When the United Nations was established in 1945,750 million people almost a third of the world's population-lived in territories that were non-self-governing, dependent on colonial powers. By early 2004, fewer than 2 million people live in such territories. Also, from its founding in 1945 through today, the number of "member states" of the United Nations ballooned from the original fifty-one to its current membership of one hundred ninety-one states. (See: www.un.or2l0verview/2t.owth.htm)
This among others, illustrates the dramatic reshaping of the world's political geography, ushering out the era of empire and inaugurating globalization of the nation-form, in just fifty-some years. A similar change in epistemology took place as well: Gone would be the prominent role of core disciplines linked to empire, such as privileged philological traditions and the study of classical cosmopolitan languages-Sanskrit and Persian, for example. The new nation-states each declared new national languages and undertook new programs of language modernization and development to effect their national usage. A similar break can be seen in the rise of modem language / area studies departments in the United States from 1945 forward. After 1958, modern languages became the appropriate linguistic vehicles for the new area studies programs necessary to apprehend security. related developments in the world outside the United States. See Alyssa Ayres, "Disconnected Networks: notes toward a different approach to filling the South Asia expert gap," India Review 2, no. 2 (2003): 72-4.
If the age of empire, required the command of language and the language of command to effect dominance of a very few over the very many, a different understanding of the relationship between language and polity emerged from the decolonization wave namely, the necessity of an entire population sharing a national language in order to demonstrate national unity. Doubtless, the age of empire produced certain types of official languages: in British India and the Dutch East Indies, for example, Hindustani and babel-Malaisch were clearly products of the colonial encounter, languages which accommodated a certain kind of transregional communication, nearly entirely urban, not entirely possible through Bengali, Tamil, or Javanese. (See also Bernard S. Cohn, "The Command of Language and the Language of Command." in Subaltern Studies IV, ed. Ranajit Guha (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1985).
But at the same time, the abrupt epistemic break with decolonization resulted in nationalists themselves declaring emphatically that a single language would be the way forward to forge a real nation, even with the knowledge that to create such a situation would require enormous work. This would initiate a brand-new industry, that of language planning, to mediate that relationship. The world of nation-states thus coincided with new epistemologies of science and progress: modernization theory, "political development," the discourse of nation-building, and the new hybrid policy science of language planning that nestled within all three largest "new states" to have emerged from colonial rule (India, Indonesia, and Pakistan), emerged as the post-facto result of state-instantiated logics of language standardization and educational regimentation rather than as the natural environmentally-determined fertile soil that launched nationalist enthusiasm. Though this may appear obvious-and it is the standard view of Western social science-it actually reverses the logical order in popular understandings of nationalism. Of course, some scholars of nationalism have remarked on this oddity: for example, the trenchant observation of Gooff Ely and Ronald Grigor Suny in their introduction to Becoming National:
. . .creative political action is required to transform a segmented and disunited population into a coherent nationality.. ..One of the best examples ofsuch creativity, because in the past it provided the commonest "objective" rationale for the existence of a nation, has been the adoption of national languages, which were very far from simply choosing themselves as the natural expression of majority usage Language is less a prior determinant of nationality than part of a complex process of cultural innovation, involving hard ideological labor, careful propaganda, and a creative imagination. (Becoming National, Oxford University Press, 1996, p.7.)
With the case of Indonesia, India, and Pakistan, however, language as the central subject of historical inquiry remained underexplored to date (spring 2005), yet by acknowledging the produced nature of the national language, it allows us to better explain the otherwise puzzling persistence of attachment to more regional or local languages that one might have expected to fall into desuetude if nationalist enthusiasm were in fact the result of (rather than the precondition for) widespread monolingualism, print-capitalism, industrialization, the Mamlukization of society, and the emergence of a stable national space-time subscribed to by citizen-subjects. If these historical experiences of India, Indonesia and Pakistan alone (one-quarter of the world's population) do not offer a sufficiently convincing rationale for reconsidering the theoretical linkage of language and nationalism, consider this: Even a cursory look at the history of France points to a much weaker causal link between language and national consciousness than has been presupposed by key theories of nationalism.
As Eugene Weber noted with reference to France, "The Third Republic found a France in which French was a foreign language for half the citizens. (Weber, Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870-1914, Stanford University Press, 1976, p.70.)
However we bring a second argument, namely that the spread (or ‘success’) of a national language in countries seeking to forge one is intimately related to the symbolic ideologies with which it is invested. This is no mere symbol manipulation, however; it is linked to emphases on literary and religious traditions, oral as well as written, traditions with histories and internal narratives of their own.
Let us recall at the outset, that "language ideology," a concept developed by linguistic anthropologists, refers in its emphasis on the social construction of language to "the cultural system of ideas about social and linguistic relationship, together with their loading of moral and political interests. ("When Talk Isn't Cheap: Language and Political Economy," in American Ethnologist 16, 255. Cited in Woolard, "Introduction: language ideology as a field of inquiry" p. 4.)
This formulation, one predicated on belief rather than industrialization or print-capitalism, better captures the disjuncture we need to explain the "ardent populism" of "linguistic European nationalism" as it spread modularly, alongside the peculiar "Russifying policy-orientation" necessary to effect "official nationalism.( Anderson. Imagined Communities, p.113.)
The cases of Pakistan and Indonesia however are particularly revealing when read alongside each other. The emblematic role of Urdu as a formal mark of Muslim-ness during the Pakistan movement was one important way the Muslim League could press their case against what appeared to be a quickly emerging popular Hindi-language public sphere with great majority support, and political demands of its own.8 But this was true only in the Gangetic plain regions.
When 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. (See Rai, Hindi Nationalism, Rai, A House Divided, Robinson, Separatism among Indian Muslims: the politics of the United Provinces' Muslims, 1860-1923.)
In sharp contrast, Indonesia's national language planners explicitly crafted Bahasa Indonesia as a uniquely modem instrument of expression, one without a deep past, literally "constructed" (pembangun) as one might build a gleaming skyscraper to signal an ascendant national modernization. One was a religion, the other a science. That the former policy contributed substantially to East Bengal's 1971 secession, the effect of which was one of the worst genocides of the twentieth century (estimates of those killed in 1971 range from one to three million).
Whereas the latter policy produced a language widely described as a sort of national glue against which protests have been "surprisingly rare".(See Webb Keane, "Public Speaking: On Indonesian As the Language of the Nation," Public Culture 15, no. 3, 2003: p.505.)
New States, National Languages, and Language Planning
At the moment of decolonization, a desire to collapse - regions of intense multilinguality into a new national zone of monolingualism became politically exigent. This shift appears to be an automatic and inevitable outcome in nationalism, regardless of empirical realities and historical evidence of deep multilinguality. In South Asia, for example, it had been possible under precolonial and colonial regimes-however undemocratic those may have been-for various languages to coexist in an unremarkable way.
If the Mughals, for example, chose to employ Persian as the language of state, it was also true that the early rulers spoke Turkish and enjoyed its poetry; Hindu was a regional language with appreciated merits and semi-official state recognition; and though illiterate, Akbar maintained a library of texts to be read out to him in Arabic, Persian, Hindi, Greek, and Kashmiri.
With British colonization in the Indian subcontinent (and more or less the same in the case of Dutch colonization of the East Indies), the age of empire did not coincide with a notion that mass populations should be re-engineered to speak in one tongue. Certainly some Indians acquired an education in English and the regional-specific Indian language deemed necessary by the British Raj: Bengali, Hindustani, and Tamil. And surely the colonial encounter with Indian languages, one-would produce new forms of those languages, resulting in the case of Hindustani in the idea that Hindus and Muslims had different languages; this same colonial encounter produced a new kind of Bengali language as well.
On Bengali's new beginnings through the colonial intervention, see Sudipta Kaviraj, "The Two Histories of Literary Culture in Bengal," in Literary Cultures in History, ed. Sheldon Pollock (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 2003). Kaviraj notes in particular the "peculiar relation of transaction with both Sanskrit and English" that determined the shape of modern Bengali (542). Kaviraj references in a note some early efforts to develop a "Muslim Bangia," one not fully realized after the Pakistani state's efforts to promote Urdu in East Bengal provoked a backlash (541).
Yet surely this form of presenting a language-menu for the purposes of administration again suggests a far different effort that an initiative to propagate a single language throughout a region of millions in order to fully achieve becoming national. This represents a transformative break in ideas about the uses of language.
Borrowing the method of juxtaposition used by Kittler in Discourse Networks, I want to briefly contrast practices of language and administration first under empire and then in the postcolonial state to highlight how they differ. (Friedrich A. Kittler, Discourse Networks 1800/1900, Stanford University Press, 1990).
For some of the most important early administrators were literary scholar-statesmen, practicing philologists, men who perceived as necessary for a ‘command of language’ the thorough exploration of literatures. An illustrative list of leading texts of the period 1770-85, underscores their preoccupation with language learning and translation of literatures see for example: Alexander Dow, The History of Hindostan, 1770; Sir William Jones, A Grammar of the Persian Language, 1771; George Hadley, The Practical and Vulgar Dialect of the Indostan Language Commonly Called Moors, 1772; N.B. Halhed, A Code of Gentoo Laws, or, Ordinations of the Pundits, 1776, and A Grammar of the Bengal Language, 1778; John Richardson, A Dictionary of English, Persian and Arabic, 1780; William Davy, Institutes Political and Military of Tmour, 1783; Francis Balfour, The Forms of the Herkern, 1781; Charles Wilkins, The Bhagvat Geeta, 1785; William Kirkpatrick, A Vocabulary, Persian, Arabic and English; Containing Such words as have been Adopted from the Two Former Languages and Incorporated into the Hindvi, 1785; Francis Gladwin, Ayeen I Akberry or the Institutes of the Emperor Akbar, 1783-6; John A. Gilchrist, A Dictionary English and Hindustani, Part I, 1787.14
The emphasis on language and literary study as a necessary dimension of knowledge for administering this imperial polity did not end in1785. Sir William Jones (1746-94), to take a prominent example, was sent to India as a judge in 1783, and supplemented his study of the "c1assicallanguages" (Arabic, Hebrew, Persian) with Sanskrit. In addition to his Persian dictionary listed above, he published an English translation of Kalidasa's Sanskrit drama Sakuntala in 1789, which apparently was so successful throughout Europe it was reprinted four more times; astounding both Herder and Goethe with its beauty. A copy of this original translation is held by the University of Chicago's Rare Books collection: Sir William Jones, Sacontata; or, Thefatal ring: an Indian drama. By Calidds. Translatedfrom the original Sanscrit and Pracrit. (London: Printed for Edwards by J. Cooper, 1790). See also, William Crawley, "Sir William Jones: A Vision of Orientalism," Asian Affairs 27, no. 2 (1996).
Jones became a prominent advocate for the study of "Asiatic" literatures as part of a global cultural heritage. He founded the Asiatick Society (now the Asiatic Society) in 1784; his writings on the remarkable similarity between Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit changed the era's scientific wisdom about the origins and relationship between languages (and indeed, of peoples).
Fort William College, founded in 1800 in Calcutta. trained functionaries of the British Raj in various contemporary as well as classical languages-Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit, Bengali, and Hindustani-and its analogue in the south, the Company's College at Fort St. George (in today's Chennai), provided training in South Indian languages as well as Hindu and Muslim law. (See also Frances W. Pritchett, "Introduction to Excerpts from Ab-e-Hayat," Urdu Studies 13 ,1998: 39.)
