As we will see in the example of Pakistan, India and Indonesia Anthropologists Susan Gal and Judith Irvine during the 1990’s already stated that Nationalist ideologies have the capability to construct boundaries of languages from what had previously been fluid interactions. 1

In the case of S.Asia/India, despite being the language of only a very small percentage of elite educated in colonial institutions, English was the one language that could claim some kind of pan-Indian cosmopolitan spread. But in the first decades of India's independence, English, as the language of the colonizer, was perceived as a foreign imposition, something which could never nourish the national genius of Indians and which should be expelled as soon as possible. The riddle then became what the indigenous language could serve as a national, official language. While census data on Hindi speakers showed it to be the most widely spoken language in India, it could never claim more than forty percent of the population, and even this claim might well have been an artifact of the practice of census-taking and language nominalization-for the process would collapse speakers of many different speech-forms (dialects or languages) into the category of Hindi. 2

In addition to Hindi, twelve other modern languages with extensive literary traditions and millions of speakers posed something of a hurdle to any presumptive declaration of Hindi as a national language in the singular. What the constitution-makers chose as a compromise formulation was a sort of three-tier management: legally, "Hindi in the Devanagari script" was enshrined as the "official language," with a safety-valve provisions for the use of English until Hindi could be properly "developed" to assume all official and link functions after a period of fifteen years. But this was a decision reached only after significant debate, and only by the thinnest of margins according to the testimony of the chairman of the constitution drafting committee, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: It may now not be a breach of a secret if I reveal to the public what happened in the Congress Party meeting when the Draft Constitution of India was being considered, on the issue of adopting Hindi as the national language. There was no article that proved more controversial than Article 115 which deals with the question. No article produced more opposition. No article, more heat. After a prolonged discussion when the question was put, the vote was 78 against 78. The tie could not be resolved. After a long time when the question was put to the Party meeting the result was 77 against 78 for Hindi. Hindi won its place as a national language by one vote.

By the time the first fifteen years of constitutionally-permitted English use were about to expire, an unexpectedly violent protest against Hindi took place. This resistance was strongest in Madras state, wherein 1964 and 1965 several young men spectacularly killed themselves (by self-immolation and drinking poison) in protest against Hindi and in devotion to Tamil. Such objections were not limited to Tamil speakers alone; Bengal and Mysore states and the then-autonomous Government of Kashmir had serious reservations about Hindi assuming the sole status of official language.3

The argument against Hindi as the sole official language, should English be de-certified as an acceptable alternative, was that although the Hindi speakers presented the question as simply a matter of national expediency, in all cases where Hindi was closely in competition with another language (Urdu and Punjabi, notably), the Hindi lobby displayed its rampant chauvinism and attempted to impose itself as if by right. The Hindi language advocates such as the Arya Samaj, Arya Sanskriti, Arya Bhasha and Arya Upi alienated Muslims and Sikhs in the North, their co-religionists in the south-by virtue of the south's own growing Dravidian pride-could hardly be willing supporters either.

So the official language compromise with English perdured, conceptualized as perennially supposed-to-be-superseded-by the more "Indian" Hindi, though the hindsight of more than fifty years suggests that will never come to pass, not to mention the fact that Indian literature in English and the dramatic rise in global prominence of Indian science (conducted and published virtually entirely in English) has very effectively established the language's national bona fides. At the same time, early planners' concern that Hindi was not yet suitably "developed" for modem life has surely been answered; the language has undergone something of a wholesale transformation since Independence, having been endowed with a highly Sanskritic vocabulary for the lexicon of modern life. Rather, this compromise formulation of the official language is "Hindi in the Devanagari script" supported by English has, over time, proved to be a solution that appears to least offend-though notably not the unitary national language that had originally been imagined.

