"Vernacular Literacy and the Urdu Public Text: Examples from Gujarat and the Deccan"
with Walter Hakala
Associate Professor in English at the University of Buffalo
Thursday, February 14th
4:00 - 5:30 PM
912 Sproul Hall
Hindi-Urdu (H-U) was just one among the many languages that emerged in the medieval period from the long shadows cast by Sanskrit and Persian. So-called languages of the land (deśya or desī) would eventually become symbols of and the media through which regional identities consolidated into ideologies of nationalism. But H-U, despite the efforts of its many notable regional chauvinists, never belonged to any single place. What might be gained by writing a history of H-U that was based not on reconstructing the lives of a few great authors but rather the collective contributions of anonymous legions of scribes, inscriptionists, doggerelists, and children? Without the distraction of personality, I argue that an epigraphic approach permits a more rigorous analysis of H-U's varied linguistic forms and range of communicative functions.
Part of the Comparative Literature Colloquium Series
Co-sponsored by the Program in Middle East and South Asia Studies