“The hierarchy of languages is a peculiarly Indian situation…”

In the latest in our series of interviews for Writers Talk Politics, we speak to the poet and translator Arvind Krishna Mehrotra. Mehrotra writes in English, and has translated Prakrit poems from the Gāthā Saptaśatī, and Kabir's dohas into English. He began writing his own poems in English in the 1960s at the height of the angrezi hatao andolan. In this interview, he distinguishes between the fervent nationalism now that is centred around Hindi and Sanskrit, and the angrezi hatao andolan of the 60s. He also says that the fervent unscientific championing of Sanskrit, or the great Hindu past, is not possible because the literatures in those languages resist such a narrative.

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