Aside from the matter of official language was the dilemma of "linguistic provinces." This was a question of political administration debated long before independence; the solution would, in fact, replicate the decision the Indian National Congress had taken to facilitate its anti-colonial struggle. Under Gandhi's leadership, the Congress had long championed Hindi-Hindustani as the emblematic all-India language, in both Devanagari and Persian script forms. But the Congress as well recognized that in terms of organization and political expediency, it could better function through a regional-language architecture. After Independence, the Constituent Assembly appointed the Linguistic Provinces Committee to study the issue. No easy compromise could be found; to be sure, the committee recognized that there was considerable demand for the redrawing of provincial boundaries and that administering education, public life, and legislatures would be expedited if they could be organized into more homogenous linguistic units. But they were concerned above all about whether the formation of new boundaries along linguistic lines would bring new sub nationalisms into existence, and further what the impact might be in terms of creating new relations of majority-minority dynamics.4

For example, should a new Kannada-speaking state be carved out of Madras and Mysore states, a significant minority of Marathi-speakers would find themselves in a new subordinate position? Within the south, in what was then-Madras state, agitations emerged for a separate state of Telugu speakers as well as a partitioning of Marathi and Kannada speakers. Gujarati speakers in Bombay State argued for a separate Gujarati-speaking state; Marathi-speakers wanted a Maharashtra. Punjabi-speakers sought to rescue themselves from minority status in a Punjab that had suddenly become primarily Hindi speaking as a result of Partition and the exodus of millions of Punjabi-speaking Muslims to Pakistan. The question of linguistic provinces became a serious matter of public debate, with the biggest names in Indian political life issuing reports either recommending a linguistic province's reorganization (Ambedkar, for example) or against, it, for example, Patel, Sitaramayya, and Nehru. 5

The argument against however raised the specter of imminent Balkanization, invoking the recent trauma of Partition and the necessity for the Indian Union to foster great unity rather than further divisions, exemplified by this sentence from the Patel, Sitaramayya, and Nehru report: "The context demands, above everything, the consolidation of India and her freedom...the promotion of unity in India It demands further stem discouragement of communalism, provincialism, and all other separatist and disruptive tendencies.6

Despite this, a massive reorganization of state boundaries did indeed take place, in shifts, absolutely along linguistic lines, and through a process of combining princely states and carving up the huge British-organized "presidencies." First, the 1953 Andhra State Act carved a Telugu-speaking state of Andhra out of Madras. Chandemagore was folded into West Bengal in 1954. Then the 1956 states reorganization produced the "new" states of Andhra Pradesh (by adding more territory to Andhra), Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu; it also redesigned the borders of Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, and the various Union territories. The 1959 Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh Transfer of Territories Act reapportioned land to each; the 1960 Bombay Reorganization Act created Gujarat and Maharashtra; the 1962 Nagaland Act created Nagaland; the 1966 Punjab Reorganization Act forged a new Hindi-speaking Haryana and created majority Punjabi-speaking Punjab. The 1968 Andhra Pradesh and Mysore Transfer of Territory act created Kannada-speaking Karnataka, and finally, the 1971 North-eastern States Reorganization Act threw up Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh. The 1990 language conflict in Bangalore for example, has involved anti-Tamil demonstrations, and protests against attempts in 1994 to broadcast Urdu-language news on local (state-operated) television Bangalore, resulting in protests.7

Nearly fifty years after the reorganization of the major state of 1956, most contemporary observers judge the administrative organization to have been a policy success, for language conflict is now relatively rare (again, Assam the salient exception) and language riots practically Did the creation of more homogenous administrative territories produce new sub nationalisms? From the perspective of the center, the answer appears to be broadly no. Yet if we ask this same question from another vantage point, that of speakers of a minority language within the linguistically demarcated states, we do find that the majoritarian language hegemony Patel, Sitaramaya, and Nehru worried about has come to pass. Two points should be noted in this regard. First, for minority language speakers within states-using Dua's example of Dakkani speakers in Mysore-the required language repertoire can be as high as five languages (Dakkani, high Urdu, Kannada, Hindi, English). This is a dramatic load compared to a Hindi belter's ability to get by studying only Hindi and English.8

Yet this appears not to be a significant source of conflict, and in any event, high levels of multilingualism have long characterized the South Asian region. But the second point, perhaps more apposite, lies in the way that new relationships of linguistic categories have indeed created new minorities and new majorities with unequal relations of power. After the reorganization of the major state in 1956, individual states in India passed their own state-level laws to promote and develop various official languages of the state. The composite Hindustani effort would end, to be replaced by separate Hindi and Urdu broadcasts. Regional nodes of AIR (renamed Akashvani, or ''voice from the sky" in official Hindi), would create programming in regional languages, following the pattern of the linguistic provinces. Doordarshan, India's state television, follows a similar structure: national programs are created in Hindi and English, relayed throughout the country, with additional programs created at the state level in the various regional languages. India's unique literary heritage was considered so critical for national development that a government resolution in 1954 created the Sahitya Akademi (India's National Academy of Letters). It began operation in 1956. The Sahitya Akademi exists entirely to serve as a sort of national bureau of literary recognition, with programs to translate work from one Indian language into another, as well as into English, not to mention the annual bestowing of awards for literary merit in each of the languages recognized in the Constitution. This is a self-conscious effort to establish a national sensibility of unity-in-diversity through literature. Of course, the project is not without its conceptual dilemmas. As Sheldon Pollock argues, a paradox inheres in the fact that this Akademi had to be created in order to forge awareness of the national literature it assumes to already exist.9

Jyotirindra Das Gupta in turn  notes, the "Hindi literati" played a significant role in the creation of modem standard Hindi-picking up from where the Hindi language movement left off in the late 19th century, coining an extensive array of new terms for modern life from Sanskrit, and promoting a brand new form of the language that aimed to create a veneer of a different kind of linguistic genealogy, i.e., the modem inheritor of the great Sanskrit tradition.10

The post Independence efforts to make a national language in the singular fell on the sword of its own diversity, producing a multilingual national policy that effectively mirrors the sort of multilingual existence deep-rooted in the region. In this sense practices with much longer precedents rode roughshod over the bureaucratic imagined idea of a national language. The ideological "content" carried by the national language project and its proponents, namely organizations seeking to fuse the national language and thereby the nation with an Aryan overlay, was the most important feature of the conflict with India's southern states, particularly Tamil Nadu. The Dravidian anti-Brahmin populism which characterized the state's politics of the 50s and 60s could hardly have welcomed the introduction of a language explicitly presented as some high-water mark of Aryan cultural achievement. This demonstrates how the social-ideological context trumped the program for forging national linguistic unanimity. Secondly, the case of India shows how and why literature and its histories matter. Long senses of literary traditions inscribe the history of regions with cultural exemplars, a narrative biography of a language's past. These ideas are difficult to undo. But because of its size, the decision to administer a federal system with states drawn along lines of language communities, and considerable efforts to incorporate the work of the many language associations as effective arms of language policy, perhaps India cannot offer the most appropriate comparison for the language policy decisions taken by Pakistan. The Pakistani nation-state sought to present Urdu as the natural and exclusive emblem of the Muslim nation of the Indian subcontinent, investing the idea of the language with a peculiar religious sacredness, this claim would pragmatically dissociate the literary traditions central to Pakistan's regional languages from the realm of faith. Partition ushered in the era of the nation-form along with its essentialist presumptions of large-scale uniformity, including in the realm of language. This pursuit, in India as well as in Pakistan, drew upon teleological narratives of the past and of a religious community that had their roots in a nineteenth-century language controversy in northern India. Specifically, the presumption that Urdu was the obvious national language of the region's Muslims was the outcome of two intertwined phenomena: the geographical base of the Muslim League's primary support, and the pre-history of what became known as the "Hindi-Urdu controversy." Up until 1946 the primary support for the Muslim League's Pakistan demand was located in the North-West Provinces, termed the "Muslim minority" provinces. This was the very same territory of the contentious Hindi-Urdu controversy that took place in the second half of the nineteenth century. This meant that a salient political issue for Muslims in the region was the "protection" of Urdu, even though Muslims in the vast expanse of British India and the various princely states obviously spoke a wide variety of other languages; but with the political core centered on the North-West Provinces, ideas about who and what constituted Islamic India collapsed the cultural imagination onto the great historical and cultural traditions of that particular land to the exclusion of everywhere else. Indeed, the historical record here underscores the contention of linguistic controversy, which paved the way for a growing consensus that linked language and religion into the slogans "Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan" in opposition to "Urdu-Muslim Pakistan“." The social and literary histories of Hindi, Urdu, and their schismogenesis are now becoming voluminous.11

