INDIA: Out of Babel

For three days, in the round-domed chamber of New Delhi's Constituent Assembly, the men who are framing India's new constitution grappled with a question which could wreck any national structure. What should be the language of free India?

The question was as complex as India's linguistic makeup. Its solution was basic to the building of a modern cohesive state out of disparate parts. The nation of Gandhi and Nehru has no majority tongue. Some 41% of its people speak Hindi. Another 14% speak Marathi, Gujarati, Kashmiri and Punjabi—all closely related to Hindi. Some...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!