January 22, 2009
|Rethinking the Language Debates in India
|Natalini Iyer and Bonnie Zare
|Other Tongues: Rethinking the Language Debates in India explores the implications of the energetic and, at times, acrimonious public debate among Indian authors and academics over the hegemonic role of Indian writing in English. From the 1960s the debate in India has centered on the role of the English language in perpetuating and maintaining the cultural and ideological aspects of imperialism. The debate received renewed attention following controversial claims by Salman Rushdie and V.S. Naipaul on the inferior status of contemporary Indian-language literatures. This volume offers nuanced analysis of the language, audience, and canon debate; provides a multivocal debate in which academics, writers, and publishers are brought together in a multi-genre format (academic essay, interview, personal essay); and explores how translation mediates this debate and the complex choices that translation must entail. Other Tongues is the first collective study to bring together voices from differing national, linguistic, and professional contexts in an examination of the nuances of this debate over language. By creating dialogue between different stakeholders — seven scholars, three writers, and three publishers from India — the volume brings to the forefront underrepresented aspects of Indian literary culture.