Language Conundrum

  • Papia Sengupta


This chapter presents arguments that support language as politics, taking its cue from the philosophy of language and probing how language as speech and expression is a political act. The position of the Indian National Congress and other Indian associations relevant to the language issue in India is elucidated. Demonstrating the use of language during the partition of Bengal in 1905, the chapter asserts the role of political leaders and spokesmen with regard to the language controversy between Hindi–Hindustani. Further, it notes how language was associated with the Dravidian movement.


Indian National Congress Partition of Bengal Gandhi Hindustani Self-respect movement 


  1. All India Congress Committee. 1928. All Parties Conference Report. Allahabad.Google Scholar
  2. Austin, Granville. 2014. The Indian Constitution: Cornerstone of a Nation. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Brock, Peter. 1995. Mahatma Gandhi as a Linguistic Nationalist. New Delhi: South Asia Publications.Google Scholar
  4. Correspondent. 2010. Sanskrit Second Official Language of Uttarakhand. The Hindu, Online edition 21st January. Accessed 15 Feb 2015.
  5. Gandhi, Mohandas Karam Chand. 1931. Young India, April 9.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 1956. Thoughts on National Language. Ahmedabad: Navjivan Publishing House.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 1964. “Reply to Mrs. Besant” dated 17th February1916. In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Volume XIII, Jan 1915 to October 1917. Publications Division: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.Google Scholar
  8. Geetha, V., and S.V. Rajadurai. 1993. Dalits and Non-Brahmin Consciousness in Colonial Tamil Nadu. Economic and Political Weekly 28 (39): 2091–2098.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 1995. One Hundred Years of Brahminitude: Arrival of Annie Besant. Economic and Political Weekly 30 (28): 1768–1773.Google Scholar
  10. Government of India. 1930. Indian Statutory Commission. Calcutta: Central Publication Branch.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 1955. Report of the States Reorganisation Commission. Ministry of Home Affairs.Google Scholar
  12. Kodesia, Krishna. 1969. The Problem of Linguistic States in India. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers (P) Ltd.Google Scholar
  13. Parliament of India. 1952. Parliamentary Debates of India, Vol. III, No. 7. Delhi: Lok Sabha Secretariat.Google Scholar
  14. Ram, Mohan. 1974. Ramaswami Naicker and the Dravidian Movement. Economic and Political Weekly 9 (6/8): 217–224.Google Scholar
  15. Saksena, B.R. 1972. Gandhiji’s Solution of the Language Problem of India. Bombay: Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Research Centre, Hindustani Pracharani Sabha.Google Scholar
  16. Schwartzberg, Joseph E. 2010. Factors in the Linguistic Reorganization of Indian States. In Language and Politics in India, ed. Asha Sarangi. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Sengupta, Papia, and T. Ravi Kumar. 2008. Linguistic Diversity and Disparate Growth. Economic and Political Weekly 43 (33): 8–1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Papia Sengupta
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Political StudiesJawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations