Indian Languages

The Indian languages now in use have evolved from different language families corresponding more or less to the different ethnic elements that have come into india from the dawn of history. They may be put into 6 groups :

  1. Negroid
  2. Austric
  3. Sino-Tibetan
  4. Dravidian
  5. Indo-Aryan
  6. Other Speeches.

These languages have interacted on one another through the centuries and have produced the major linguistic divisions of modern India. Among the major groups, the Aryan and the Dravidian are the dominating families. They have influenced each other anchave, in turn, been influenced by the Austric and Sino-Tibetan tongues.

The important languages in this group are: Western punjabi, Sindhi, Eastern punjabi, Hindi, Bihari, Rajasthani, Gujarati, marathi, Assamese, bengali, oriya, Pahari, Kashmiri and Sanskrit.

Hindi or Hindustani has produced two great literatures, Urdu- nd HindL Both have the same grammar and the same basic ,vocabulary. They differ, however, in script and higher vocabulary. UrrfMuses the Perso-Arabic script. Hindi uses the Nagari script and has a preference for purely Indian words, in contradistinction to the numerous Arabic and Persian words tKMTOwed by Urdu.

Sanskrit, the classical language of India, represents the highest achievement of the lndo-Aryan languages* Although hardly spoken now-a-days, Sanskrit has been listed a nationally accepted language in the VIII Schedule to the Constitution. Dravidian languages form agroup by themselves, and unlike the Aryan, Austric or SinoTibetan speeches, have no relations outside the Indian sut"continent, that is, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Dravidian family is lie second largest group in India, covering about 25% of the total Indian oooulation.

The Dravidian language came into India centuries before the Indo-Aryan. It split into three branches in the Indian'subcontinent-(I) The northern branch comprises Brahui spo ken in Baluchistan and Kurukh and Malto spoken in Bengal and Orissa. Kurukh is also spoken in Biharand M.P. (ii) The central brand is composed of Telugu and a number of dia lects spoken in Central India - Kill, Khond Holanl, Konda, Gondi, Naiki, Parji, Koya and others, (iii) The southern branch is maoe up of Tamil, Kannade, Malayalam, Tula, Badaga Toda, Kota and Kodagu.

The major languages of the Dravidian group are: (i) Telugu (Andhra Pradesh), numerically the biggest of the Dravidian languages, (ii) Tamil (Tamil Nadu), apparently the oldest and purest branch of the Dravidian family, (iii) Kannada (Karnataka), another ancient Dravid ian language that has developed individually (iv) MaTayalam (Kerala), the smallest and the youngest of the Dravidian family.

India never had a common language which was intelligible to the masses everywhere in India. For many years, Sanskrit remained a common medium, Ilrt it was the language of the learned classes and not of the masses Under the British, English became a sort of lingua franca. Here again, it was restricted to the educated few. Of the 1652 mother tongues listed in the census, 33 are spoken by people numbering over a lakh. The following table shows the names of mother tongues and the number of sneakers:

With independence, the question of a common language naturally came up. The Constituent Assembly could not arrive at a consensus in the matter. The question was put to vote and Hindi won On a single vote-the casting vote or me nresiaeni. ine india.

National Congress had advocated the formation of linguistic provinces. The acceptance this policy involved the statutory recognition of all the major regional languages.

Official languages of India

There are 22 languages recognized by the Indian Constitution. These languages are:

  1. Assamese - official language of Assam.
  2. Bengali - official language of Tripura and West Bengal.
  3. Bodo - official language of Assam.
  4. Dogri - official language of Jammu and Kashmir.
  5. Gujarati - language of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Gujarat.
  6. Hindi - official language of India.
  7. Kannada - official language of Karnataka.
  8. Kashmiri - official language of Jammu and Kashmir.
  9. Konkani - official language of Goa.
  10. Maithili - official language of Bihar.
  11. Malayalam - official language of Kerala, Lakshadweep, and Pondicherry.
  12. Manipuri or Meithei - official language of Manipur.
  13. Marathi - official language of Maharashtra.
  14. Nepali - official language of Sikkim.
  15. Oriya - official language of Orissa.
  16. Punjabi - official language of Punjab and Chandigarh, second official language of Delhi and Haryana.
  17. Sanskrit - language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, required teaching in many schools.
  18. Santali - language of the Santhal tribals of the Chota Nagpur Plateau.
  19. Sindhi - language of the Sindhi community.
  20. Tamil - official language of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.
  21. Telugu - official language of Andhra Pradesh
  22. Urdu - official language of Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

Other Important Langauges and Scripts