National Languages of India

  • There is no national language in the Republic of India. However, article 343(1) of the Indian constitution specifically mentions that “The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script.
  • The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals,” while article 343(2) allowed for the continuation of English as an official language for another 15 years and 343(3) gave the parliament the power to provide for the use of English language after this period.
  • The clause 3 of the Official Languages Act, 1963 allows for the continued use of English language for official purposes of the Union government and for parliamentary business. Hence Indian English and Modern Standard Hindi are the Official Languages of the Government of India.

List of 22 Official Languages of India

  • In the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India, the government recognized that there are 22 official languages ​​in India. Part XVII Articles 343 to 351 of the Indian Constitution dealt with the official languages ​​of India.
    • The Constitutional provisions related to the Eighth Schedule are:
      • Article 344: Article 344(1) provides for the constitution of a Commission by the President on expiration of five years from the commencement of the Constitution.
      • Article 351: It provides for the spread of the Hindi language to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India.
    • However, It can be noted that there is no fixed criteria for any language to be considered for inclusion in the Eighth Schedule.
  • Earlier only 14 languages ​​were considered and later after some modifications other languages ​​were added.
    • Sindhi language was added by the 21st Amendment Act of 1967.
    • Konkani, Manipuri, and Nepali were included by the 71st Amendment Act of 1992.
    • Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, and Santhali were added by the 92nd Amendment Act of 2003 which came into force in 2004.
  • The following is the list of all 22 official languages of India
S.No.    Languages         Spoken in the States
1Assamese      Assam, Arunachal Pradesh 
2BengaliWest Bengal, Tripura
3GujaratiDadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Gujarat
4HindiAndaman and Nicobar Islands, Bihar, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, Almost every part of the country including North-Central India.
6KashmiriJammu and Kashmir.
7Konkani It is the official language of Goa but is also spoken in southern Maharashtra, northern Karnataka, and Kerala.
8Malayalam            Kerala, Lakshadweep, Puducherry.
9Manipuri Manipur
10MarathiMaharashtra, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu 
11NepaliThis is the national language of Nepal. This language is also spoken in Sikkim, West Bengal, north-eastern states, Bhutan, Tibet, and Myanmar. 
13PunjabiThis is the language of Punjab is Punjabi but spoken in Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Pakistan, USA, Canada, and Australia also.
14SanskritHimachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand
15SindhiSpoken by Santhal people mainly in the state of Jharkhand as well as in the states of Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Odisha, Tripura, West Bengal.
16UrduThis is an additional official language of Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, Delhi, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. 
There are 481 million Urdu speakers in India, 10.7 million in Pakistan, 6.5 million in Bangladesh and 4 lakh in Britain.
17TamilTamil Nadu, Puducherry, Sri Lanka.
18TeluguAndhra Pradesh, Telangana and Puducherry.
19BodoBodo or Boro is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by the Bodo people living in the Northeast, Nepal and Bangladesh.
20DogriThis language is spoken in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Punjab. This is the dialect of Punjabi.
21MaithiliThe Maithili language is spoken in the northern region of Bihar and the valley of Nepal.
22 Santali                        Spoken by Santal people mainly in the state of Jharkhand as well as in the states of Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Odisha, Tripura, West Bengal.

Classical Languages

  • Currently there are six languages that enjoy the ‘Classical’ status in India:
    • Tamil (declared in 2004), Sanskrit (2005), Kannada (2008), Telugu (2008), Malayalam (2013), and Odia (2014).
    • All the Classical Languages are listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • Guidelines:
    • The Ministry of Culture provides the guidelines regarding Classical languages which are as given below:
      • High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years;
      • A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers.
      • The literary tradition is original and not borrowed from another speech community.
      • The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.
  • Benefits for Promotion: Once a language is notified as a Classical language, the Human Resource and Development Ministry provides certain benefits to promote it:
    • Two major annual international awards for scholars of eminence in classical Indian languages.
    • Centre of Excellence for studies in Classical Languages is set up.
    • The University Grants Commission is requested to create, to start with at least in the Central Universities, a certain number of Professional Chairs for the Classical Languages so declared.
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