A selection of conversations, lectures, and philosophical and biographical essays that look at the significance of the polyphony of human voices that are fast vanishing with the advance of civilisation, the place of silence in the making of meaning, and of language itself in the future of
knowledge, The Question of Silence is an insightful and thought-provoking meditation on the many silences confronting us in today’s world.
The most widely perceived aspect of silence is that which is forced upon subjugated and marginalised peoples, genders, tongues, cultures and nations. The rapid loss of natural languages—and with them entire bodies of thought, knowledge, ways of seeing and being—is the other disturbing phenomenon. By engaging with these questions, the author shows us possible ways in which we can collectively negotiate with such ‘silences’, and the consequences they entail for the human consciousness, the human race, and the very idea of being human.
By way of answers are inspiring vignettes from a lifetime of work: the making of the unprecedented People’s Linguistic Survey of India, the Bhasha Centre at Baroda, the Adivasi Academy at Tejgad, and the motivation behind them. The book also offers a candid, close and
personal—at times delightfully wry—look at the making of G. N. Devy as he takes us through his childhood, school and college years, and his later life as a man in search of himself. This is an eclectic and richly rewarding journey into our world, with one of the most influential public intellectuals of our times.
G. N. Devy, a scholar and cultural activist, has written in the areas of literary criticism, literary history, philosophy, education, anthropology and linguistics. He received the Padma Shri (2014) for his work with nomadic communities and endangered languages, and has, since 2015, led ‘Dakshinayan’, a resistance movement of writers and thinkers.