Language in Political Economy and Market Economy: A Case Study of India

E. Annamalai


The political philosophy underpinning the Indian Constitution is socialist economy in a multilingual political landscape. The Constitution grants some fundamental rights to all citizens regarding language and to linguistic and other minorities regarding education. It also obligates states to use many languages in school education. Restructuring the economy with free market as its pivot and the growing dominance of English in the information driven global economy give rise to policy changes in language use in education, which undermine the Constitutional provisions relating to language, though these changes reflect the manufactured consent of the citizens. This is made possible by the way the Constitution is interpreted by courts with regard to the fundamental rights of equality and non-discrimination when they apply to language. The unique property of language that it can be acquired, unlike other primordial attributes such as ethnicity or caste, comes into play in this interpretation. The result is that the law of the market takes over the law of the land.

Cite as: Annamalai, JLL 1 (2012), 50–62, DOI: 10.14762/jll.2012.050

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