India not only is concerned with inevitable multilingualism, but also with the rights of many millions of speakers of minority languages. As the political and cultural context privileges some major languages, linguistic minorities often feel discriminated against by the current language policy of the Union and the States. They experience on a daily basis that their mother tongues are deemed worthless dialects that have little utility in modern life. Many such languages have definitively disappeared, and several more are on the brink of extinction. Is this the inevitable price to be paid for economic modernization, cultural homogenisation and the multilingual fabric of India's society at large?
This book is an effort to map India's linguistic minorities and to assess the language policy towards these communities. The author, a senior researcher of the EURAC (South Tyrol, Italy), assuming linguistic rights as a component of fundamental human rights, codified in a number of international covenants and in the Indian Constitution, provides an appraisal of the extent to which language rights are respected in India's multilingual reality, which takes into consideration the experiences of minority language protection in other regions.