Given the factual conundrum that neither Hindi nor Urdu, at least in the forms they would assume by the twentieth century, had any particular role in sacred religious texts, their opposition appears all the more perplexing in retrospect. In effect, these two languages would become the bearers of religion first, then nation by proxy. In fact, what is called Urdu today could-at any point from perhaps the late sixteenth through nineteenth centuries-have been called, variously, Hindu, Hindi, Dihlavī , Gujari, Dakhini or Dakkhani (دکنی), Rekhtah, "Moors" (a British coinage), Hindoostanic, Hindoostanee, and so on...

The former usage of "Moors" apparently was synonymous with "the black language," at least for officers of the Royal army.12

The name "Urdu" is itself a short form of "Zaban-e-Urdu-e-Mu'alla," or "Language of the Exalted (Military) Camp" -attesting to the belief that the language's origins lie in the interaction of Turkish and Persian-speaking military troops with indigenous Indian soldiers in the Mughal employ. This is the standard narrative of Urdu's birth, though even that is under revision.

Shamsur Rahman Faruqi argued that the name ''Urdu'' did not come into existence until the end of the eighteenth century, the very tail end of the historical period which supposedly produced the language. And that the belief that the name "Urdu" referenced the military camp is incorrect, and that it refers to Shahjahanabad instead, and that the actual birth of Urdu as a literary language stemmed from the production of works by Sufis in the Deccan and in Gujarat.13

And like our above case study suggested, As the nineteenth century continued, advocacy for Hindi in the Nagari script continued to gain force, and the demands became political. Hindi advocates petitioned the colonial authorities for the equal privilege to use Nagari-script Hindi in the courts, and as well for the right to a Hindi-language primary education. Pamphleteering for Hindi's right to participate in the official spheres of public life allied the language with the masses-the Hindu masses-and forged a discourse at once about religion and the spread democracy, through language. Urdu was figured as a foreign imposition, an alien script with alien words that came from alien invaders. As Hindi became a more potent sociopolitical force, Urdu speakers felt themselves under attack. Urdu then became a language in need of "defending," a language represented by its partisan proponents as a core aspect of Muslim life itself. The Hindi-Urdu Controversy in north India, in conjunction with movements for religious reformation within Hinduism and Islam slightly predating and continuing during the same period, participated in community schismogenesis, a process which at its endpoints, would result in the complete association of Urdu with Islam and Hindi with Hinduism. And while it is generally recognized to have been an important concern for residents of the North-West Provinces, it rose to a similar level of primacy in the territories which would eventually form Pakistan. In fact, by the time of Pakistan's birth, the elision of Urdu-Muslim-Pakistan was complete, and yet highly controversial. There was a disjuncture between the territorial imagination of the Urdu Muslim synecdoche and the actual practical situation of the territory that was Muslim-majority and which would become Pakistan.

In sharp contrast, Indonesia's national language planners explicitly crafted Bahasa Indonesia as a unique modem instrument of expression, one without a deep past, literally "constructed" (Pembangunan) as one might build a gleaming skyscraper to signal an ascendant national modernization. One was a religion, the other a science.


