Languages in India

The Indian languages belong to several language families. The major language families are the Indo-Aryan languages spoken by 73ft of the Indians and the Dravidian languages, spoken by 24ft of the people. Other languages spoken in India belong to the Austro-asiatic, Tibeto-Burman and a few minor language families. The official languages of the Union government are Hindi, and English.

According to Article 343(1) of the Constitution of India, 'The Official Language of the Union government shall be Hindi in Devanagari script,' though English shall be continued as the language of the union. The individual states can legislate their own official languages, depending on their linguistic demographics. For example, the state of Andhra Pradesh has Telugu as its official language, the state of Karnataka has Kannada as its sole official language, the state of Gujarat has Gujarati as its sole official language, the state of Maharashtra has Marathi as its sole official language, the state of Punjab has Punjabi as its sole official language, the state of Odisha has Odiya as its sole official language, the state of Tamil Nadu has Tamil as its sole official language, while the state of Kerala has Malayalam and English as its official languages, the state of Jammu and Kashmir has Kashmiri, Urdu, and Dogri as its official languages.

Article 345 of the Constitution authorizes several states of India to adopt as 'official languages' of that state'which people of the state can then use in all dealings with all branches of the local, state and federal governments'either Hindi or any one or more of the languages spoken in that state. Until the Twenty First Amendment of the Constitution in 1967, the country recognized 14 official regional languages. The Eighth Schedule and the Seventy-First Amendment provided for the inclusion of Sindhi, Konkani, Maithili and Nepali, thereby increasing the number of official regional languages of India to 18.

At present there are 22 official languages of India. Individual states, whose borders are mostly drawn on socio-linguistic lines, are free to decide their own language for internal administration and education. In 2004, the Government of India declared that languages that meet certain requirements could be accorded the status of a 'Classical Language in India'. Languages thus far declared to be Classical are Tamil (in 2004), Sanskrit (in 2005), Telugu (in 2008), Kannada (in 2008), Malayalam (in 2013) and Odia (in 2014).

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply