How Many Do You Know-How Many Languages are Recognised in Indian Constitution?India is a land of many religions and hence, a land of diversity. With different religions, sub-divided into castes and sub castes, there are naturally many traditions and even languages. Currently, as per the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution, there are 22 languages that are recognised.
The 22 languages recognised by the Indian Constitution are as below:
This is the latest list released as per the Article 344(1) and Article 351. It initially included only 14 languages. While Sindhi was added in 1967 based on 21st amendment act, it was followed by the additions of Konkani, Manipuri, and Nepali in 1992 under the 71st amendment act, and thereafter, Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, and Santhali in 2003 under the 92nd amendment act. What’s surprising is, that the list does not yet includes Rajasthani, as opposed to the contrary notion.
Looking at so many languages in one single country, India is surely one of the most diverse countries found anywhere else in the world. Being a large country with huge population, it’s indeed unique the way the country manages its most complex blend of so many cultural identities. It’s indeed a wonder in the world how the different cultures in India display their unity in a perfect manner.
The five major religions that dominate India is Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Jainism, and Buddhism. India has the second highest Muslim population in the world which is next to Indonesia. This makes the country one of the most multi-lingual lands in the world.
According to the 1961 census of India, there were as many as1,652 languages and dialects spoken in the country. Since majority of these languages were spoken by a significantly lower number of people, the following census considered them as invalid but, the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India recognises 22 languages as mentioned above. But, out of the 22, four of these languages such as, Sanskrit, Kashmiri, Nepali and Sindhi are not considered official languages in any State of the Indian Union. However, all these languages are rich in literature. Hindi in Devanagiri script is acknowledged as the official language of the Indian Union by the Constitution.
The second majorly spoken language in India is Telugu which is spoken by about 60 million people, most of it in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Majority of the languages that are spoken in North India afre from the Indo- Aryan family. The languages of the South on the other hand, namely Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada are from the Dravidian family.
As popularly said, India is a “Veritable tower of babel”. A.R. Desai once said, “India presents a spectacle of museum of tongues” which is golden truth.
Despite the linguistic diversity, there was always a kind of of link languages, which has although been varying from time to time. While it was Sanskrit in the ancient times, and Arabic or Persian in the medieval age, it’s Hindi and English as official languagesin the modern times.
Based on the 2011 census of India, there were nearly 1,635 languages that were spoken all throughout the country. However, most of these languages are found to be dialects. As mentioned in the beginning of the post, there are currently 22 officially recognized languages in India apart from the 2,000 different dialects.
Based on a study conducted by the People’s Linguistic Survey of India by 3000 volunteers for a time period of 4 years and also according to the Bhasha Research & Publication Center, there are nearly 220 languages that have gone extinct in the past 50 years.
The survey also shed light on the disagreement over the exact number of languages in India. According to its hypothesis, there are around 900 living languages in India. Four of the world’s primary language groups such as, Indo-European, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic, and Tibeto-Burman belong to the highest number of Indian languages in the world.
There are also many other not so famous languages that include Tulu, Bhojpuri, and Ladakhi which are the chiefly spoken languages of some of the states. Hindi, on the other hand, is the native language of around 41% of the population, and is the primary tongue of the people mainly from Northern India or the Hindi Belt, including Delhi (the capital of India).
While it is the second language of any people in India, it is also the preferred working language of the Central Government. Additionally, it is the common language spoken across India by people speaking different native languages. One can easily sail through 80% of India as this is the commonly spoken language in most regions, with exceptions like, Tamil Nadu and North East. However, knowing more of the local languages is certainly much better.
English is another majorly spoken language in the major cities of the country. It is also a widely spoken language around the most tourist destinations, government offices, and the preferred language for educated Indians. The language has been spoken for so long in India that it has adopted its own vocabulary, rhythm, and inflection, which is a lot similar to the French spoken in Africa. The English spoken in India is highly influenced by British English with a native language tone in it.
On a final note, eighth schedule is the independent identity of a language and Hindi’s major strength lies in the large number of its speakers. Recognizing its dialects as individual languages will bereave many Indians from Hindi which is the preferred language of millions of people. The constitution fears that it will adversely affect the existence if Hindi if its dialects are recognized as individual languages. Read more Related Articles