The similarities between Pakistan and Indonesia are so striking that one wonders why the two rarely received sustained attention in a comparative fashion. Born within two years of each other-the two countries share a number of common features. Prior to 1971, both countries were nearly the same size in population trends: Pakistan had 75 million people in 1951, compared to Indonesia's 84 million in the same year.14

Since 1971 and Pakistan's truncation, Indonesia is much more populous, home to the largest Muslim population in the world, and Pakistan is now the second; recent population figures are 206 million for Indonesia (2000 census) and 150 million for Pakistan (estimate based on 1998 census). Both countries are overwhelmingly Muslim, approximately 97% for Pakistan and 88% for Indonesia.

Both have been ruled by authoritarian regimes for the better part of their independent existence, and have long had highly centralized polities. The military has and continues to play a disproportionate role in politics, industry, and society in both countries. Up until the mid-1970s, both countries had similar human development indicators in terms of literacy and per capita income. Indonesia's economic miracle began to take off with the discovery of oil in the early 1970s but really took flight in the 1980s. Indeed it was not until 1986 that President Suharto would make primary education universal in the country and by now a vast gulf of literacy and education separates Indonesia from Pakistan. Both countries are home to bewildering ethnolinguistic diversity, yet within that diverse mosaic, both have a dominant ethnic group comprising approximately half of the population: Punjab's 56% of Pakistan, and the Javanese 48% of Indonesia. For example, illiteracy in Indonesia decreased from 39% (1971) to 10% (1999).

Both chose national languages which were the first languages of only a tiny percentage of the population: at independence, native Bahasa -Indonesia speakers comprised only 4.9% of Indonesia's population; native Urdu speakers comprised no more than three percent of Pakistan (East and West wings; 7% of the West wing alone) at the same moment. Most importantly for my argument here, Indonesia sought to use Bahasa Indonesia to create a cohesive Indonesian identity, envisioned as secular whereas Pakistan sought to use Urdu to forge a cohesive identity envisioned as Islamic. Indonesia's efforts to propagate its national language have by all accounts achieved successes that make Pakistan's troubled experience with Urdu all the more striking, given the two countries' broad similarities.

Bahasa Indonesia is the state-developed form of a lingua franca, Malay, which had developed across the sea trade routes in Southeast Asia. Malay is widely used in southeast Asia, for in another national version (Bahasa Melayu) it is the national language of Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore (where it is one of the four national languages), and it is in use though without official patronage in two southern provinces of Thailand. Malay is a member of the Austronesian language family, as are many of the other major Indonesian languages, such as Javanese, Sundanese, Balinese, Batak. The region was deeply influenced by contact with Hinduism and Buddhism, reflected in the fact that up until the fifteenth century, Malay was written with a Sanskrit-derived script. Malay developed in a context in which Tamil, Arabic, Javanese, Chinese, Bengali, and Gujarati all interacted. Islam as we have seen elsewhere, came relatively late to the region, via traders in the fourteenth century, but its influence was quickly felt on the written language: between the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries, an Arabic-derived script called "Jawi" superseded the Sanskritic script.

With colonization by the Dutch (Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia) as well as the British (British Malaya, now Malaysia and Singapore), in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries a roman alphabet ("Romi") as well as the first dictionaries were developed for this lingua franca, a preoccupation in particular of Dutch philologist-colonizers. The roman script is now the official script in use today for Malay Indonesian. As a lingua franca, Malay was used by traders and those who encountered them in the region. Its minimalist grammatical features (in its lingua franca form) bear witness to this: for example, verbs are not conjugated for tense, there is no gender nor plural forms of nouns (plurals are indicated by reduplication), word order is variable, and there are no honorific forms. This sets Malay apart from Javanese, which has very highly structured hierarchy embedded in the language itself.15

In Javanese, it is not simply that one adds honorific titles or particles to words; rather, there are distinct modes of speaking that depend on the speaker's place in relation to the addressee. While Malay was a commercial language that spread-again, in a lingua franca form-due to merchant travels, we should also note that Old Malay was the language of the state of the Sriwijaya empire, centered in southern Sumatra. The much more populous island of Java, however, was the site of the region's literary giant, Javanese. It was an important language of the Majapahit kingdoms, and it includes extensive poetic traditions, performing arts, and written epics. Javanese managed to survive and indeed flourish from the impact of Sanskrit and Pali influence (early Hindu and Buddhist periods) as well as the sacred language of Arabic when Islam gradually became the dominant religion of the archipelago from the fourteenth century onwards. The famed Javanese epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, are of course drawn from the eponymous Indian Sanskrit literary works, the performance of which comprises the primary form of popular theater in several distinct puppet-theater forms in Java. Given the rich cultural heritage of Javanese, it is perhaps surprising that this lingua franca, Malay, would become the national language. But it was a purposeful choice, one made by those challenging colonial authority. Nearly all narratives-oral or written-of Indonesia's independence struggle and the development of Bahasa Indonesia as the national language invoke the Sumpah Pemuda, or Youth Pledge, as a moment that crystallized the fusion of the anti-colonial nationalist movement with a vision of civic national belonging and a singular language. Firstly: We the sons and daughters of Indonesia declare that we belong to one fatherland, Indonesia Secondly: We the sons and daughters of Indonesia declare that we belong to one nation, the Indonesian nation. Thirdly: We the sons and daughters of Indonesia uphold as the language of unity the Indonesian language.16

This Youth Pledge, taken by a group of nationalists at the second Youth Congress on October 28, 1928, forms the commemorative basis for the Indonesian nation and is celebrated annually. This Congress-in the same way that Ekushe functions for Bangladesh-marks the beginning of the historical narrative of the Indonesian nation that culminates with its independence. Its significance is widely accepted, and the story of the Second Youth Congress is told and re-told today as the national point of origin. The Youth Congress chose a language for this national exercise that they knew had only shallow, but far more geographically widespread, roots in the region. It was the language of no one for all intents and purposes-but the young nationalists felt (with great foresight) that it offered the best opportunity to unify a disparate region into one with a larger sense of cohesion. The Indonesian nation and its national language were literally willed into being.17

Of course, two moments in the pre-Independence history had lain some of the groundwork for Indonesian to emerge with the possibility of becoming a national language. First, the Dutch had patronized Malay and their work in developing dictionaries and basic readers resulted in the systematization of bazaar Malay, or brabble Maleisch, into "school Malay," which then became the language of educated Indonesian elite. See Hoffman, "A Foreign Investment: Indies Malay to 1901." Professor Anton Moeliono, the former head of Indonesia's Pusat Bahasa (Language Center) and the intellectual inheritor of Alisjahbana's role in terms of stewardship of the national language, believes that modern Indonesian grew out of school Malay, not from bazaar Malay.18

It was, however, only used by those fortunate enough to attend the limited number of colonial schools (the number of Indonesians educated in Dutch was fewer still). Balai Pustaka, the colonial publishing house, offered short literary works in this emergent school Malay, while also publishing in Javanese and Sundanese. The nationalist intellectuals, however, sought something different than a school-gibberish and began to create new reading materials in Indonesian that would "satisfy the demands for more nationalistic literature. Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana was the towering figure among these nationalists. His prolific writings-in English as well as in Indonesian-exemplify the spirit of modernist enthusiasm for the great project of new language-making as nation-making. High modernist ideals of systemization led to spelling reforms, the development of new vocabularies for new fields, and the emergence of literary magazines written in this new language. A mere glance at the titles of some of his many English-language writings readily illustrates his focus on the nexus of language, nation, and becoming modern. In Indonesian, Alisjahbana would go on to found a new literary magazine in 1933, Pujangga Baru ("New Poet"), as well as take part in the writings which became known as the "cultural polemics," or Polemik Kebudayaan. Secondly, the three years of the Japanese occupation of Indonesia (1942-45), according to nearly every historian of language in this period, eliminated what had been the prestige relationship of Dutch to the archipelago by eliminating its use entirely.

One should acknowledge however that in the case of all the independence movements mentioned above (movements that imagined nations that had never before existed), we're able to convert the masses who did not actually read. This suggests that national consciousness can indeed coalesce through oral communication, public addresses, and other forms of non-print communication that can take place in multiple, even mixed, language forms.

