India has nothing less than 1652 mother tongues, if all the various
dialects of each parent language are to be included! Enough to confuse
a linguist. But not so for a multitude of cultural groups in
continuous flux. Most of the languages are limited to a small number
of peoples, and only 33 of them are spoken by more than a lakh people.
¤ Hindi - The official Language of India
The Indian Constitution (Article 343) declares Hindi to be the
official language of the Union. The Khariboli dialect written in the
Devanagri script is the chosen one. Hindi is also the mother tongue of
about 20% of the Indian population, in the area known as the Hindi-belt
or the cow-belt of northern India.
This includes the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and
Rajasthan. Haryana and Himachal Pradesh also have Hindi as their
official language. Like the other languages of the north, it is of an
Indo-Aryan origin. But in south India, its quite a different
scene altogether. The Dravidian languages bear little resemblance to
their Indic or Indo-Aryan counterparts.
English remains the additional official language; it is the
authoritative legislative and judicial language. In fact, one could
say that English is the official language in India for all practical
Apart from the more widely spoken English and Hindi, there are the
various regional languages. Each state has its own language which is
also its official language. The Constitution of India lists 18 such