Some sixty-four years later, after the British acquisition of the Punjab from the Sikhs, the founding of Government College in Lahore provided a similar training for administrative elite; its first principal, G.W. Leitner, founded the Anjuman-e-Punjab a year later, and presided over readings and translations.
An analogue in the Dutch East Indies was the colonial creation of Balai Pustaka, a publishing house, which brought out "educational" stories in Javanese, Sundanese, and of course Bahasa Melayu-indeed a Dutch colonial language project itself. Balai Pustaka by the way remains alive today as the primary national sales/distribution outlet for stateproduced publications relating to language, culture, dictionaries for various Indonesian regional languages, and translation projects which would not likely find a large market otherwise. Unfortunately it appears to have very limited distributional muscle, particularly in comparison to private-sector bookstores such as Gramedia.
Whatever else we might say about these early practices of translation and language-learning-for it is certainly true that these were an effort to repackage Asian knowledge as European products, in service to European power-the fact remains that the intellectual climate was one that placed enormous emphasis on literature and the wisdom contained within it, as well as an engagement with contemporary spoken language traditions. Even this brief sketch shows an ethos in which the concept of knowledge was heavily informed by an idea that administering a polity requires familiarity with those traditions, conceptualized as multilingual, and that the present was a product of the heritage of the past. In fact, to take a closer look at the heritage of the past, specifically in the South Asian region, we find a history of participation in multiple language communities. This is no small feature. Rather, it marks an ongoing social communicative relationship with language and literature radically different from what we now understand as the reductive or "nationalist" Herderian philosophy of language nations.
In sharp contrast, the twentieth-century world of the nation-state brings along with it a valorization of the national language as a vehicle of national unification as well as the evidentiary basis for national existence. If the nation-form spread modularly, so too did a near-religious belief in the singularity of language as proof of nationality. Recall Jinnah's proclamations that Urdu and only Urdu was the language of the Muslim nation of the Indian subcontinent; Gandhi's idea that a national language of Hindustani must be cultivated for the soon-to-be independent India. These two stances mark a very different understanding of polity and language than the fuzzy boundaries of colonial and precolonial (indeed, premodern) evidence suggests.( See also Kaviraj, "Writing, Speaking, Being: Language and the Historical Formation of Identities in India.)
What I think this ethos shows is a radical break from an approach to knowledge as something to be gleaned from older texts, thus necessitating sustained textual study, to an idea that the challenges of modernity can best be answered through greater regimentation and emphasis on technologies of modernization-including new policy approaches to instituting a national ideology and a national language as social engineering, a sort of production line model of shaping citizens. It is within this spirit of modernization that we find the production and reproduction of legitimate language. Or as Pierre Bourdieu explained;...only when the making of the 'nation', an entirely abstract group based on law, creates new usages and functions does it become indispensable to forge a standard language, impersonal and anonymous like the official uses it has to serve, and by the same token to undertake the work of normalizing the products of the linguistic habitus.( Bourdieu, "The Production and Reproduction of Legitimate Language," in Language and Symbolic Power , Harvard University Press, 1991, p. 48.)
Of course, this new infatuation with modernization was not unique to Pakistan; in fact, it exemplifies a worldwide high-modernist vision of ‘thin simplifications,’ the precise opposite of metis, or practical knowledge. If metis implies an intuitive sense of knowledge acquired through direct familiarity, the thin simplification approach posits ideal-type social reforms, reforms to better the world through increasing uniformity and legibility. For example James C. Scott presented these state simplifications in the realms of architecture, urban planning, forest management, and Soviet collective fanning, providing rich detail and specific case studies. (See ''Thin Simplifications and Practical Knowledge: Metis" (as well as the rest of) James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, Yale Agrarian Studies, Yale University Press, 1998,309-41.)
Here Scott engages the question of the standardized official language, suggesting that it "may be the most powerful" of all state simplifications, the "precondition of many other[s]." In particular, Scott briefly outlines two phases of national or official language propagation: first, the desire for "legibility of local practice" (a notion of increasing administrative ease, and doing so by replacing local forms with those of the center); and second, the rise of a "cultural project," the "implicit logic" of which will "define a hierarchy of cultures, relegating local languages and their regional cultural to, at best, a quaint provincialism. Though Scott spends only two pages on the question of language, and does not further develop the thought beyond what I have cited here, his intuition is correct. What this implies for our purposes is a super-functionalist approach to education planning, an approach in which the state bears down upon the irremediably teeming Tower of Babel in the hopes of transforming it into a sleek Eiffel Tower instead.
This, then, is the difference between approaches to knowledge exemplified by the science of philology versus the science of language planning. One seeks answers in understanding what already exists; the other seeks to shape what exists to better suit administrative convenience. This context of privileging administrative convenience appears so widespread by the middle of the twentieth century that it would have been extremely difficult for the new states to have somehow resisted the homogenizing tendency of the nation-form and the idea of a singular language as necessary to evidence national unity. This scientific "rationalization" approach places a heavy burden on the acquiescence of national citizen-subjects if it is to succeed. That such an exercise in large-scale social engineering has not worked smoothly in many salient cases-but has in
others-is my next query. For the emergence of language planning as an administrative science and a quasi discipline in the middle of the twentieth century parallels the massive increase in new nation-states emerging from decolonization. Where political science formed the disciplinary site of knowledge-production concerning democratization-what was then (and perhaps still is) conceptualized as the natural telos of "political development, for these new states-the political dimensions of language choices were taken up by the science of language planning. ( For a critique of the career of ''political development" as a concept, see Fred W. Riggs, "The Rise and Fall of 'Political Development'," in The Handbook of Political Behavior, Vol. 4, ed.,New York:, 1989. Notably, Riggs concludes that the term is best thought of as an "autonym"-a word which generates its own meaning.)
