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Author: Francesca Orsini
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0198062206
To a colonized people agitating for freedom, a people divided by many languages, cultures and religions, the one language—one nation concept of nationalism proved to be both powerful and seductive. This book analyses how this language became this instrument.
This book analyses how a language became the instrument with which the contours of a new nation were traced. To a colonized people agitating for freedom, a people divided by many languages, cultures and religions, the one language—one nation concept of nationalism proved to be both powerful and seductive. In polyphonic India, however, such a single ‘national’ language had to be created, its power established. Most nineteenth-century Hindi intellectuals believed the chosen language to be the ‘Hindi’ Hindi, not the ‘Islamic’ Hindustani or Urdu nor any other prominent language like Bengali.
Francesca Orsini maps the success of this formalized Hindi in creating a regional public sphere in north India in the early twentieth century. Institutions and networks were set up to this end. Literary associations, journals, and schools were the settings in which a new kind of literary figure – the salaried intellectual – imagined the nation, debated issues of reform and acquired a political consciousness. Literature and history came out of this process transformed, and language helped draw political fault lines. With the unprecedented open space provided by journals, new voices like those of women and subaltern classes received a hearing and claimed participation in the public sphere.
Orisini shows how early twentieth-century discourses on language, literature, women, history, and politics form the core of the Hindi culture that exists today. She also recovers the many voices, written out of history, which were critical to the national Hindi project. With its depth and scope of research and thinking, this book will be crucial for any scholar engaging in the issues of nationalism, religion, language, and literature that Orisini so ably weaves together and scrutinizes here.
LANGUAGE AND THE LITERARY SPHERE
A Question of Language
Diversity in the Hindi Literary Sphere
Arenas of Literature; Journals, the Publishing Industry, and Poetry Meeting
Hindi Education and Literature
LANGUAGE, LITERATURE, AND PUBLICITY
The Nationalist Discourse of Language; Matrbhasa-desvyapak bhasa-rastrabhasa
Changing Concepts of Literature
Publicity and the Evaluation of Literature: Prizes, Popularity, and Criticism
THE USES OF HISTORY
The Engagement with History
History as a Mirror
The Shape of Society
WOMEN AND THE HINDI PUBLIC SPHERE
Education and the Field of Action
Widening Concerns: Hindi Women’s Journals
The Right to Feel
Images of Womanhood
THE HINDI POLITICAL SPHERE
Constitutional and Non-constitutional Domains
Peasants as Subjects
The Question of Authority