Whatever happened to Hindustani ? : language politics in late colonial India

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2012-12
Authors
Forster, Richard James
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2012]
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The following thesis offers a narrative of the struggle to define the national language of India in the final decades of the colonial era. In doing so, it attempts to probe somewhat further than the compelling yet not wholly satisfying explanation that the abandonment of Hindustani in the Constituent Assembly was a product of Partition and the bitterness that it brought, an inevitable outcome of the two-nation theory and the adoption by Pakistan of Urdu as its national language.14 While the impact of Partition on the ultimate designation of India's official language was clearly momentous, this thesis suggests that woven through the cultural sensibilities of many key figures within the Congress were distinct threads of Hindu nationalism, whatever the official policies of their political organization. Indeed, Hindi and Devanagari as markers of Hindu identity were key components of the nationalist agenda of Congressmen such as P. D. Tandon, and arguably even Gandhi himself, well before the demand for Pakistan was ever voiced. The research presented below furthermore suggests that many prominent advocates of Hindustani were themselves so much the product of a distinctly Hindu cultural tradition and worldview that their ultimate acquiescence in the final denouement of the language question, while disappointing, need not be particularly surprising.
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M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
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Hindustani, late colonial India
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Theses for the degree of Master of Arts (University of Hawaii at Manoa). History.
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