PresenterKÖVES Margit - Delhi University, Department. of Slavonic and Finno-Ugrian Studies, Delhi, India
Panel32 – Dynamics of Language Diversity, Multilingual Identities and Linguistic Nationalism in South Asia
A large number of Bombay films play with language diversity. Film comedy is always linked to languages, playing on puns, making fun of accents and change of languages. This is something, which always puzzles the monolingual speaker from European countries even though most European countries have a multilingual tradition.
The so called national language in Europe was usually an expression of political power and hegemony. This is specially true of Hungarian language, which has many parallels with Hindi. The Hungarian movement of language renewal in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has many parallels with Hindi.
The film Muhafiz focuses on the issue of language even more than Anita Desai’s novel In Custody where the problems of middle class survival are brought more to the centre than in the novel. Deven, a college teacher is one of „Midnight’s children”, he is a representative of Hindu middle class who inherited post-Independence, post-Partition India. Urdu and its cultural world is the main motivation and a source of nostalgia and longing in Deven’s life. Urdu indeed marks cultural wholeness for Indians and its vacuum fills a large portion of Hindi speaking middle class with nostalgia. The visual realization of the film reflects the vacuum that Urdu language and culture left behind.