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Language and the Making of Modern India

Language and the Making of Modern India
Nationalism and the Vernacular in Colonial Odisha, 1803–1956

  • Publication planned for: April 2020
  • availability: Not yet published - available from April 2020
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108425735


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About the Authors
  • Through an examination of the creation of the first linguistically organized province in India, Odisha, Pritipuspa Mishra explores the ways regional languages came to serve as the most acceptable registers of difference in post-colonial India. She argues that rather than disrupting the rise and spread of All-India nationalism, regional linguistic nationalism enabled and deepened the reach of nationalism in provincial India. Yet this positive narrative of the resolution of Indian multilingualism ignores the cost of linguistic division. Examining the case of the Adivasis of Odisha, Mishra shows how regional languages in India have come to occupy a curiously hegemonic position. Her study pushes us to rethink our understanding of the vernacular in India as a powerless medium and acknowledges the institutional power of language, contributing to global debates about linguistic justice and the governance of multilingualism. This title is also available as Open Access.

    • Provides a nuanced framework for understanding regional history in India
    • Situates the regional history of Odisha within broader national and global trends to help readers understand how language and nation interact in post-colonial contexts
    • Presents a coherent history of multilingualism in India relevant to global debates about linguistic justice and governance of multilingualism
    • This title is also available as Open Access
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This sweeping study clarifies our understanding of the role of language and authority in the Indian nation through Odia speakers' use of literature, education, politics, and identity. Anyone interested in the intersection of language politics and culture, along with its ties to nation and territory, should read Mishra's book.' Rosina Lozano, Princeton University, New Jersey

    'Intensely engaging, lucidly written and carefully drawn upon rich archival, historical and literary sources, Mishra presents a set of compelling arguments and theoretical insights while analysing the six decades of Odisha as a linguistic state formation. Language and the Making of Modern India shows how regional and national formations are not opposed but reproduce each other in multiple ways.' Asha Sarangi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

    'Language and the Making of Modern India will be valuable to scholars of Indian vernacular politics, regionalism, nationalism, and citizenship. Mishra's is a pioneering study that shows how regional linguistic politics are crucial to understanding the history of citizenship in modern India, and how language became the crucial grounds for the constitution of the Indian national subject.' Farina Mir, University of Michigan

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: April 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108425735
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • contains: 7 maps
    • availability: Not yet published - available from April 2020
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: nation in the vernacular
    1. How the vernacular became regional
    2. Vernacular publics: a modern Odia readership imagined
    3. The Odia political subject and the rise of the Odia movement
    4. Odisha as vernacular homeland
    5. The invisible minority: history and the problem of the Adivasi
    6. The genius of India: linguistic difference, regionalism and the Indian nation

  • Author

    Pritipuspa Mishra, University of Southampton
    Pritipuspa Mishra is a Lecturer in History at the University of Southampton.

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