Towards the Concept of a New Nationhood: Languages
and Literatures in India U. R. Ananthamurthy
(Talk delivered at Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar, India on 3 September,
The essay “Towards the concept of New Nationhood: Languages and literatures in India” is one of the widely read essays in English, which is basically a speech given by U.R. Ananthamurthy. In this treatise he reflects the Indian hetrogenious culture, through the medium of language and literature. According to the author, the Indian nation contains, many Indias in itself, because it breaks the European notion of one race, one religion, and one nation. U.R. Ananthamurthy, mentions there are 1,652 mother tongues which are classified under 105 languages. These languages belong to four different language families namely, Indo – Aryan, Dravidian, Tibetan, and Astro – Asiatic. But 90 percent of these languages are spoken by less than 5 percent of the people, specifically 65 tribes. There are 15 languages in India which are written, read, and spoken by 95 percent of Indians that’s why it seems like the tower of Babel.
In India most of the people knew at least three languages, which are used in different occasions. A individual might use kannada at home, Hindi in streets, and English at office. When someone narrates some event which happened at office to their mother, they are translating spontaneously, continuously, and unconsciously. Hence plurality in language and translation are insuperable. In India, the more the person becomes literate, the fewer languages he or she is learns. For example, if one person is well versed in English he or she is tempted to use English. But in some cities of Karnataka, even a less literate person, like bus stand colie can speak, kannada, Malayalam, Tamil some Hindi and some English. According to the author it is these people who are upholding the diversity of the Indian languages.
In India, people of ancient past have also lived ambitious lives. The Indian Literature or literatures had filled with richness of both knowledge and rationality. Shankarachaya, a well known philosopher of the south India wrote many books in Sanskrit, though he knows Malayalam. Anandatirtha, a famous kannada writer spoke Tulu at home, kannada in streets, and wrote in Sanskrit. Again Sanskrit is considered as the language of dignity and hegemony in the ancient period, as contrary to English in modern society. The social issues were questioned much before the Europeans advent in the country. In 12th century the great reformer from Karnataka called Basaveshwara who tried to abolish the caste system from the society. In order to do that he wrote “vachanas” in kannada the language spoken by the local people which reaches to larger audiances and thereby change takes place. Not just that, many classics of India like, Kalidasa’s Shankutala, Vedas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, etc, are translated into different languages, who spread the same message in a different way.
However the Article is not fully analysed because of the time constrains and will be analysed next week.