'Die Grenzen meiner Sprache sind die Grenzen meiner Welt'

Whatever the use we put language to, the words we employ impose limits on what we can meaningfully convey using them.

For example, the word 'regional party' (translated as 'pradeshika paksha' in Kannada) imposes a psychological limit on the one who employs it. It tends to associate an insignificance, a smallness, a trivialness with what that party represents. To speak of increasing the significance, perceived size or importance of those parties is psychologically inconsistent with the fundamental meaning conveyed by the word 'regional party'.

Similarly about the word 'national party': it attributes a greater significance, largeness, and greater importance of what such a party represents, right off the bat. A party only needs to be called a 'national party', and the psychology of those on whom the word is wielded is already transformed into believing that it is something better, more grand, more important, more significant than 'regional parties'.

The Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once famously said that 'the limits of my language are the limits of my world'. ('Die Grenzen meiner Sprache sind die Grenzen meiner Welt'). The limits of language created by the terms 'regional party' and 'national party' act to create psychological limits on those who use the terms, and consequently, impose limits on the political changes that are at all possible.

Therefore, let's switch to terms like 'state party' and 'federal party'. These terms don't imply a hierarchy of importance; rather, they stand for the functions that are desired from them.

Fossils bloom

The sidelining of Indian languages other than Hindi according to the new rules of the UPSC examination saw lots of protests on social networking sites last week. Unfortunately, the protests have already begun to die down. The world gets the message that the injustice is thereby vindicated.

The framers of our Constitution knew that such protests would die down. They knew because we were not awake enough to protest when they took away some of our most fundamental freedoms. We were not awake enough to protest when they indoctrinated us into believing that those freedoms are worthless fossils to be laid at the foundation of the new nation. Now, the continuation of our fatal slumber has become necessary by law, and that law doles out injustice after injustice.

But what the framers of the Constitution seem to have forgotten is: we did not protest then because then we believed them to take care of our freedoms. We did not protest then because we believed that their awakening is our awakening. Now, the proof that they have failed us, and the truth that our awakening is a separate one, both stare in our eye.

Yes, we may forget the present injustice soon, but the Constitution will ensure that another one will follow. We will forget that one, too, but there is no denying that the underlying flaw in the Constitution will make itself more and more visible every time an injustice is rolled out. As this continues, The Book will stop being followed in spirit and will have to be enforced purely in letter. We already see the signs of this decay. It will be good for the future of the Indian nation to recognize it and start the process of rewriting the Constitution from scratch.