Linguistic Diversity and Economic Disparity: An Issue for Multiculturalism in India

By Papia Sengupta.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A defining feature of India is its diversity in terms of religion, caste, language and culture. India adopted a federal structure, with states constituted on a linguistic basis, as the primary mechanism to accommodate the different linguistic groups and to ensure their effective integration into the economic, political, social and cultural mainstream. However, the growing regional disparities in India, arising from the linguistic minority states developing faster than the national average, have generated stress between the linguistic groups forming the different states. This has posed a new set of issues for multiculturalism, whose principal presumption is that conflicts emerge within societies primarily due to the minority groups feeling excluded in terms of benefiting less than the majority group from the overall process of socio-economic development. The discord between the majority and minority linguistic groups in India, arising due to the latter progressing faster than the former, presents a set of wider issues which needs to be adequately addressed by multiculturalism.

Keywords: Multiculturalism, Majority Language Community, Minority Cultures, Disparate Economic Growth, Integration, Language Policy

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp.147-164. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.230MB).

Papia Sengupta

Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Delhi, Delhi, Delhi, India

Papia Sengupta is Assistant Professor of Political Science in Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. She has been awarded the Shastri Indo-Canadian Faculty research Fellowship in 2007 in Queens University, Ontario, Canada. Her areas of interests are Diversity especially Linguistic diversity, Multiculturalism, Political Theory and democracy. Her paper titled ‘ Linguistic Diversity and Disparate Regional Growth’ was published in the Economic and Political Weekly, Volume XLIII, No.33 August 16, 2008. she has also contributed a chapter on ‘Rights’ in Rajeev Bhargava and Ashok Acharya (ed.) Introduction to Political Theory, Pearsons Education 2008.


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