Linguistic Diversity in India

More than 1700 languages are spoken in India as mother tongue. Indian languages of today have sprouted, as it were, from various language families’ vis-à-vis ethnic peculiarities. They may be classified into six major groups: Negroid; Austric; Sino-Tibetan; Indo-Aryan; Dravidian; and, miscellaneous speeches. Their meaning, in whole or part, is self-explanatory.

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Rigmarole has always been a mirage, because, India has never had a common language, intelligible to every Indian. The bottom line of the entire problem, so far as our lingual challenge is concerned, lies in India’s own helplessness to having a common language, acceptable to all. Who is to blame? All of us. Here’s a general hypothesis. More two decades back, Karnataka took a major step. It introduced Kannada as its official language, giving it the first slot in status. Private firms were asked to foster this policy, typewriters, in the language were procures and put to use in offices. It this isn’t Kannadigas’ – otherwise the most tolerant and cultured populace, who don’t even give a hint that they know the language outside the state’s borders, at times—linguistic fanaticism, what is?

Kannada enthusiasts have been compelling non-Kannada speaking minorities to accept the regional language as the sole-first language in schools, knowing full well that this would affect the mother tongue of various groups of state inhabitants, interfere with their desire, freedom and adherence to their language and culture. And, while Kannada fans plead with gusto that Hindi ‘imposition’ is a violation of the guarantee that the Constitution has bestowed, they just don’t see and realize that they, as Kannada enthusiasts, are doing the akin, immature unconstitutional injustice to linguistic minorities in Karnataka.


After all, what does one lose or does the regional language suffer if some want to take their own mother tongue as the first language in schools? And, why should they be denied the freedom to have the language of their choice as the first language in education? Secularism, in India, must be universal in application-even if a few concessions are given. A language group could be allowed to develop its own mother tongue as much as it likes, provided this does not hamper the rights of other groups, who have equal citizenship rights.

No language should be considered inferior or superior to other. All languages prevalent in India should be treated as equal.

The insistence on the exclusion of English has become, as of now, a sort of status symbol, a touchstone of supremacy and learning, to man of our linguistic torchbearers, not to speak of their avowed predilection for regionalism. Even countries like Russia and China are learning the language very fast. Because they know, it is the need of the day. We should take lessons from these countries, why should remember that Marathi or Oriya is not as advanced as German or French. Only a few scientific, legal and technical equivalents exist in all of our 18 official languages. Automatically, people specializing in these fields would be at a loss in communicating with foreign researchers. Imagine this spectacle. What would one coin a decipherable Konkani equivalent for a medical term as simple as sinusitis?

Our linguistic awkwardness has by and large influenced and inflamed the passions of our excitable masses and students, who under the present dispensation of fulsome grievances and gross indiscipline seem to be wanting and even capitalizing on such diversions without any thought of damage to their own future. The country is already in turmoil. Form terrorism and communal backlash to other somber and inhuman acts.

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