Why Bengali Could Never Surpass Hindi to Become India’s Top Language

It may come as a surprise to many people, but it’s true: Bengali had a chance to be India’s top language. The idea was killed after it faced stiff resistance from no one but Bengalis themselves, the rich and powerful ones, who favoured Persian.

The Bengali-Persian quarrel may be dead, but the politics of language is very much alive and well in India even today, nearly 200 years after the earlier episode played out.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-centric Bharatiya Janata Party pushing to impose Hindi as India’s national language, linguistic chauvinism is back to being centre stage in this nation of 1.4 billion people.

The government has backed off for now in the face of strong opposition from non-Hindi speakers, who account for 75% of the country’s population, but the war still rages on.

The fight has a history going back to 1800s when the British started thinking they were going to rule India for a long time. To prepare for it, they embarked upon patching

— source thewire.in | B.Z. Khasru | 11/Dec/2021

Nullius in verba

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