articles by Karthik Malli


Once a Mysorean military base, Sultan Bathery's Jain temple bears witness to the tribulations of Wayanad and its people

Sultan Bathery's Jain temple has seen the changing fortunes of Wayanad, from its position on Jain cultural networks, to the region's invasion by Tipu Sultan, to the large scale settlement of Malayalis in the modern era.


Minority languages suffer from institutional neglect, biases as Indian govt saves its focus for 'classical languages'

Minority languages suffer from institutional neglect since India’s states, founded on the principle of linguistic nationalism, view these languages with suspicion. The Central Government, on the other hand, saves its focus for English and Hindi, the undeserving recipient of nationwide propagation.


To be truly inclusive, anti-CAA movement must acknowledge protest traditions in languages beyond Urdu

The experience of resistance is a shared one — one that cuts across language and region. A plurality of defiant voices would only reinforce the solidarity that is at the centre of such resistance, by helping people both express and hear it in new ways that channel their anger and frustration, telling them that they are not alone in this. Learning about marginalised traditions and offering them representation also ties in to the broader inclusiveness, progressiveness, and opposition to homogenisation that the anti-CAA movement stands for.


Controversy over Telugu 'imposition' in TN is symptomatic of growing linguistic nationalism in India

Violence is a logical expression of linguistic nationalism, not an unexpected deviation from its chartered course towards cultural homogenisation and the erasure of histories of cultural interactions. By politicising linguistic identities, communities are compelled to compete against one another to secure social and political capital for themselves, vying for limited commodities of space and power — something that can all too easily descend into violence.


Recent controversies over Sanskrit, Urdu in educational institutions point to growing communalisation of languages

The communalisation of a language like Urdu or Sanskrit has very real consequences for both the language itself, but more importantly, for the people who use it on a regular basis. As a process, it attempts to draw clear lines delineating who can and can’t use a certain language, rewarding transgressions with an open hostility.


Dakhni proverbs, dying references to Deccan culture, are being preserved, recorded by one Urdu professor

Dakhni could once boast of a thriving literary tradition with a considerably large canon, thanks to royal patronage at the courts of the Deccan Sultanates. Dakhni proverbs abound in references to local dishes, agriculture, festivals (especially Muharram), and traditional Deccan life, among other themes. One Urdu professor is now trying to piece together proverbs from texts and oral sources, so that future generations can learn about them


Romi Konkani: The story of a Goan script, born out of Portuguese influence, which faces possible decline

Romi Konkani's roots in Goa are deeper than one may expect. Even though it is a widely used, standardised Latin-based writing system, used by tens of thousands of Goans, it is not recognised by the law or the Sahitya Academi. This has resulted in the exclusion of those Goans who write using the Romi script