To this one can add that because language contact and geographical displacement imply various kinds of social change, it is inferred that the contact between "Indus" language and the Munda/Para-Munda languages was somewhat intense, implying a fairly high degree of socioeconomic integration. The same was true later, of the contact between OIA (presumably both the inner and outer varieties) and the local languages, which presumably included both "Indus" and Para-Munda. In both  cases, if "Indus" and Para-Munda were languages of the Indus Valley culture (respectively a local language and an interregional lingua franca), then it would not be surprising if such contact occurred; nor would it be surprising if early speakers of Indo-Persian interacted with the local people in similar ways, given the need of pastoralists for agricultural produce. Interactions between Dravidian and Indo-Persian speakers appear to be somewhat later, and perhaps occurred first in a place called "Sindh" also spelled Sind, which is furthermore the name of a province of southeastern Pakistan. It is bordered by the provinces of Balochistān on the west and north, Punjab on the northeast.

In fact Dravidian languages were present probably by 1000 BCE if not earlier. And Dravidian place name suffixes are found in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Sindh, and Dravidian may have played a role in the southern cities of the Indus Valley culture in Sindh and Gujarat. Outer Indo-Persian languages probably appeared in this area by the mid-second millennium BCE or earlier.

Following are early languages in contact with each other in various parts of the subcontinent:

The Prakrits provide some suggestions of regional dialect variation but there is no knowledge of the relationship between the literary tradition that has been handed, and the actual usage of the majority of Indo-Persian speakers. Evidence suggests that regional variation was probably greater, even from the earliest times, than one can infer from any analysis of the traditional texts. The Nuristani or Kafiri languages, a separate branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, may have found their way to their current locations a few centuries earlier. Korku, a North Munda language listed above, is spoken in Nimar District of Madhya Pradesh. And Speakers of outer Indo-European may also have entered the Kosala/Avadh area from the Narmada across the Vindhya complex, via the valleys of the Son and other rivers.

But for all its ups and downs Persian is still spoken beyond the borders of Iran (as Dari, (درى). Dari is the variety of Persian spoken in Afghanistan, where it is one of the two official languages, along with Pashto, and is used as a lingua franca among the different language communities. Dari is also used as the medium of instruction in Afghan schools, and beyond that in Tajikistan (as Tajik), famed for its poetry.

The attractions of the Buddha's teachings  caused the spread of  Sanskrit in its path northward, round the Himalayas to Tibet, China, Korea and Japan (for all we know,  Buddha  lived in the fifth century BC, in the lower valley of the Ganges, speaking a Prakrit known as Magadhi). The faith he founded spread all over India and Sri Lanka, as well as into Burma, its scriptures largely written in a closely related Prakrit, Pali, but also, more and more over time, in classical Sanskrit. Besides the spread to South-East Asia, the most influential path that Buddhism took was to Kashmir, and back to the homeland of Sanskrit itself in Panjab and Swat.


1. See "The Boundaries of Languages and Disciplines: How Ideologies Construct Difference." Social Research 62, no. 1, 1995. For an example of this phenomenon in Africa see Patrick Harries, "Discovering Languages: the historical origins of standard Tsonga in southern Africa," in Language and Social History: studies in South African sociolinguistics., ed. Ranjend Mesthie (Cape Town: David Philip, 1995.

2. See Arjun Appadurai, "Number in the Colonial Imagination," in Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament, ed. Carol A Breckenridge and Peter van der Veer, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993.

3. For details see Ramaswamy, Passions of the Tongue.

4. See Government of India Constituent Assembly of India, "Report of the Linguistic Provinces Commission," New Delhi, 1948, p.1.

5.Ambedkar, Thoughts on linguistic States, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya. and Jawaharlal Nehru, Report of the Linguistic Provinces Committee appointed by the Jaipur Congress, Dec. 1948; New Delhi: Indian National Congress, 1953.

