If you know a person by a ‘hello’ and a ‘smile’, you tend to communicate in the language in which both of them are comfortable with. We all have ‘mother tongue’ which is one’s native language and we take pride in either by speaking or by writing. We are so much comfortable with it because we have grown up speaking the same language from early childhood.
India has a total of ’23’ officially recognised regional languages such as Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Marathi, Meitei (Manipuri), Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu. Earlier it was 22 languages and now English is an additional official language.
According to a Language Data based on Census 2011, Sanskrit is the least spoken language in India. As per the inputs from Times of India, the number of speakers who listed it as their ‘mother tongue’ (native language) was 24,821 in number.
It is cognisance of the fact that Hindi is the most spoken language and it continues to remain in the same position. Data reveals that there is a rise of Hindi speakers from 41.03 per cent in 2001 to 43.63 per cent in 2011. Obviously, it would have been increased by now.
After Hindi, Bengali follows next on the list with 8.3 per cent people featuring Bengali as their mother tongue from 8.11 per cent in the 2011 census, according to the reports from The Times of India.
Telugu which was in the third position was taken over by Marathi which has now replaced Telugu in the third position. Marathi is said to have increased from 6.99 per cent to 7.09 per cent, while the latter witnessed a reduction in native speakers from 7.19 per cent to 6.93 per cent.
Marathi speakers (% of the population) increased from 6.99 per cent in 2001 to 7.09 per cent in 2011. Telugu speakers as their mother tongue declined from 7.19 per cent to 6.93 per cent. Tamil language is ranked 5th by the number of native speakers in this country.
Urdu was ranked seventh, down from the sixth position it occupied in 2001. Urdu speakers declined to 4.34 per cent of the population compared to 5.01 per cent in 2001. Gujarati replaces Urdu in the sixth spot with 4.74 per cent speakers.
As far as Unscheduled languages are concerned, over 2.6 lakh people listed English as their first spoken language in the 2011 census, of which 1.06 lakh were in Maharashtra while Tamil Nadu and Karnataka follow next on the list.
Tamil Nadu has the second-highest number of people with English as their mother tongue (native language), while Karnataka comes third. Bhili also known as Bhilodi, spoken in Rajasthan, was the most spoken unscheduled language with 1.04 crore speakers, while Gondi come next on the list with 29 lakh speakers.