Indian Languages

There are many languages that are spoken by millions of people in India. The official language of the union is Hindi in Devanagari script and it subsidiary official language is English. Belonging to the family of Aryan languages, Hindi has connection with India’s history before it’s independence and that is the reason why it has been chosen as the official language of India and not because it is the most commonly spoken language in India. English was used for most official purposes both at the federal level and in the various states when the Constitution came into effect. Although, the Constitution of India gave Hindi, the status of principal language in govt. matters, English is still widely used and it has allowed the continuation of use of the English language for official purposes.

[caption id="attachment_673" align="aligncenter" width="448" caption="Konkani Nagari script"]Indian languages - Konkani[/caption]

Although states can have their own regional languages but there is no national language. Also, there are 844 different dialects that are practiced in different parts of the country. Central government has not recognized some of the different state languages. Some states like Bihar have more then one official language. Hindi, Urdu and Bengali are the languages spoken in Bihar which are all recognized by the central government. Sikkim has four official languages but only Nepali is recognized by the central government.

Tamil Nadu has Tamil as its official language, while the state of Jammu and Kashmir has Kashmiri, Urdu and Dogri as its official languages. Mostly the languages spoken in the republic of India belong to Indo-Aryan and Dravidian families. Other languages belong to the Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman families. Persian and English played an important role in the history of India as the former had been in existence during the time of Muslim rulers and the latter one in the times of British Empire.

India is a multilingual country and there are twenty-two official languages that have been recognized by the Constitution of India. These are the following:

  • Assamese

  • Bengali

  • Bodo

  • Dogri

  • Gujarati

  • Hindi

  • Kannada

  • Kashmiri

  • Konkani

  • Maithili

  • Malayalam

  • Manipuri

  • Marathi

  • Nepali

  • Oriya

  • Punjabi

  • Sanskrit

  • Santhali

  • Sindhi

  • Tamil

  • Telugu

  • Urdu


There are other languages that are spoken in India like Angika, Kokborok, Marwari, Chhattisgarhi, Magahi, Awadhi, Tulu, Kodava, Dakkhini etc.