Rabbi, S. “The Sociolinguistics of South Asian Cosmopolitan Literature: The Dubhasa (Mixed Language Modes) of the Puthi Tradition in Muslim Bengal.” In J. Lee (Ed.) The Sociolinguistics of Global Asias (pp. 156-170). New York: Routledge. Abstract: Scholars of language have long been interested in the widespread plurilingualism of South Asian communication. These linguistic practices provide … Continue reading New chapter on plurilingualism and religious texts by 19th century Muslim Bengali communities (ask me if you need a copy)
The Language of Puthis: Dubhashi and the Bengali Muslims
Muslims in the region of Bengal, like other Muslims in the Northwest of India, viewed that different languages in the space social space was natural and by God's design. This was the way it always was after all, and pointed to Qur'anic ayats, such as the one above , to argue that the wise person had to know and communicate in many languages. It also means sometimes people would mix different languages as they saw fit for their pupose in single utterances. This view can be seen in the way the puthi genres made use of dubhashi (a language made up of Bangla, Hindustani, Farsi, and Arabic). Their writers and performances only thought about ways to best communicate Islamic ideas and views, not whether what the language they used was proper or not.