Linguistic Diversity in India

Languages connect us and breakdown barriers when we unite to nurture the best in us and help each other succeed.

English-Good Morning



Punjabi-Sat sriakaal

Urdu- assalamalekum

Konkani- di dieu dis dum

Marwari- khannighamma

Manipur- meiteilon- Khurumjari

Mizoram- Mizo-Chibai- Ekhai!

These were a few examples of languages spoken in India.

Imagine if you go to France-you will find people speaking French, in German people speak Germany, and in America ppl speak English, in China Mandarian. But in India people speak different languages. This represents the beautiful and diverse Indian Culture.

India is the land of diverse cultures, diverse food, It is a land of diverse religions and India is a land of many tongues and has been called the “As a Tower of Veritable Languages”.

On our 49th Independence Day H D Deve Gowda, the then PM stood at Red Fort and delivered the traditional Independence Day address to the nation in Hindi, the language which we all have learned to refer as our national language. 8 other PMs have done the same 48 times before him, so what was different this time. Deve Gowda, a southerner from state of Karnataka, spoke to the country in a language of which he scarcely knew a word. Since it was required by him to address in Hindi, so he gave one. The words have been written out for him in native Kannada, in which they made no sense.

Such an episode is almost inconceivable elsewhere, but it represents the best of oddities that help make India India.

Did you know the value on a currency note of India is printed in 17 languages?

The constitution of India has recognised 22 languages but in fact 35 languages are spoken by more than a million people- these languages have their own scripts, grammatical structures, and cultural assumptions not just dialects.

According to me, we Indians are not divided by multilingualism but we are united by the sense of belonging to the same nation.

Kos Kos par badle paani, chaar kos par badley vaani which means Water changes every mile and language changes every 4 miles.

There is this one interesting thing that happens every time I visit Gujarat. So I have been to Ahmadabad a few times. Whenever we visit Ahmadabad there is this interesting thing that happens, so whenever I ask them the route to a place, for example- I asked that how far is Alpha one Mall from the place were at and what is the route, I asked this to a Guajarati in Hindi but that person answered in Gujarati, I didn’t understood a word of what he said but Fortunately, my father understands and so we reach the right place. And this is something interesting about Gujarati people that they take a lot of pride in their language which I admire a lot.

Another incident that happened. Couple of years back, I went to Goa and people there do not really speak Hindi. You will find people speaking Konkan there and some kind of mixed English.

One more incident that happened was when I went to a restaurant with my father. We have been there a few times so the owner recognised us immediately and after I gave my order, he started to speak something to my father which sounded complete gibberish to me. I looked at my father and he was nodding, which means he understood the language. Interestingly, he was replying back in Hindi. The owner spoke for 5 minutes and after we came out of the restaurant I asked him my father that what did he spoke because I didn’t understood a word of what he said. He said that he spoke in Sindhi. I was so confused. I felt like how did he knew Sindhi. I have never heard him speak Sindhi but apparently he only understood Sindhi and that was because a lot of his customers were Sindhi and spoke in the language. Also many a times my father is mistaken as a Sindhi and I have no idea why.

Did you know, our national language is spoken by less than 50% of our population?

We all must have seen Bahubali 1 and 2 and must have wondered what is Kaalkey was saying. Is that even a language or some random sounds mixed up together and called a language. But did you know that it is an actual language. The language is called Kilki which is spoken by kaalkeya tribes in the film. Madan Karky, the dialogue writer who invented the language revealed the secret saying Rajamouli asked him to come with a language which scares people. Kilki consists of 750 words with 40 grammar rules.

According to a census, there are a total of 187 spoken in India and these are just some of those languages that are recognised. Who knows how many other languages are spoken in India that are not recognised in India.

Honestly, if I go on talking about Linguistic diversity in India it is endless, I am just trying to say that in different parts of India diverse cultures reside and this is the beauty of India.

I would end my speech with this quote by Rabindranath Tagore-“If God so wished, he could have made all Indians speak one language….. The unity of India has been and will always be Unity in Diversity.”

“If God so wished, he could have made all Indians speak one language….. The unity of India has been and will always be Unity in Diversity.”

11 thoughts on “Linguistic Diversity in India

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