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

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Problematising Hindi as the ‘Self’ and English as the ‘Other’

In the light of the ongoing prioritisation of Hindi by the central government, the projection of Hindi as the “self” is problematic for several reasons. Three “self–other” binaries are discussed in this regard: Hindi–Hindu as “self,” Urdu–Muslim as “other”; Sanskrit-laden Hindi favouring upper caste Hindus as “self,” vernacular Hindi dialects often represented by the lower castes and classes as “other”; and fi nally Hindi as the epitome of “desi self,” English as “foreign other.” 

The controversy surrounding Hindi signs in the Bengaluru Metro has brought the issue of Hindi chauvinism in India to the forefront. On being asked to comment on the matter, the current government’s then Urban Development Minister, Venkaiah Naidu, referred to Hindi as the “national language,” adding,

I want that in our education policy we should consider [promoting India’s own language]. It is our misfortune that we give too much importance to English medium. (De Sarkar 2017)

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Updated On : 19th Feb, 2018

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