This science, as with most prescriptive social sciences of the era, was confident that its recommendations would produce national unity and a better way of life for the states in which its advice was deployed. Observe, for instance, this under-historicized assertion from perhaps the most widely-cited edited volume in the entire field:
The more intensive communication in modernizing societies puts a premium on linguistic unity and distinctiveness: nation-states have been most securely founded where all nationals speak the same language, and preferably a language all their own.( Dankwart A. Rustow, "Language, Modernization, and Nationhood--An Attempt at Typology," in Language Problems of Developing Nations, ed. Joshua A. Fishman, Charles A. Ferguson, and Jyotirindra Das Gupta , John Wiley & Sons, 1968,87.)
As Pakistan's national twin, separated at birth, the kinds of decisions India made about language policy seem a natural point of historical comparison, though India's size makes that comparison more than asymmetric. Still, in the sense that India dwarfs Pakistan not just in population but as well in number of languages, the lessons can be useful, for the challenges were always more numerous and on a larger scale. Yet by the end of the twentieth century, language conflict had for the most part ceased in India, though to be sure some areas of conflagration remain, notably Assam.
For a country that was wracked by language riots in its early decades, this outcome marks a significant reversal of affairs. The sheer scale of linguistic diversity in India, in terms of both spoken language and established literary traditions as well, had long worried policymakers in independent India. The worries encompassed two significant policy dilemmas: one, the question of what could be the national language; and two, whether language should serve as the primary criterion of differentiation in redesigning administrative boundaries at the state level. (See also ''Cultural Politics of Language, Subnationalism, and Pan-Indianism" in Baruah, India Against Itself: Assam and the Politics of Nationality, 69-90.)
Given that no single language group (according to contemporary census data) could claim a simple majority, the question of choosing a national language was the point of most vigorous debate. 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. See also Das Gupta, lAnguage Conflict and National Development, Hans Raj Dua, Language Planning in India (New Delhi: Harnam Publications, 1985). A more recent and shorter piece by Das Gupta is in a new edited volume: Jyotirindra Das Gupta, "Language Policy and National Development in India," in Fighting Words: Language Policy and Ethnic Relations in Asia, ed. Michael E. Brown and Sumit Ganguly (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003). Brass, Language, Religion and Politics in North India. provides an excellent historical overview on the question of language and political consciousness, particularly looking at UP, Bihar, and Punjab (though, as I argued earlier, perhaps too instrumental in his approach). For a game-theoretic explanation ofIndia's stable language equilibrium of 3:!:1, see David D. Laitin, "Language policy and political strategy in India," Policy Sciences 22, no. 4 (1989).
But could it serve as the national language? 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 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. In addition to Hindi, twelve other modem 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. This begs the question of what precisely comprises a language, since many languages (Bhojpuri, Maithili, for example) with their own poetic traditions did not make the legal grade for language policy purposes-a significant question, but one I do not address for reasons of space. Jyotirindra Das Gupta notes that changing definitions of Hindi have led to changing percentages of the population reporting it as their primary language; he states that the 1961 census, with a narrow definition of Hindi, reported thirty percent of the popuiation as speakers-but then with a broader definition in subsequent censuses, its share increased to 38-40 percent! See Das Gupta, "Language Policy and National Development in India," 26-7. On the important idea of the census as the creator of rather than transparent vehicle for reporting social categories already in existence, see Bernard S. Cohn, "The Census, Social Structure, and Objectification in South Asia," in An Anthropologist among the Historians and Other Essays (New De)hi: Oxford India, 1987). See also Arjun Appadurai, "Number in the Colonial Imagination," in Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament, ed. Carol A Breckenridge and Peter van der Veer (philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993).
What the constitution makers chose as a compromise formulation was a sort of three-tier amendement: 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 which 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.( B.R. Ambedkar, Thoughts on Linguistic States, reprint ed. ,Aligarh: Anand Sahitya Sadan, 1989,20.)
For the Constitutional articles relating to language, see indiacode.nic.inlcoiweb/coifiles/pI7.htm
In addition to this Hindi-with-an-English-understudy structure, another legal category of "national languages" was created, in which a total of fourteen languages achieved constitutional status as national. The Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution [Articles344(1) and 351], finalized in 1949, originally contained the following fourteen "national languages"; Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu. Two later amendments added first Sindhi (1967), then Konkani, Manipuri, and Nepali (1992) to this list.3s The idea was that these national languages could be the languages of state for those states which chose them, but ideally Hindi (or English if the state did not or could not use Hindi) would be the language of communication from the states to the center and between states.
Despite the original intent of the constitution as well as the recommendations of the Official Language Commission five years later, the "phase-out" provisions for English in fact never took place. For the Eighth Schedule. see indiacode.nic.inlcoiweb/welcome.html
First, the corridors of power (i.e., the extensive bureaucracy) did not abandon the use of English, and it remained a prestige language in terms of social distinction, science and bureaucratic power. Laitin refers to the bureaucracy's nominal enthusiasm for Hindi but pragmatic adherence to English as "Formal compliance... [which] hid practical subversion." Laitin, "Language policy and strategy," 419. On science policy and language, see Hans Raj Dua, Science Policy, Education, and lAnguage Planning (Mysore: Yashoda Publications, 2001). (He argues for instituting regional languages in science).
But secondly, it turned out that some regions had vehement objections to the implementation of Hindi as the sole official language. By the time the first fifteen years of constitutionally-permitted English use were about to expire, unexpectedly violent protest against Hindi took place. This resistance was strongest in Madras state, where in 1964 and 1965.several young men spectacularly killed themselves (by self-immolation and drinking poison) in protest against Hindi and in devotion to Tamil. 38 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 sole status of officiallanguage. See the dissenting notes (essays, really) to the Official Language Commission report authored by Suniti Kumar Chatterji and P. Subbarayan Kher, "Report of the Official Language Commission," 275-330.
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.
