Indian Languages: Unity in Diversity
India, the living “Tower of Bable”, is the only nation where diverse culture, varied languages and different religions find place. There are different linguistic communities in India which share common culture and languages. Hence the phrase “Unity in Diversity” describes India perfectly. A wide variety of language and dialects are spoken by the Indian people. The Constitution of India has recognized 18 national languages, each of which has a history and richness of its own. Further India is home to twenty two official languages and more than thousands of spoken languages. Mother tongues in India gears up to more than several hundreds.
Following the 2001 census of India, twenty nine languages belong to more than million local speakers, fifty languages are spoken by more than 1 lakh people and 114 languages belong to more than 10 thousand native people.
The official language of India is Hindi in the Devangiri script. English language for any kind of official purposes is also used in India. The classical languages of India are Sanskrit, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu. The judicial language of India is English. The proceedings of the Parliament is supposed to be made in either English or Hindi, until any person is incapable of expressing in both these languages, in which case he is supposed to seek permission from the speaker to address in mother tongue. The language for making Laws, Parliamentary enactments, statutory instruments etc is English unless it is decided otherwise by the Parliament.
The varied Indian languages spoken in various parts of our country are Assamese, Bodo, Bengali, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Kashmiri, Maithili, Meitei, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Santhali, Telugu, Tamil and Urdu.
Hindi, the official language of the nation is the mother tongue of almost 20% of the total population. The Hindi speaking belt comprises the states of Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
Assamese, Assam’s state language is spoken by almost 60% of the population of the state. The beginning of the Assamese language goes back to 13th century.
Bengali is the language of nearly 200 million speakers all across the world, majority being in Bangla Desh and West Bengal. Bengali which started developing in the 13th century is also the state language of West Bengal.
Gujarati, the language of Gujarat, is spoken by 70% of the population of Gujarat. It came out from Indo-European family of languages.
Kannada, the language of Karnataka is spoken by 65% of the state’s residents.
Kashmiri which is spoken by 55 % of the populace of Jammu and Kashmir is a language Devnagri script.
Konkani, which has branched out from classical Sanskrit, belongs to the family of Indo-Aryan languages. The language is spoken in various Konkan regions like Goa and the coastal areas of Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Malayalam, the Dravidian language is spoken by the residents of Kerala. It is avery old language.
Marathi, an Indic language dates back to 13th century. The official language of western Maharashtra is also Marathi.
Oriya, is the language of the state of Orissa and nearly 87 percent of the state’s population speaks Oriya.
Punjabi, one of the Indic languages, is spoken by the people of Punjab.
Sanskrit is one among the ancient languages and the classical language of India. The language has been used for writing Indian literature and epics.
Sindhi is spoken by huge number of people in the “North-west frontier” of the “Indian sub-continent” which comprise of regions of India and Pakistan.
Tamil is an old Dravidian language and is 2000 years old. This state language of Tamil Nadu is spoken by 65 million people.
Telugu, a Dravidian language is spoken by the natives of Andhra Pradesh.
Urdu is Jammu and Kashmir’s state language which developed with Hindi in Delhi. Urdu is the language of most of the Muslims staying in India.