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The University of Hong Kong
‘Purifying’ Hindi translanguaging from English and Urdu emblems: A sociolinguistic decolonisation of the Hindu right?

As the right-wing Hindutva (Hinduness) movement is gaining political momentum, exclusionary, racist and nationalistic ideologies and practices become normalised and mainstreamed across Indian cultural spheres. Hindu enthusiasts, both from the higher echelons of society and from the grassroots, have made significant progress with ‘purifying’ social, political, legal, discursive and sociolinguistic practices in everyday life by purging emblems perceived as un-Indian or anti-national. Their vision is to create a new Hindu Rashtra, a Hindu Nation with the name of Bharat, in the near future. I discuss several sociolinguistic ‘purifications’ of Hindi translanguaging; i.e. moments in which metapragmatic efforts are made to speak/write/learn a ‘pure’ (shuddh) register of Hindi, which is free from what are perceived as historical impurities caused by Islamic rule (indexed by ‘Urdu’) and British colonialism (indexed by ‘English’).


Dr Jaspal Naveel Singh is a sociolinguist and linguistic ethnographer. His PhD thesis explored voice and narrative in hip hop dance, music and art in Delhi, India. Prior to coming to the University of Hong Kong, he taught at Cardiff University in Wales, UK, and at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. He disseminated his research at numerous academic conferences and lectures across the world and through academic publications. Jaspal works ethnographically and is interested in the complex interconnections between language (languaging) and culture (transculturation). He takes inspiration from sociolinguistics, discourse studies, classic western and eastern philosophy, hip hop and other Black diasporic traditions, to arrive at a type of research that complexifies standard approaches in the social sciences and problematises research ethics and common-sense writing strategies.

Zoom Details

Zoom link: https://hku.zoom.us/j/93673208332?pwd=bExaRzRQakRjL2czVDB4UndBdDNWdz09

Meeting ID: 936 7320 8332
Password: 319501

Live broadcast will be available in Room CRT-7.45, 7/F, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU.