• Lecture by Aijaz Ahmad: The Languages of a Union

    March 2, 2016

    Aijaz Ahmad, noted academic and cultural critic, delivered the inaugural lecture for the Indian languages festival of the India Habitat Centre — ILF Samanvay 2015. Using the phrase “transnational matrix of the country”, he says that the Indian nation-state is conceived as a union of several autonomous linguistic nationalities. Hence the name we have given ourselves – the Indian union. The birth of this union was accompanied by both joy and trauma. One way to cope with this trauma was to guide ourselves with “secular reason”. Our literatures stand as a testimony to this fact. He concludes with a point on language and power, and dismisses the notion of a major and minor language: “There is, in my view, no such thing as a minor language. Every language is a major language in its own place and time, for those who speak it, no matter how large or small the language-community is in numbers.”

    Read the text of the lecture here.

    Donate to the Indian Writers' Forum, a public trust that belongs to all of us.