protection movement culminated in the naked manipulations of the constituent assembly debates and won the state-language status. But it was the tragic end of 'Godan', forecasted very early by Premchand! 
     The Constitution provided a federal structure for our democracy, but a centralistic one. Hindi of the Hindu-Brahminical order just fitted into this centralistic line of governance. But the constituents of a state machinery are not the same as those of a language or state-language. The state can exploit the otherwise means by force which the state language cannot. It has to work within the autonomous and intrinsic capacities of its own.
     Coming back to my formulations, I am trying to derive a system out of the fluctuating and diversified developments of the whole phenomenon. Restricting myself to this field of language development, whose inward and outward dimentions would encapsulate the varied socio-political and cultural aspects of this Hindi-Urdu belt in particular I think, I am in the process of preparing five to six cahpters of my desertation. The Hindu-Hindi saw the house-divided and threw Urdu in the hands of the Muslim separatists. But, as stated before, language cannot be completely a state-affair. Urdu is, and must remain, still here, in this Hindi-Urdu belt. Similarly, the numerous small nationality languages, cut to size of dilects, are also here to fight against the hegemoney of Hindi, to develop themselves and also to extend their cultural support to the enrichment of Hindi and Urdu both. Other full-fledged national languages of India, regarded as provincial ones, deserve and demand the democratic
 fraternal relations with this state language Hindi in this federal structure. Lastly, the emperial English is in the position of the shrewd monkey in the fable of quarreling cats. Why bilinguism, placing English necessarily at one end? Why not multi-linguism first, placing different national languages of India at different ends, interacting one to one bilineally and secondly, repeating the same process with foreign languages including English prominently.
                                                                         Himanshu Ranjan
                                                                       An independent CSDS Fellow

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