Worse yet, many of the most active pro-Hindi organizations explicitly identified themselves as Aryan precisely during the decades of a growing pro-Dravidian consciousness and "anti-Brahminism in the south. 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 perenially supposed-to-be-superceded-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 Hindiwas 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. The Constitution explicitly caUed for the development of Hindi "by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages." See Article 351, "Directive for the Development of the Hindi Language," via indiacode.nic.inlcoiweblcoitiles/oI7.htm On the standardization and nationalization process of Hindi, see especially ''Roads to the Present," Chapter 7 ofRai, Hindi Nationalism, 106-22. On literary development and Sanskritization of Hindi as the nation fostered its role of official language, see Trivedi, "Hindi and the Nation."
This compromise formulation of the official language being 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:
Since 1921 the Congress has discarded British administrative provinces for its work and has created province, many of which are more of less linguistic...In 1928 the Nehru Report fully endorsed the Congress view and strongly empbasised the desirability of creating these linguistic Provinces. And since then tbe Congress bas included in its election manifesto the formation of linguistic provinces as one item of its programme..( Government of India Constituent Assembly of India, "Report of the Linguistic Provinces Commission," (New Delhi: Government of India Press, 1948, 1.)
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 subnationalisms into existence, and further what the impact might be in terms of creating new relations of majority-minority dynamics. 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 a minority status in a Punjab that had suddenly become primarily Hindi speaking as a resuIt 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 provinces reorganization (Ambedkar, for example) or against it (Patel, Sitaramayya, and Nehru). 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 ).
The argument in favor of linguistic provinces ran generally along Herderian lines, the benefits of life immersed in an environment of one's own national genius. The argument against 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.'(Patel, Sitaramayya, and Nehru, Report of the Linguistic Provinces Committee, 4.)
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 Reorganisation Act created Gujarat and Maharashtra; the 1962 Nagaland Act created Nagaland; the 1966 Punjab Reorganisation 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-eastem States Reorganisation Act threw up Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh. The clearest way to see the chronological development of linguistic reorganization is to examine the First Schedule of the Constitution, which lists all the states of the Union and gives dates as well as the precise acts which brought them into their present forms. See Darliamentofindia.nic.inlconstlshedOl.htm
Quite obviously, the primary analytic principle for all these reorganizations was linguistic. Nearly fifty years after the major states reorganization 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 non-existent.
So 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. Language conflict in Bangalore, for example, has involved anti-Tamil demonstrations in 1990, and protests against attempts in 1994 to broadcast Urdu-language news on local (state-operated) television Bangalore, resulting in protests. 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.
See also Hans Raj Dua, language Use, Attitudes and Identity Among linguistic Minorities (A Case Study of Dakkhini Urdu Speakers in Mysore), ed. D.P. Pattanayak, vol. 8, CIIL Sociolinguistics Series (Mysore: Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), 1986).
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 aHindi belter's ability to get by with studying only Hindi and English. 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 for our purposes, 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 major states reorganization in 1956, individual states in India passed their own state-level laws to promote and develop various official languages of state; obviously, given that each state does not contain a homogeneous population, some citizens will de facto be speakers of minority languages. The creation of these new minorities for example involved the oppositions at one level of linguistic salience-English and Hindi, that find themselves recursively projected onto progressively smaller levels as well. (For another example see also Susan Gal, "Bartok's funeral: representations of Europe in Hungarian political rhetoric," American Ethnologist 18, no. 3 (1991): 443-7, Irvine and Gal, "Language Ideology and Linguistic Difference," 62-5.)
So the formal symmetry of dominant::subordinate opposition of English and Hindi finds itself again projected onto pairs in the following way: English::Hindi, Hindi::Kannada, Kannada:: Urdu.
Or English::Hindi, Hindi::Gujarati, Gujarati::Kacchhi (and/or Gujarati::Urdu::Kachhi). These iterated oppositions can be identified throughout the country; their existence is at present no cause for alarm, but observers interested in a more fine-grained analysis of language and polity certainly should be cognizant of the pattern, precisely because the recursive nature of these oppositional pairs suggests that whatever the dimensions of legal recognition for language regimes at local levels, patterns of dominance in some form or another will remain a feature. Janaki Nair has argued, with respect to the 1990 and 1994 Bangalore language riots (anti-Tamil and anti-Urdu, respectively) that the failure of the Karnataka state's project to uniformly and universally implement Kannada, with English the primary operating language of this global technology hub city, leads to a Kannadiga mode of resentment manifested in anti-Tamil or anti-Urdu actions. See Nair, "Kannada and Politics of State Protection."
So many overviews of language policy overlook a crucial feature: how the state creates policies that affect literary production. Our (2008.World-Journal.net) Bringing Back the Local Past: Who Made Pakistan? yesterday showed the efforts to forge a Punjabi literature in Pakistan as a means of redressing longstanding state biases against the language, and notions of self and community identity cannot be understood without reference to the cultural products that communities lay claim to. In fact one could ad that post Independence struggles over administrative boundaries and national languages created small subnational states, in which a regional language could serve as the language of state.
This narrative provides insights into governmentality as it affects education, electoral processes, and official institutions of the state. But what about cultural production?
Given India's enormous linguistic diversity, and its many literary traditions with long histories, the question of literary and cultural production would appear important. Intriguingly, this multi-layered multilingual state project has involved literature and cultural production from the start. The electronic media were very early repositories for new governmental language propagation efforts. Radio was long a domain of communication operated and administered by the state; the trajectory of the national language project can be seen in the post-independence death of a project begun in the pre-independence years to codify a Hindustani vocabulary for All-India Radio. 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. Doordmshan, 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; www.sahitva-akademi.orgfsahitva-akademi/orgl.htm
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. Intriguingly, the Sahitya Akademi gives annual literary awards for work in Dogri, Maithili, and Rajasthani-none of which have a place in the Eighth Schedule. These awards are grouped with the awards given to the Eighth Schedule language-literatures, as distinct from a separate program of awards for languages not recognized in the constitution (the Bhasha Samman awards). See www.sahitvaakademi.orglsahitva-akademilor23.htm
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. (Pollock. "Literary Cultures in History," 10.)
