Official Languages in India

Hindi was added in the 1950 constitution as the official language. This created a huge rift among states where Hindi was totally alien, especially in the south as the Dravidian way of communication was totally different from this hugely speaking language. It was also on the onus of the Indian Parliament whether to keep in official or not. However, other regions despite having native and regional languages also agreed to have Hindi as an official language. After going through lots of commotion, Hindi achieved the official status according a law passed by the Parliament in 1963. The law also reserved a second position for English to be used for official purposes.

Since the Parliament governs over the states, it was decided to let the state government decide whether the mother tongue of the region is to be included or not. Later, in 1964 few states raised their consent over the use of English as a second official language. There were also incidences that turned out to be quite unpleasing. To calm down the situation, another act was passed in 1967 which stated that English will continue to hold its position unless all the state assemblies that were reluctant to accept Hindi as the official language pass a resolution to that effect.

While nothing much materialized, the central government continued to use English as a secondary medium of communication for official purpose. It was also decided to encourage and facilitate excess use of Hindi in all government offices. Finally, in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution 15 dialects were added and declared as official languages in India.

As there were different rulers that have their dominance over India during their ruling day, there has been much diversity in the official languages in India. The Moghuls invaders who were originally from Afghanistan has brought with them the Persian language. Some history lovers claimed that India derived its present name of Hindustan because of the Indus River which is now in Pakistan. The lingo that was used during their arrival were totally foreign for the Moghuls and they called it Hindi or Hindustani. This is that tongue which has its roots in Sanskrit which is a Devanagari script. Many Hindu religious literatures and poetries is written in this script.

When the Moghul family established their rule in India, they gave new dimension to poetry. These rulers had a special taste for poetry and literature and asked the scholars to write scriptures in Person-Arabic script. Thus, a new language was born and it was called Urdu which replaced the Persian language. Urdu had a very distinct set of vocabulary which differentiate it from the Persian language. As such, both Hindi and Urdu ruled the daily imperial procedures. Most of the titles held by the Muslim rulers were termed as Shah, Sultan, Nawab and Nizam. In Hindi, these same terms were referred to as Raja or Maharaja or Yuvraj. As the tradition and beliefs were divided into two categories, the Muslims used Urdu while Hindus used Hindi as their languages.

Since India had a strong root of Hinduism, Hindi speaking people considered the Persian Arabic script as Muslim language. Until the arrival of British, Muslim urged their rulers to make Urdu as the official language of the state whereas the Hindus preferred and supported Hindi. Since it prevailed in the northern region, the political group requested the citizens of this part to accept Hindi as their mother tongue. As a result of this request, many regional dialects were considered as Hindi by the Britishers.

When India included Hindi as their official language after Independence, other regions where this language was spoken started demanding official status for their regional language. Many states put their demand to declare their native tongue different from Hindi. And in this pursuit, only the state of Punjab achieved success in separating Punjabi from Hindi. All other native vernacular was still considered as Hindi. Mostly, this official method of communication is considered according to the dialect of the Delhi-Agra region as it had in it the Sanskrit vocabulary.

Hindi also got a different dialect which was totally based on the Bollywood theme in Mumbai. As the movie industry was considered a strong influential factor, people of the country started using a totally new Hindi dialect more commonly. Though the movie culture and Mumbai lifestyle are responsible for spoiling the originality of the language, it is still loved and enjoyed throughout the country.

Official languages in India are different based on its geographical location. However, the central government has not accepted all the native languages as official yet. Alternatively, some India states have more than one official language. For example, Hindi, Urdu and Bengali are the official languages of Bihar approved by the central government. Similarly, Sikkim also has many official languages out of which only Nepali has been included in the Eighth Schedule of Indian Constitution. There are still many languages fighting their ways to get the recognition. Perhaps, a few years from now, we will get to see more languages added to the constitution and recognized as official.

Also read:

States and the Official Languages