A Telling Example

Christi A. Merrill

in Riddles of Belonging

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780823229550
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241064 | DOI:
A Telling Example

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The political battles being waged over recognition of the Rajasthani language, for example, rely on the same polarizing rhetoric perhaps familiar from other places and times. Part of the logic of the nation-state seized on (quite shrewdly) by the RLF is that power legitimizes certain sectarian interests at the expense of others. The decision to make Rajasthani secondary to Hindi is figured here in terms of caste. Often, then, the revered figure of the mother tongue vies with religion — as Paul Brass notes — to produce a particularly potent symbol of national unity. While it is worthwhile understanding in more detail how these divisions of belonging and exclusion become written into the critical idiom used today to negotiate these issues, one of the paradoxes of modern political rhetoric one should note first is that one achieves power for those linguistic identities by claiming a gendered powerlessness.

Keywords: Rajasthani; Hindi; belonging; exclusion; rhetoric

Chapter.  25699 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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