Yet at some level, the visibility the Sahitya Akademi programs offer surely does provide a greater sense of inclusion, not to mention greater consciousness of the creative literary work that might otherwise be unable to cross language barriers. In this sense the Akademi tries to mediate the many "partial publics," some overlapping but many not, that coexist in a cultural region so diverse. (See also Miriam Hansen, "Forward," in Public Sphere and Experience, ed. Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge, University of Minnesota , 1993, xxxvii.)
Indeed, the Sahitya Akademi is exceptionally active: according to its official website, it has published more than 2000 books in translation (from twenty-four languages), and has convened more than 6000 programs of discussion at the national and regionallevels.60 By comparison, the only measure of the Pakistan Academy of Letters' output that I have been able to locate reports the publication of 150 books.
If the Sahitya Akademi represents a state-instantiated effort to develop the idea of a national literature, it does so in conjunction with active voluntary associations. Throughout the post-Independence history of Indian language and literature, collaboration between agencies of the state and the multitude of language associations so active in Indian literary life appears to have been a central organizational model for language development. Particularly with respect to Hindi, this may have come at a very high cost: as Jyotirindra Das Gupta 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 modem life from Sanskrit, and promoting a brand new form of the language that aimed to create a veneer of a different kind of linguistic geneology, i.e., the modem inheritor of the great Sanskrit tradition.( "Official Language: Policy and Implementation" and ''Language Associations: Organizational Pattern" in Das Gupta. lAnguage Conflict and National Development, 159-224. See also Dalmia, Nationalization of Hindu Traditions.) By implication as well as overt claim, this new geneology served to sever official Hindi from the Persianized vocabulary of its conjoined twin, Urdu.
What has become clear from the preceding narrative is the extent to which India the country speaks in many tongues, apart from question of whether the speakers of those tongues imagine themselves as constituting a nation. The way the national language policy has emerged has not been in accordance with the earlier high plans for propagating one singular national language (Hindi); in actuality, the "stable equilibrium" of multilinguality owes much more to notions of metis than to any policy foresight-and certainly its stability suggests the wisdom of such a system for the political-cultural order.
Thus the early organizing efforts of the Indian National Congress provided a template for what has become the current language policy-with certain slippages--but the central lesson was this: a mass, grassroots anticolonial nationalism took place in India, the enormity of which remains unparalleled in human history, and this took place through a congeries of different languages, including English. 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. For that, we should look instead at the historical experience of Indonesia.
Indonesia received independence from Japanese occupation in 1945, but formally attainedsovereignty in 1949 after a four-year tussle for regional power between the British and the Dutch. Yet the similarities between Pakistan and Indonesia however are so striking that one wonders why the two rarely received sustained attention in a comparative fashion. Born within two years of each other-Pakistan in 1947 and Indonesia in 1945/4963-the two countries share a number of common features. Prior to 1971, both countries were nearly the same size in population tenns: Pakistan had 75 million people in 1951,64 compared to Indonesia's 84 million in the same year.( Detailed Statistics on the Urban and Rural Population of Indonesia:1950-2010 ,Washington. DC: US Bureau of the Census ,Center for International Research, 1984, 13.)
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, 97% for Pakistan and 88% for Indonesia. CIA World Facthook 2003. Pakistan's Muslims are approximately 77% Sunni, 20% Shi'a-a schism which has its own ongoing conflict.
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 playa 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. For example, illiteracy in Indonesia decreased from 39% (1971) to 10% (1999). See Table 15 in Biro Pusat Statistik Government of Indonesia, Sensus Penduduk 1971 (Jakarta: Government of Indonesia, 1975),69. Compare with Pakistan's current 54% overall illiteracy rate-an improvement over 1971's illiteracy rate of 78%. Statistics Division Government of Pakistan, Statistical Pocketbook of Pakistan 1981 (Karachi: Government of Pakistan, 1981),58.
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,( at Partition, East Bengal comprised the numeric majority of Pakistan's population. with 56%, and Punjab at that time accounted for 22%). and the Javanese 48% of Indonesia. And despite this, 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 nomore than three percent of Pakistan (East and West wings; 7% of the West wing alone) at the same moment.See also Anton Moeliono, Language Development and Cultivation: Alternative Approaches in Language Planning, ed. W.A.L. Stokhof, trans. Kay Ikranagara, vol. Pacific Linguistics, Series D, No.68, Materials in Languages of Indonesia (No.30) (Canberra: Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, The Australian National University, 1986),27.
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. To explore this divergence, this section examines Indonesia's experience with national language fonnation as the most obvious counterfactual comparison to Pakistan.
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.71 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. For example, the colonial scholar Sir Richard Winstedt's conclusion with respect to the many divergent versions of the Ramayana in the region that the source was itself an oral version and that into it had flowed the flotsam and jetsam from the east, the west and the south-west of continental India..." Sir Richard Winstedt, A History of Classical Malay Literature (petaling laya: Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1991),27.
Islam 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" superceded the Sanskritic script.73 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. On scripts and Indonesian languages, an extraordinary reference with beautifully reproduced images of manuscripts was recently published by the Lontar Foundation. See Ann Kumar and John McGlynn, Illuminations: the writing traditions of Indonesia (featuring manuscripts from the National Library of Indonesia) (Jakarta; New York: Lontar Foundation and Weatherhill, 1996). The Jawi script is used even today for formal government signs in Malaysia (though not for newspapers or books). These modern-day forms of public inscription serve to further orient Malaysia toward the Middle East. The Jawi script is hardly visible on Java, however, though it is used in other parts of Indonesia. I have seen it on the island of Penyengat in the Riau province, and it is apparently in greater use in Aceh. (penyengat is said to be an important seat of Malay culture). As an aside, I was struck by the Jawi-script modifications to the Arabic alphabet to produce letters for the sounds "p" and "g"-three nuqte on the letter "fe," and one nuqta on the "kaf," respectively, which suggests to me that the script was not transmitted through Persianinfluenced traders from India but came directly from Arabic instead. Had the Jawi script come via anyone using Persian rather than directly through Arabic, they would already have found a three-nuqte letter on the "be" series to make a "p" sound, and an extra line rather than a nuqta on the "kaf' to make a "gaf." I have not seen any commentary on this anywhere.
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. See also Joseph Errington, Structure and style in Javanese: a semiotic view of linguistic etiquette (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988), Siegel, Solo in the New Order: Language and Hierarchy in an Indonesian City.
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 commericallanguage which spread-again, in a lingua franca form-due to merchant travels, we should also note that Old Malay was the language of state of the great 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 anticolonial 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.
The above is translated as given by Khaidir Anwar, Indonesian: The Development and Use of A National LAnguage (Yogyakarta: Oadjah Marla University Press, 1980), 15. Anwar gives the Indonesian as cited from Teeuw's Modern Indonesian Literature: "Pertama: Kami putera dan puteri Indonesia mengaku bertumpah darah yang satu, Tanah Indonesia. Kedua: Kami putera dan puteri Indonesia mengaku berbangsa yang satu, Bangsa Indonesia. Ketiga: Kami putera dan puteri Indonesia menjunjung bahasa persatuan, Bahasa Indonesia. "
This Youth Pledge, taken by a group of nationalists at the second Youth Congress on October 28, 1928, fonns 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. For our purposes, its significance lies in the fact that it instantiated an allegiance to a very new idea of a homeland, defined in national terms, and articulated as national through a single language. This pledge also gave the Malay language a new national name, Bahasa Indonesia, which served to inaugurate the twin trajectories of the nation and its language with one stroke. Most importantly, 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.
There is a great deal of interpretive work on Indonesian, its early links with nationalism, and its relationship with the imagined nation. The best known would be of course Anderson, Imagined Communities .But see as well: Benedict Anderson, "Language, Fantasy, Revolution," in Making Indonesia: Essays on Modern Indonesia in Honor of George MeT. Kahin, ed. Daniel S. Lev and Ruth McVey (Ithaca: Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 1996), Benedict R. 0'0. Anderson, Language and Power:
But the Youth Pledge could hardly by invocation alone transform what was not yet an independent country into a nation-state with an Indonesian-language speaking population. In a remarkable example of nation-building and language development, both recursively fortifying the other, key intellectuals undertook the project of language modernization to develop the Indonesian language such that it could become a vehicle of _expression for a modem nation-state.
Of course, two moments in the pre-Independence history had laid 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 brabbel Maleisch, into "school Malay," which then became the language of educated Indonesian elite. See also See Hoffman, "A Foreign Investment: Indies Malay to 1901." Professor Anton Moeliono, the former head ofIndonesia'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. Interview, December 11, 2002. Also see Moeliono, Language Development and Cultivation: Alternative Approaches in Language Planning, 97-8 n4.
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) . 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 a 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. See also Sutan Takdir AJisjahbana, The Concept of Culture and Civilization: problems of national identity and the emerging world in anthropology and sociology, published version of speech given at Symposium on New Social Thought. Cordova (April 18, 1985), organized by U.N. University, Tokyo ed. (Jakarta: Dian Rakyat. 1989), Sutan Takdir AJisjahbana, Indonesia in the Modern World, trans. Benedict R. Anderson, English ed., Basic Books-Congress for Cultural Freedom (New Delhi: Prabhakar Padhya for the Congress for Cultural Freedom. 1961), Sutan Takdir AJisjahbana, Indonesia: Social and Cultural Revolution, 2nd, first published in English as "Indonesia in the Modem World", translated by Benedict Anderson for Basic Books series of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, 1961 ed. (London: Oxford University Press, 1966), Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana, Indonesian Langauge and Literature: Two Essays, Cultural Report Series No. 11 (New Haven: Yale University Southeast Asia Studies, 1962), Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana, "The Indonesian Language: By-product of Nationalism," Pacific Affairs 22, no. 4 (1949), Sutan Takdir AJisjahbana, Values as Integrating Forces in Personality, Society and Culture (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, 1966), Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana, ed., The Modernization of Languages in Asia (Kuala Lumpur: The Malaysian Society of Asian Studies, 1967).
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 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 and inaugurated a far greater rationalization of the Indonesian language that had previously been the case. Since no one spoke or read Japanese, the most expedient language for the Japanese authority's administrative exercise census, labor conscription, not to mention propaganda-was Indonesian. (Aiko Kurasawa, "Propaganda Media on Java Under the Japanese 1942-1945," Indonesia, 1987, 44)
These three short but apparently highly efficient years made deep inroads for Indonesian's spread. By the time of Indonesia's national independence, there appeared to be little contest or even question as to the language of the new nation-state, despite the fact that this country comprised of thousands of islands had nine languages with millions of speakers and hundreds of lesser-spoken languages. Sukarno's invented national ideology of Pancasila, ("Five Principles"), the adoption of which was required by law for all institutions and associations in the country, counted among them the "unity of Indonesia," the elaboration of which invoked the 1928 Youth Pledge. On Pancasila and its em/deployment by the major institutions of the Indonesian state, see Douglas E. Ramage, Politics in Indonesia: democracy. Islam, and the ideology o/tolerance (New York: Routledge, 1995).
