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Title: Looking for common ground : aspects of cultural production in Hindi/Urdu, 1900-1947
Author: Lunn, David J.
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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This study follows scholarship that has charted the processes by which Hindi and Urdu were differentiated, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, as both distinct and mutually exclusive languages and also as markers of communal and religious identity. Through an examination of cultural production and producers in the late-colonial period, particularly in the 1930s and 1940s, it explores spaces, practices and discourses of commonality in journals and associations, in an effort to complicate and challenge the binaries of Hindi/Hindu and Urdu/Muslim, which are often seen as having been hegemonic in this period. Whether in terms of invocations of a shared literary and cultural inheritance, the evolution of or insistence upon mixed literary registers, discourses of Hindustani as the language of the common people, or articulations of humanistic and secular ideals of tolerance, this study shows how a significant number of literary and cultural producers were invested in denying and overcoming the rigidity of linguistic and communal exclusivities at this time of increasingly strident nationalisms and normative impulses. It examines a variety of fora and forms - literary institutions such as the Hindustani Academy and journals like Hindustani and Zamana, poetry, short prose literature, and film - to chart the ways in which such strategies and impulses worked across them. It shows historical modes of resistance to such exclusive socio-linguistic norms to be widespread during the period, and offers speculations on their relevance to current tastes and practices. In stressing contemporaneous multilingual practices of production and consumption, this thesis also makes a case for the necessity of reading the South Asian literary and cultural field comparatively and inter-linguistically. It offers insights into the literary and cultural expression of political ideologies of secularism, and seeks to contribute to broader debates on the dynamics of cultural production in historically multi-lingual contexts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral