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Women and Girls in the Hindi Public SpherePeriodical Literature in Colonial North India$
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Shobna Nijhawan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780198074076

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198074076.001.0001

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Hindi and the Question of Comprehensibility

Hindi and the Question of Comprehensibility

(p.188) 5 Hindi and the Question of Comprehensibility
Women and Girls in the Hindi Public Sphere

Shobna Nijhawan

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how women’s periodicals contributed to debates over Hindi as a national language and literature and analyses the language used in women’s periodicals. It is organized chronologically and thematically around the Hindi movement. Many writings in women’s periodicals rejected the mainstream Hindi nationalist agenda of standardized and Sanskritized Hindi. Instead, they chose to publish in a language that came close to the lingua franca of the targeted audiences and which nevertheless claimed the status of a national language. Moreover, writers who were not always native speakers of a Hindi dialect retained the flexibility of Hindi and created a language different to the one envisioned by the Hindi literati. Therefore, Hindi women’s periodicals were vital not only in shaping and creating political discourse on women and society but also envisioned the creation of modern Hindi as a national language and the language of the people.

Keywords:   women’s periodicals, Hindi language, national language, mainstream Hindi, standardized Hindi, Sanskritized Hindi, Hindi movement, Hindi literati

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