21st February World celebrates International Mother Language Day. On this day, I decided to offer my tribute to my country, India. A country diversified uniquely with 22 languages at its disposition, spoken by its citizens residing in different parts of the country. Amazing right? Yes, that’s why I thought of acquainting my readers with the numerous languages in India. Such is the astonishing cultural, traditional and linguistic diversity of the country, personifying its heritage every year showering in prosperity and wellness among its people.
List of Languages in India
As per the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, 22 languages spoken in India have been listed officially in the document. The states of the country are organized or grouped based on the similarity of the languages in India. Here is the list:
Let me surprise you more. About 38 more languages spoken in India are planned or proposed to be included in the Constitution.
10 Most Popular Languages in India
According to the official Census of Languages, a list has been published of the 10 most popular languages in India. The ranking has been made based on the number of people speaking a particular language.
The most popular language spoken in India and more importantly Hindi is the national language of the country. It is spoken mostly in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh. But the schools, colleges and universities all over India offer Hindi to be studied as to their second and third languages. Interestingly, Hindi is the fourth most spoken language in the world. Many Indian patriotic songs like “Sare Jahaan Se Achha” have been written and composed in Hindi. I have studied Hindi in my school and can both speak and write it well even though it is not my mother language.
A pride always instils inside my heart when I speak of Bengali as a language. It’s my mother language and very close to my heart. It is the second most language spoken in India. The national anthems of India and Bangladesh are written in Bengali, written and composed by the legendary poet and master of literature, noble laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Bengali is spoken mostly in the states of West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Jharkhand. The interesting part of the language is its dialect, pronunciation, usage and phonetic form varies in different states of the country. The language is internationally renowned being spoken in countries in the Middle East, Canada, USA, UK, Japan and Australia.
I have a close association with the language Marathi. My professional journey started in Mumbai in Maharastra situated in the western part of the country. The official spoken language of the state is Marathi and hence I am familiar with it for almost 21 years now when I started my professional career. Marathi is spoken mainly in Maharashtra and Goa. It has about 42 different dialects as spoken by the people of these two regions. I had been able to grasp the essence of the language during my stay in Mumbai.
Though I am not very conversant with Telegu as a language. But due to my acquaintance with colleagues and friends in my professional life, I know at least a few dialects of the language. It is one of the popular languages in India especially in the southern part of the country. Telegu is mostly spoken in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The language has an international exposure too, being spoken in countries like the US, UK, UAE, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
I feel privileged when I think of the numerous people I have met throughout my professional career speaking numerous languages in India and even abroad. Tamil is also such language spoken by many of my colleagues and friends working in my company as well as my customers. It is one of the most popular and widely spoken languages in India. Besides, it is the official language of the countries of Sri Lanka and Singapore. The unique feature of Tamil as a language is its emergence about 2000 years ago. It is spoken mainly in the states of Tamil Nadu in the southern part of India and the coastal regions of Sri Lanka.
My acquaintance with Gujarati is a bit less; only that my cousin sister resides in the state of Gujarat where the language is officially spoken by the people. And recently within my almost 2 years of blogging, I have met a friend and sister working in Gujarat. As a language, Gujarati is one of the sweetest languages in India. It has somewhat similarity with Hindi and hence when I watch commercials or tele-series in Gujarati, I can comfortably follow the language.
An ancient, sophisticated, royal and rich language, Urdu has been one of the widely used languages in India during the rule of the Nawabs and Mughals empires. Urdu is one of the official languages in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Telangana, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir. Besides in Pakistan too, Urdu is the official language.
Another one of the oldest languages in India, Kannada is spoken in 20 different dialects. Like Tamil and Telegu, Kannada is one of the popular languages in the southern part of India. It is spoken mainly in the state of Karnataka. I have a special association with this language, due to my multiple visits to the state related to work and visiting friends and close acquaintences. The language is also internationally popular, being spoken in the countries of the US, Canada and Australia.
Odia has lots of similarity with my mother language Bengali. And I have lots of friends speaking the Odia language. I even can converse to a certain extent in Odia, though I am not familiar with the written scripture. It is spoken mainly in the state of Odisha in the eastern part of India and is the neighbouring state of West Bengal where I reside in. The language is easy to learn, that’s what I felt. Songs in the Odia language are quite famous and have melodious tunes.
Malayalam is yet another one of the popular languages in India in the southern part of the country. It is mainly spoken in the states of Kerala, and to a certain extent in Puducherry and Lakshadweep islands. I have interacted with people speaking in Malayalam, attributing again to my professional life. And now we have one of our authors from Kerala who speaks Malayalam. So wherever we are in the country, the languages in India bind and unite us together into a single harmony.
In our blog, we are a team of five of whom four of us speak Bengali and one of us speaks Malayalam. We are from diverse cultural, regional and religious backgrounds. Yet we are working together in close coordination and are citizens of this wondrous country. Together with all our family, friends and fellow citizens, we celebrate today International Mother Language Day. We respect the languages of all other countries in the world and the numerous linguistic diversities that embellishes our beautiful Universe.