What the Maithili Movement tells us about language politics in India

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Manage episode 273543545 series 2771444
By Himal Southasian Podcast Channel and Himal Southasian. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
On 9 August, an official at an airport questioned the Indian identity of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader Kanimozhi Karunanidhi because she did not know Hindi. In response, Kanimozhi tweeted “I would like to know from when being Indian is equal to knowing Hindi” with the hashtag #hindiimposition. The incident triggered viral responses on social media. Actors and politicians wore T-shirts with the slogan ‘I am Indian, I don’t speak Hindi’. On 2 September, the central government also proposed legislation in parliament under which Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) will have five official languages – Urdu, Hindi, Kashmiri, Dogri and English – even though Urdu has been J&K’s sole official language for 131 years. Ethnic minority groups demanded that the proposed bill include Gojri and Pahari, with some claiming that the exclusion of Punjabi from the bill was an “anti- minority move.” To discuss language politics in India, Himal Southasian speaks to Mithilesh Kumar Jha, author of ‘Language Politics and Public Sphere in North India: Making of the Maithili Movement’. By looking at the trajectory of the Maithili language movement and its struggle for recognition as an independent language, Jha offers important insights into how communities navigate their linguistic identities and resist ‘Hindi imposition.’

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