Room 113, School of Arts and Sciences
The lecture will recount the major epistemic shifts in India's past since Holocene, a period of about 12000 years, and present how language played the most crucial role in consolidating on those epistemic shifts. It will describe the range of linguistic diversity existing at each of those major turning points and how diversity played a role in triggering the change. It will conclude by commenting on the status of diversity of Indian languages at present.
Ganesh N. Devy is a thinker, cultural activist and an institution builder best known for the People’s Linguistic Survey of India and the Adivasi Academy created by him. He writes in three languages—Marathi, Gujarati and English. He has written and edited close to ninety influential books in areas as diverse as Literary Criticism, Anthropology, Education, Linguistics and Philosophy. He has held fellowships at Leeds University and Yale University and has been THB Symons Fellow (1991-92) and Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow (1994–96). He was Professor of English at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (1980-96). In 1996, he gave up his academic career in order to initiate work with the Denotified and Nomadic Tribes (DNT) and Adivasis. During this work, he created the Bhasha Research and Publication Centre at Baroda, the Adivasis Academy at Tejgadh, the DNT-Rights Action Group and several other initiatives. Later he initiated the largest-ever survey of languages in history, carried out with the help of nearly 3000 volunteers and published in 50 multilingual volumes. He is at the helm of the Dakshinayan movement, which follows the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and brings together artists, writers and intellectuals to stand for tolerance and freedom of thought.