The advent of print has an important influence upon the arbitrariness of the concept of language as well as nation. Print has taken the role of selecting, codifying and finally making a particular variety the standard variety in many of the world's languages, and thereby enabling the people to imagine to be the members of a particular speech community and later on to assert a common identity in a geographical space. This study is an attempt to deconstruct that complex dynamic in two of the earlier magazines of Assam in the colonial context of the province. Arunondoi, the first Assamese magazine, was an effort of the Baptist missionaries and in the common literary and historical discourse credited with revitalising the Assamese language which was almost at the verge of attrition due to the colonial policy of replacing Assamese with Bengali as a medium of instruction and language of the court. Jonaki, on the other hand, was the journal brought out in Calcutta in the year 1889 by Axomia Bhaxa Unnati Xadhin Xobha (Association for the Development of the Assamese Language), a students' body, with an ideological slant towards a linguistic nationalism. It was the endeavour undertaken by the native middle-class that had grown up with English education. The embryonic form of sub-national identity founded in the pages of Arunodoi matures in the pages of Jonaki. The study is an attempt to recount this journey from the unconscious to the conscious by reading through the pages of these two magazines.
Next: The Growth of Print Nationalism and The Formation of Assamese Identity in two early magazines: Arunoloi and Jonnaki
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