Towards the Concept of a New Nationhood: Languages and Literatures in India

U.R. Ananthamurthy

Sometime ago I was in Syria meeting Arab writers from several parts of that country, and most of them asked me this question: ‘You have twenty-two languages, but you are one nation, whereas we have one language, one religion, but we are twenty-two nations! How do you explain that?’ What follows may provide a tentative explanation for this mystery called the Indian nation. I invoke two names, those of Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore for this purpose. They provided an idea of the nation which is very different from the European idea of one language, one race and one religion. Hence, although there was an attempt to evolve a European kind of ...

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