Peggy Mohan began life in Trinidad, West Indies, and earned a PhD in linguistics from the University of Michigan. She has taught linguistics at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia, among other centres. She is the author of three novels, and has contributed to reputed publications, such as the Economic and Political Weekly and IIC Quarterly. She has developed educational television programmes for children, and learnt cartoon animation and opera singing. She now teaches music in Vasant Valley School, New Delhi.One of India's most incredible and enviable cultural aspects is that every Indian is bilingual, if not multilingual. Delving into the fascinating early history of South Asia, this original book reveals how migration, both external and internal, has shaped all Indians from ancient times. Through a first-of-its-kind and incisive study of languages, such as the story of early Sanskrit, the rise of Urdu, language formation in the North-east, it presents the astounding argument that all Indians are of mixed origins.It explores the surprising rise of English after Independence and how it may be endangering India's native languages.Peggy Mohan's writing style combines her personal journey, full of rich anecdotes from travels and interactions with scholars, with historical-linguistic research, making this book a fascinating read for anyone interested in studying the history of languages in India.Mohan's work is important not merely because it is an intellectual joyride through a fascinating past, but also because it informs the present. The issues it explores through the prism of language are inextricably linked to our daily lives - not just the ever-raging language wars and claims to supremacy and antiquity, but also how we teach our children and live our lives.The lucidity and straightforwardness of Peggy Mohan's argument enables this story-telling in a gripping narrative, strengthened by the author's credentials as a researcher and teacher of linguistics in the United States and India.Wanderers, Kings, Merchants: The Story of India through Its Languages places language as a "faithful mirror" of history and change. Mohan takes us through the "bittersweet" migration stories of Sanskrit, Malayalam, Hindi/Urdu, Khasi, Nagamese, Assamese and Caribbean Creoles with a pleasant tadka of Trinidad Bhojpuri.With a new book, Peggy Mohan has helped create a bridge between how we speak and who we are.Shaped through migration and a change in environment, amongst a host of other factors, languages form in layers like tiramisu. And Mohan strips them layer by layer in her book, hypothesising the recipes of how they might have been formed.
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