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Languages, lost and found

Jnanapravaha will host literary scholar and cultural activist GN Devy who will speak about the history of Indian languages. Titled Painted Words: Literature, Language, Silence, the lecture will offer a comprehensive picture of nearly 800 languages in existence in India and how they are rapidly losing imaginative expression.

Devy will provide a perspective on the uneasy journey of imagination in Indian literary practice over the last two centuries and show the inter-dependence of cultural diversity and creative arts in our time.


Illustration/ Amit Bandre

Devy writes in three languages — Marathi, Gujarati and English. Till 1996, he taught English literature at the MS University of Baroda. He left his academic position to take up conservation of threatened languages in India. Among the several institutions he founded since then are the Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, Budhan Theatre and the Adivasi Academy.

He has put to script 11 languages existing in oral traditions, published literature in 26 languages, helped educate 20,000 children from indigenous communities and has established economic empowerment activities in 2,200 villages in tribal districts of Gujarat. Devy has also been an Advisor to the Government of India on these issues.

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