NDTV'S Ravish Kumar spoke to Devy yesterday; Arnab Goswami, it's your turn today to save the Republic. Tomorrow, lovers of Punjabi can sit on a dharna.
But it is alright if you missed it. Devy was yesterday at the India International Centre where 11 volumes of the ongoing mammoth work on the linguistic survey of India were being released.
This is the first time that someone took upon himself to engage with a task for which India should have had a full time ministry/directorate. Last time, and the only such survey that was carried out, was when George Abraham Grierson pulled off the feat. And that was in the late 1920s.
Former PM Manmohan Singh was there, as was cultural czarina Kapila Vatsyayan, the power house that stands on the intersection of dance, architecture and art, and surveys the domain with an understanding that dwarfs many a scholars.
A representative of Punjab Today, himself a linguistics student, met Devy after the formal interaction and asked if any of the myriad groups fighting for the Punjabi language and worried that it will be extinct in a matter of a few decades write to him too often, and have shared their concerns. I am refraining from sharing Devy's answer.
In no way am I denigrating the brave and consistent fight being put up by lovers of Punjabi -- but this struggle has to be a part of the larger struggle for India's diversity, its vernaculars, and the fact that all languages are important. If the fight is only for Punjabi, then it is a fight to demand more resources for a fire brigade truck to save one house in an alley from fire.
You need to draw up a plan and allocate resources for fire fighting for the entire town, otherwise that one house you need to save will remain under threat.
Those who slammed India's top academicians, scholars and women and men of letters for returning their awards, a reminder: GN Devy was also among them. Now they can go back and snatch the subject from Ravish Kumar and start a campaign against him on Republic TV.
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