The entire month of October would become a nationally recognized month of commemoration, culminating in the annual celebration of the Youth Pledge on October 28th. It was a confirmation of a situation yet to be realized, but apparently unobjectionably so. By comparison with India and Pakistan, Indonesian's uncontested emergence as a national language is something of a marvel and extraordinary in its impact. It was not an issue of protest, and throughout Indonesia's independent existence, language issues have been neither politicized nor the focus of violent conflict.
That this new national language, known by all to be in fact in the process of ‘development’ and contributing to the development of the nation at the same time, has met with widespread acceptance requires a closer look. How did this language, forged first as an informal lingua franca by traders, then shaped into a ‘school Malay’ by the Dutch, later literally propagated throughout the country by the Japanese, finally become a language of state, science, and modem commerce?
The answer to this question appears to lie in the purposeful creation and development of Indonesian as a language explicitly allied with modernity, and the vehicle for national as well as individual progress. If Alisjahbana was representative of his time as well as the unique circumstances of the formation of modem Indonesia(n), we should take seriously the preoccupations his work embodied. Like Pakistan's intellectual Jameel Jalibi, and indeed mirroring the concerns voiced by Nehru, Patel and Sitaramayya in India, Alisjahbana similarly saw deep-rooted regional languages as forces of division. Historian of language Khaidir Anwar writes that Alisjahbana's contributions to the "Cultural Polemics" showed his conviction that the region's old cultures would "promote divisive regionalism and hinder the growth of the spirit of national unity." Further, Alisjahbana would define the idea of Indonesian-ness as "... the will which emerges in the twentieth century among these millions of population to unite into a single nation, and through that create unity to strive together to secure a rightful position beside other nations." (Anwar, Indonesian: The Development and Use of A National Language, 24. Alijshahbana quote cited from Sutan Takdir Alijshahbana, Polemik Kebudajaan in A. Kartahadimadja, ed. Djakarta, 1954, 26.)
In another passage from an early essay of the "Cultural Polemics," Alisjahbana fully spel1ed out a vision of cultural and linguistic rupture which he envisioned as the key to forging a new Indonesia: Indonesia, being the ideal of the young generation, is not a continuation of [the] Mataram [kingdom], not a continuation of the Banten kingdom, not the kingdoms of Minangkabau or Banjarmasin. Likewise, in the perspective of this [young Indonesia], Indonesian culture cannot possibly be a continuation of the Javanese culture, the continuation of the Malay culture, the continuation of the Sundanese culture, or any other cultures.
The above is translated by Ariel Heryanto; cited in Heryanto, Language of Development, 14. Original: Indonesia yang dicita-citakan oleh generasi baru bukan sambungan Mataram, bukan sambunga kerajaan Banten, bukan kerajaan Minangkabau atau Banjarmasin. Menurut susunan pikiran ini, maka kebudayaan Indonesia pun tiadalah mungkin sambungan kebudayaan Jawa, sambungan kebudayaan Melayu, sambungan kebudayaan Sunda atau kebudayaan yang lain.
This idea of a new nation, with its new language conceptualized as part of the process of becoming modem/young, a discontinuity from the traditional/old, infused the nationalist movement. Of course, embedded in such an idea is the acknowledgment that the traditional/old is the situation actually in existence and that in order to actually become modem/young, some re-engineering would be required. The challenges, then, would be to "develop" the language into one suitable for modem life, while simultaneously promulgating the language nationally so that it could be understood. Indeed, in 1949 Alisjahbana acknowledged this challenge: "...the Indonesian people must learn as quickly as possible to think and to express themselves fluently in their national tongue, so while Indonesian has constitutional status as the language of state, article thirty-six of the constitution also contains a clause mandating that regional languages be "respected and preserved" The Ministry of Education and Culture in 1952 issued a directive "To foster and develop Indonesian language and literature, including regional languages and literatures.
In the education system, regional languages can be used as the medium of instruction up to the third grade, though this is only possible for regions in which there is a local homogeneity of language. South Sulawesi, for example, a multilingual region, must use Indonesian instead of any of the regional languages. Given the hundreds of languages in use in Indonesia, many of which have few speakers, the compromise formula produced supports a mere few regional languages for these early years of primary education: Javanese, Sundanese, Madurese, Batak, Balinese, Acehnese, and/or Buginese, Minang, Banjarese, and Sasak. There appears to be some confusion on the exact languages permitted for use in the primary years; Moeliono reports two different rosters (which I've separated above). But Jacques Berttand reports that only five languages (Balinese, Batak, Buginese, Javanese, Sundanese) were allowed for primary level use. See Bertrand, "Language Policy and the Promotion of National Identity in Indonesia," 279, MoelioDO, Language Development and Cultivation: Alternative Approaches in Language Planning, 37.100819. The census data appears only to break out population counts for Javanese, Sundanese, Madurese, Batak,
Over the course of decades, the Indonesian state has put its full moral and financial muscle behind developing the Indonesian language. It now has a huge scientific and technical vocabulary, fully systematized grammar explicated in grammar books, and comprehensive dictionaries. This process of "developing" Indonesian has been a state project at the very highest of levels. The national language institute, Pusat Bahasa, reports directly to the president, which conveys how important the country considers this language project to be. Making a national language, like managing the armed forces, or overseeing the finance ministry, has cabinet-level status. Pakistan's Muqtadira Qaumi Zaban. or National Language Authority, is a department of the Cabinet Division; in this regard it should be noted that it was founded only in 1979. and appears to have had difficulty convincing the entrenched bureaucracy to replace English with Urdu. Interview with MQZ Chairman Fateh Mohammad Malik. October 15.2002.
The Pusat Bahasa, created in 1975, is the organizational successor to a number of different language institutions, including Balai Pustaka, Balai Bahasa, and Lembaga Bahasa Nasional, all of which had been actively creating and furthering this language for decades. Most fascinating is how this exemplary language project has actually managed to produce not only a national language now widely spoken and written throughout the country, animating new kinds of literature but marking successes not seen in comparable situations such as India or Pakistan.