Thursday, January 14, 2010

DDK on the national language

The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Opinion | Something to learn and ponder
D.D. Kosambi was a Marxist polymath. From his eyrie in Deccan College, Poona, he used to wander in the hills behind, pick up sharpened pebbles (‘microliths’ in archaeologists’ jargon), and wonder which of them shepherds had used to circumcise their goats as they migrated between their winter pastures down in the hills and monsoon refuge in the Western Ghats. In a 1960 article included here, he asks what should be India’s national language. He rejects both Sanskrit and English because they were imposed by ruling classes, and Hindi because its adoption would scare Madrasis that they would be overrun by Marwari shopkeepers. Having rejected all common languages, he is left with the alternative that everyone should speak his own language — whether they understand one another or not is immaterial.


Potira said...

Its so intersting...

I need to read all this blog!

Cheers from Brazil.


Vivek said...

//In a 1960 article included here//...Where?

Is there any possibility of obtaining a copy the article under reference? The issue of Seminar in which it was published considerably predates their online archive.

For that matter, if anyone can help me find the entire issue (No. 11, I think, titled A Language for India) I would be very grateful.

Anonymous said...

@vivek: I guess the reference is to the book under review in The Telegraph:
Indian Persuasions: 50 Years of Seminar: Selected Writings Edited by Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Roli, Rs 695

I am afraid I can't help you much regarding the seminar issue.