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Riddles of BelongingIndia in Translation and Other Tales of Possession$
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Christi A. Merrill

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823229550

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823229550.001.0001

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A Telling Example

A Telling Example

Chapter:
(p.44) Two: A Telling Example
Source:
Riddles of Belonging
Author(s):

Christi A. Merrill

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823229550.003.0003

The political battles being waged over recognition of the Rajasthani language, for example, rely on the same polarizing rhetoric perhaps familiar from other places and times. Part of the logic of the nation-state seized on (quite shrewdly) by the RLF is that power legitimizes certain sectarian interests at the expense of others. The decision to make Rajasthani secondary to Hindi is figured here in terms of caste. Often, then, the revered figure of the mother tongue vies with religion — as Paul Brass notes — to produce a particularly potent symbol of national unity. While it is worthwhile understanding in more detail how these divisions of belonging and exclusion become written into the critical idiom used today to negotiate these issues, one of the paradoxes of modern political rhetoric one should note first is that one achieves power for those linguistic identities by claiming a gendered powerlessness.

Keywords:   Rajasthani, Hindi, belonging, exclusion, rhetoric

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