In different parts of India, different languages are spoken. Most
of the languages of India belong to two families, Aryan and Dravidian.
Languages spoken in the five states of South India belong
to the Dravidian family and most of the languages spoken in the
North India are of Aryan family. The general script of the
Aryan languages is different from the general script of Dravidian
languages. The Indians also distinguish between the general north
Indian accent and general south Indian accent. Along with these
two main language families, there are other languages from the Sini
- Mongoloid family spoken in East India.
The languages spoken in present India, evolved in different phases
of Indian history. In the earlier stage of Indian history other
languages were spoken. The holy books of different religions that
developed in ancient India are written in different languages. The
holy books of Hinduism were written Sanskrit. The
holy books of Buddhism were written in Pali. The holy
books of Jainism were written in Ardhamaghadi. These
three languages aren't spoken fluently in India today, but Sanskrit
is recognized as one of the official languages of India. The modern
Aryan languages are considered to have evolved from Sanskrit. The
evolvement of south Indian languages isn't clear. Many believe that
before the arrival of the Aryans, Dravidian languages were spoken
over all India. Some of the tribes of north India speak (or spoke
in the near past) in dialects similar to Dravidian languages. Among
the present Dravidian languages of south India, Tamil language
had exerted its greatest influence on other Dravidian languages.
The Indian constitution recognizes, for now, 18 official Indian
languages. But, almost each of these 18 languages, include different
dialects or variations of that language. Besides these 18 languages,
there are other languages which are recognized by the central government,
but not as official languages. There are other languages which aren't
recognized by the central government. Some of the present India's
states boundaries created were based on the boundaries of the main
Indian languages as recognized by the Indian constitution.
The process of creating Indian states began after India's independence
in 1947. During the British rule of India, there were two types
of British India states, princely states and provinces. With India's
independence, provinces like Bombay and Bengal
became Indian states and the small princely states adjoining the
big provinces were added to the provinces. In some cases some small
adjoining princely states were joined together to make a new state
Big princely states like Hyderabad, Mysore and others
were also made states. But many local leaders demanded states for
their culture and identity. The main demand was to create states
based on language boundaries. This process of creating states based
on languages began in 1953 and even today there are demands for
new states for different language speakers.
States whose boundaries are based on languages are Kerala
for Malyalam speakers. Tamil
Nadu for Tamil speakers. Karnataka
for Kanadda speakers.Andra Pradesh for Telugu speakers. Maharashtra
for Marathi speakers.Orissa for Oriya speakers.
West Bengal for Bengali speakers. Gujarat
for Gujarati speakers. Punjab
for Punjabi speakers. Assam
for Assami speakers. Some of these states like Bengal and
Orissa were provinces during British rule. Though many states were
created based on language boundaries, there are other states which
weren't created based on language boundaries and there are many
language speaker who don't have their own state.
To name a few other languages spoken in India, one can name Dogri,
Ladacki and Kashmiri which are spoken in different
parts of Jammu
and Kashmir state. In Sikkim,
different languages are spoken. The main language there is Nepali.
the main language is Manipuri. In Madya
Himachal Pradesh the main language is Hindi, which
is also become the national language of India. Some languages of
India aren't specific to a region of India, like Sindhi whose
speakers came to India from Sindh (in present day Pakistan),
but are scattered all over India. Urdu is spoken by many
Muslims all over India. The different tribes of India (some
of them only a few hundreds) also have their own languages.
As stated earlier most of the main Indian languages have different
dialects and variations, sometimes very different from each other.
Hindi has more than ten variations. Hindi spoken in Rajasthan is
different from Hindi spoken in Bihar
or Hindi of
Himachal Pradesh. Sometimes the different variations
of a language are considered as separate language with their own
literature. One of Hindi dialects spoken in East India is
Maithali. Many Maithali speakers regard their language as
a different language from Hindi. Also Rajasthani from Rajasthan
is considered sometimes as a different language and not as Hindi.
But, actually Rajasthani also isn't one language but different tribal
languages spoken by the people of Rajasthan and they all call their
languages after the name of their region.
Another language named after its region is Konkani spoken
in Goa and
named as such because of the Konkan coast. To the North of
Goa in the Konkan coast of Maharashtra
there is another 'Konkani' language which is considered a
dialect derived from the Marathi language and is different from
Goa's Konkani language.
The Indian constitution uses the term 'mother tongue' instead
of language or dialect. Officially the central government recognizes
18 languages, but each language includes in it many mother tongues.
The Indian census records over 200 different mother tongues.
Despite the different languages and dialects, most of the official
languages speakers have developed a standard of speaking language
which has become the accepted style of speaking for that language.
Sometimes, like in the case of Hindi this language is completely
different from some of its dialects.
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