National Language of India

Can India have one National Language

Time and again the issue of language comes in to picture among Indian people both within the country and outside the country.

I have been forced to do some research on the issue of National Language after being told by many of my friends both Hindi speaking (all of them are not native speakers though) and Non-Hindi speaking friends.

HINDI is the National Language of India and you should be ashamed to NOT know it.

I tried to answer that question and many others that i get from friends time to time.

What is a National Language?

A Language which is officially declared as that Nations language, in offices ( gov), schools, public language. A language which is understood by all its citizens.

Does India have a National Language?

No. it cannot and in my opinion shouldn’t have one national language, coz unlike every other country in the world, we are nation of multiple kingdoms, multicultural and multilingual. Having one Language as nations language, is a betrayal of citizens whose language is different and make them feel they are second class citizens.

What is Hindi’s status then?

Hindi is the Official language of Central Government along with English. Official language is for office use ( Central or Union governments), it doesn’t mean Hindi is the country’s language. All the Government document will be in two languages Hindi and English. Whenever there is a need to interaction between state and central government even at bureaucrats, the documentation should be translated in the official language of the states.


Does Individual States have Official Languages?

Yes, each state is given the right to choose their own official language based on the language spoken in the state. Accordingly out of 28 states only 9 states have chosen Hindi as one of their official languages.


Cant every one learn hindi and make it our national language?

Any Citizen can learn as many languages as possible, hindi is no different. For a citizen born in Assam, Learning Assamese is his/her primary right. Hindi is an alien for them, same is true for any non-hindi speaking state.

Learning should by Choice and not by force is my opinion. Making other language other than mine as national language makes me feel, i don’t belong to this nation.

Hindi is spoken by Majority of people in India, then why can’t it be a national language on majority?

No, Hindi cannot be made a national language by majority. here are my reasons.

Firstly Majority is wrong. Here are the facts

Only 25% of Indian Population are native Hindi speakers
Only 45% of Indian Population are Hindi speakers which includes languages close related to Hindi

According to Central Government Census in 2001, Here is list of languages and number of people speaking it. I have added only a small list here. Please forgive me if i m missing your language.

Bengali — 8.5 crores,

Telugu — 7.5 crores,

Marathi — 7 crores

Tamil — 6 crores

Urdu — 5 crores

Gujarati — 4.6 crores

Kannada — 4 crores

Malayalam — 3.5 crores

Oriya — 3.3 crores

Punjabi — 3 crores

Assamese — 1.5 crores

Santhali — 64 lakhs

Kashmiri — 55 lakhs

Apart from these languages, Northeast has its own set of languages and dialects

Native Hindi speaking belt is clearly marked in this picture

It was spoken predominately in 7 states and 3 states in the borders.

7 states is not a sample for 28 states. Furthermore Hindi is known in other states only between the educated, Lets not forget that India is a country with huge illiteracy. Still more than 50% of citizens don’t know Hindi. you cannot avoid them.

Rest of India wherever we see Hindi is spoken is because of the rule after independence, where they tried to force Hindi into state and make people learn it by force. had we been forced German majority of us would be speaking German.

I shall put forward the questions of Anna (ex CM of TamilNadu) as my reason why majority should NOT be a reason a language is chosen.

Why Peacock is the National bird when Crow beats Peacock by huge majority in numbers in India?

This question is more like, India has a majority population of Hindus than Muslims or Christians or Sikhs or Buddhist, why don’t we announce India’s National religion is Hindu.

Make Sense for Argument but not for reality. Seeing Hindi as national language is like asking a Muslim to worship Hindu god as well because you are in India.

You are ready to accept and learn English why not Hindi?

True. I agree i learnt English as my second language, but after learning my own language which is my first language. I wish to learn few more languages Hindi is one among them.

For any Non-Hindi speaking Indian, Hindi is as alien as English.

Whatever i learn beyond that is on need and/or by choice. English is the need of the hour, right from science, technology, medicine, accounting etc to compete with the rest of the world, to earn my bread and butter. so when i had to choose between Hindi or English i will definitely choose English.

If suppose i need to work in the Hindi speaking land, then i should learn Hindi to make my living comfortable or if i am so passionate about the language i want to learn i shall learn it or if i had to talk to my Hindi speaking friends in Hindi then i learn it.

Don’t you feel ashamed that you don’t know hindi?

Some of my friends who don’t know Hindi feel ashamed, all i can say is we haven’t got down from the slavery of British. You don’t have to feel bad or ashamed just because you don’t know a alien language. Yes Hindi is alien to me, i don’t know Hindi and i don’t feel ashamed for it.

I don’t know many things Hindi is just one of it.

You don’t sound like a patriotic citizen by not learning Hindi?

Once again, I am an Indian, India doesn’t have a National language. I am not in anyway less patriotic or non-citizen of this country just because i don’t know Hindi. This is exactly the reason why i think we cannot have one language as national language of India, if that happens rest of the population will be seen as non-patriots and will feel Non-Indians.

Why you are not up for mandatory learning of Hindi?

Homogenizing the country to one language, by killing ever other language and culture will not serve any good purpose

What would have happened if Hindi is made national language in 1963?

Every State machinery’s offices, schools, court everything would have been in English and Hindi. Individual language of the community and their culture would have been dead by now.

What’s thought in your school becomes you, you would have learnt hindi instead of your language and you wouldn’t find a need to use your language and you language and culture would have died.

Hindi is the oldest language of India…

No, Not true and there is no proof, India has announced few languages as Classical Language meaning they are some of few languages which exist for a very long time and Hindi is not one among them.


2001 Census data

States with Hindi as Official Language

Official Languages Act 1963