6. Patel, Sitaramayya, and Nehru, Report of the Linguistic Provinces Committee, 4.

7. See Asghar All Engineer, "Bangalore Violence: Linguistic or Communal?," Economic and Political Weekly, October 29, 1994, Janaki Nair, "Kannada and Politics of State Protection," Economic and Political Weekly, October 29, 1994.

8. For details see Hans Raj Dua, Language Use, Attitudes and Identity Among linguistic Minorities, ed. D.P. Pattanayak, vol. 8, CIIL Sociolinguistics Series (Mysore: Central Institute of Indian Languages, CIIL, 1986.

9. Pollock. "Literary Cultures in History,"

10. See "Official Language: Policy and Implementation" and ''Language Associations: Organizational Pattern" in Das Gupta. Language Conflict and National Development, 159-224.

11 .On Hindi before the nation, see especially Vasudha Dalmia, The Nationalization of Hindu Traditions: Bharatendu Harischandra and Nineteenth-century Banaras (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1997), Christopher R. King, One Language, Two Scripts: The Hindi Movement in Nineteenth-Century North India (Bombay: Oxford University Press, 1994), Stuart McGregor, "The Progress of Hindi, Part 1: The Development of a Transregional Idiom," in Literary Cultures in History, ed. Sheldon Pollock (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 2003), Pandey, The Construction of Communalism in Colonial North India, 201-32, Alok Rai, "Making a Difference: Hindi, 1880-1930," Annual of Urdu Studies 10 (1995), Amrit Rai, A House Divided: The Origin and Development of Hindi/Hindavi (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1984). On Urdu before the nation, see Brass, Language, Religion and Politics in North India, 119-81, Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, Early Urdu Literary Culture and History (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2001), Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, "A Long History of Urdu Literary Culture. Part 1: Naming and Placing a Literary Culture," in Literary Cultures in History, ed. Sheldon Pollock (Berkeley, London, New York: University of California Press, 2003), Ayesha Jalal, Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam Since 1850 (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), 102-38. Francis Robinson. Separatism among Indian Muslims: the politics of the United Provinces'Muslims, 1860-1923. vol. 16, Cambridge South Asian Series (London: Cambridge University Press, 1974), 33-132. On Hindi after the nation. see especially Alok Rai, Hindi Nationalism (New Delhi: Orient Longman. 2000). Harish Trivedi, "The Progress of Hindi, Part 2: Hindi and the Nation," in Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia, ed. Sheldon Pollock (Berkeley, Los Angeles. London: University of California Press, 2(03). On Urdu after the nation, see Ahmad, "Some Reflections on Urdu.", Aijaz Ahmed. "In the Mirror of Urdu: Recompositions of Nation and Community, 1947-65;' in Lineages of the Present: Political Essays (Delhi: Tulika Press. 1993 [1996]), Philip Oldenburg, "'A Place Insufficiently Imagined': Language, Belief, and the Pakistan Crisis of 1971," Journal of Asian Studies 44. no. 4 (1985), Tariq Rahman, "The Urdu-English Controversy in Pakistan," Modern Asian Studies 31, no. I (1997).

12. See Henry Yule and A.C. Burnell, Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographic, and Discursive, Reprint ed. (London: Routledge & Keegan Paul, 1996 [1886]), 584.

13. Faruqi, Early Urdu Literary Culture, and History, 60.62.

14. Central Statistical Office Government of Pakistan, 25 Years of Pakistan in Statistics, Karachi: Government of Pakistan, 1972, 4.

15. For details see among other Joseph Errington, Structure and style in Javanese: a semiotic view of linguistic etiquette, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988.

16. Quoted in The Development and Use of A National Language, Yogyakarta, Oadjah Marla University Press, 1980, 15.

17. See Benedict Anderson, "Language, Fantasy, Revolution," in Making Indonesia: Essays on Modern Indonesia, ed. Daniel S. Lev and Ruth McVey, Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 1996.

18. Also see Moeliono, Language Development and Cultivation: Alternative Approaches in Language Planning, 97-8 n.4.


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