'A State of Affairs which is Essentially Indefinite': The Linguistic Survey of India (1894-1927)

'A State of Affairs which is Essentially Indefinite': The Linguistic Survey of India (1894-1927)

Author: 
Majeed, Javed
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis
Date published: 
2015
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
African Studies
Source: 
African Studies, Vol. 74, No. 2, August 2015, pp. 221-234
Abstract: 

Historians of colonial India have argued that cartography was central to colonial power in India; maps came to define the British empire's authority in the subcontinent. The effectiveness of imperial geography made India a concrete entity for both British colonialists and Indian nationalists, for whom India came to be a single and coherent geographical entity whose boundaries coincided with those of the subcontinent. This article argues that the geographical imagining of India in the Linguistic Survey of India (1894-1927) was in conflict with these colonial and nationalist mappings of India. It complicated the notion of India as a single, coherent, self-referential geography, and in doing so it centralised India in a global linguistic geography. Its cartographical exercises were at odds with the colonial state's investment in a particular geographical image of India, and with the canonical nationalist geographical imagining of India as a multilingual entity as expressed in the Report of the State Reorganization Commission of 1955.

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Date created: 
Tuesday, November 14, 2017