India: Bureaucracy by Doublespeak

Troops in red turbans and elephants in gold caparisons march through New Delhi this week. The occasion is Republic Day, commemorating India's 15th independence anniversary. Also ushered in by the date is another event less loudly cheered: the formal designation of Hindi as India's official language.

In a land whose 470 million inhabitants speak 14 major tongues and 831 dialects, the language of the elite, ever since the British raj, has been English. Both Parliament and the executive branch of the government conduct their affairs in English, which is the only etymological link among all sectors of the Indian...

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