India is a country having a large number of Languages spoken by the people. The Official Language is Hindi and English is the Associated Language. English is used in Government/Official and Legal communications. There are 23 Major languages, including Hindi, Sanskrit and English, spoken in various parts of India. However, there are more than 1000 local languages spoken in India.
- Hindi is the official language of India, which is spoken by about 45 per cent of the population. Among the various dialects of Hindi, the dialect chosen as official Hindi is the standard Khariboli, written in Devanagiri script.
- Sanskrit is a classical language of India used in Hindu Temples for Prayers. However, the number of people speaking Sanskrit is very less.
- English is spoken by people of India in almost all the states, especially in the Southern States, of Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhrapradesh.
The Major Languages Spoken in India, apart from English, Hindi and Sanskrit are:-
1. Assamese: is the language of Assam and is spoken by nearly 60 per cent of the state’s population.
2. Bodo: the language spoken in Assam apart from Assamese.
3. Bengali: is the official language of West Bengal, spoken by nearly 200 million people in West Bengal.
4. Dogri: is the language spoken in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and in some areas of Punjab.
5. Gujarati: is the official language of Gujarat and is spoken by 70 per cent of the State’s population.
6. Kannada: is the state language of Karnataka, spoken by 65 per cent of the state’s population.
7. Kashmiri: is a language spoken in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. However, Urdu is the state language of Jammu and Kashmir.
8. Konkani:is the official language of Goa, spoken by thousands of Konkanis in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala also.
9. Maithili: is one of the popular languages from the ‘Mithilanchal’ zone of Bihar. It is the mother tongue of most Maithils and itself has many regional forms. It is derived from Sanskrit and contains many Sanskrit root forms.
10. Malayalam: is the official language of Kerala, spoken by 90% of the people of Kerala.
11. Manipuri: is the state language of Manipur, spoken by the people of Manipur.
12. Marathi: is the official language of Maharashtra, spoken by the people of Maharashtra.Nepali is spoken in India in West Bengal, Darjeeling area, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
13. Oriya: is the official language of Orissa spoken by more than 80% of the people of Orissa.Punjabi is the official language of Punjab, spoken by the people of Punjab.
14. Santhali: is the language of tribals called the Santhals, who reside in Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.Sindhi is spoken by many people of the Northwest frontier of the Indian subcontinent comprising parts of India.
15. Tamil: is the state language of Tamil Nadu, spoken by the people of Tamilnadu.
16. Telugu: is spoken by the people of Andhra Pradesh.
17. Urdu: is the State language oh Jammu and Kashmir and is spoken by more than 28 million people in India. Urdu and Hindi have proceeded from the same source i.e., Khariboli. Urdu is written in the Persio-Arabic script and contains many words from the Persian language.
18. Nepali: is spoken in Sikkim and West Bengal
19. Punjabi: is the official language of Punjab which is spoken by the people of Punjab
20. Sindhi: is spoken by people in the Northwest frontier of the Indian sub-continent and by the people migrated from Pakistan during the period of the partition of India.
The Languages of India are mainly from two bases:-
- Aryan and
Mostly, languages of the North India are Aryan based and those of South India are Dravidian based.
Inspite of having various languages, people of India are united, with the idea ‘All are Indians”. In various linguistic places of India, English and Hindi are used for communications between people of different languages. In some Metropolitan Cities like Mumbai, Bangalore,Kolkatta, Chennai and Hyderabad, people belonging to various states are living and they either learn the local language, if they stay for a long time or use English and Hindi for communications.
Though Hindi is the official language of India, English is used in almost all the places, and in Government/Legal matters, English continues to be the major language. The people of South India, who were against introduction/compulsion of Hindi, have now started to learn and use Hindi.
It is said that “The British people ruled India, by ‘divide and rule’ policy”. Though it is true, it is notable and undeniable that ‘English, the language of the British is uniting Indians belonging to various languages.’