Language Policy in India Essay

3855 Words 16 Pages
McGill
Poli 322 Final Paper
A Game Theoretic Explanation of Indian Language Policy Outcome

“India has been a crucible for the drama of language conflict” (Laitin, 415).
Exploring language policy in India is both a complex and interesting task. Contrary to other empires that went through state consolidation, it is clear that India is quite the linguistic mosaic (Laitin, 415). Not only is there no single language for official exchange, but citizens of India have developed complex language repertoires in order to interact with servants, family, merchants, colleagues and officials. Language needs are so onerous that many parents with sufficient resources seek to equip their children with different repertoires in order to hedge their
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Overall, it is necessary to understand that the failure of language rationalization in India cannot be linked to the fact that the elite sought after and ultimately preferred cultural diversity. The diversity of language in India is ultimately maintained despite the ruling elite attempting to foster language rationalization (Latin, 422). Another explanation that is often given regarding the failing of language rationalization in India is that the “failure of centralized government” greatly contributed to this. This explanation seeks to promote the idea that there was never a truly autonomous India and that “Indian states therefore have greater legitimacy and more power than does the Union” (Laitin, 422). This is not exactly accurate as it is clear that many successful states in both Asia and Europe were built without this. “Whether the number of linguistically distinct regions, the power of their languages, the divide and rule tactics of the British, or the status weakness of Hindi should have significantly reduced the opportunities for the Congress elite to rationalize language in India, more so than state builders in other areas, is an interesting historical claim that requires evidence to be accepted” (Laitin, 424). The explanations that are explored above are ultimately questioned and cannot account for the current language policy outcome in India.

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