Scheduled Languages

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State: Assam Number of Speakers: 1, 31, 68,484

Origin of name of language:

The geographical area Axom and its caste/sub caste (Jati), the Axomiya get their first mention in the Katha Gurucharit. There are diverse intepretations about the origins of the word “Axomiya”, with some attributing it to the geography and others tracing in to the Ahom dynasty who ruled the land for six hundred years. The Brahmaputra valley tract including North Bengal is referred to as Pragjyotishpura in the Mahabharata and as Kamrupa in the pillar inscription of Samudragupta dating back to the fourth century AD. The anglicized version of Axom is Assam (denoting the Brahmaputra valley). From the anglicized word Assam comes Assamese, denoting the language of Assam. Axomiya as a language is recorded to have been flourishing around the eight century AD. Axomiya (or Assamese) is the language of the State of Assam and it is enshrined as an official language under the Official Languages Act 1971 of the Constitution of India.

The Role of Axomiya Language:

Assam is a land of a multitude of languages. About 70 different languages are spoken by the various communities living in the state. The major language families are the (a) Indo-European (b) Austro-Asiatic (c) Tibeto-Burman and (d) Tai-Ahom group. Among the various tea tribes in Assam, the use of the Dravidian languages is evident. As per the Census of 2001, the proportion of people with Axomiya as the mother language is 1, 31, 68,484. Language variations are evident in the communication of the various tribal groups of Assam. Communities such as Bodos, Rabhas, Karbis, Misings, Deoris, Chutiyas etc communicate in their respective languages which bear an affinity to the languages spoken in Burma and Tibet. From the perspective of communication, pidgins such as Arunachali Axamiya and Nagamese have emerged crossing linguistic barriers, and are representative of the assimilation of the Axomiya language into a native form as a preferred form of communication for a group of people.

History of the Axomiya Speaking Populace:

The earliest relics of the language can be found in the paleographic records of Kamrupa from the 5th -12th centuries AD. Linguists are of the opinion that the Axomiya language, along with languages such as Bengali, Oriya etc., originated from the Indo-Aryan language group around 10th century AD. The writings of a Chinese pilgrim/traveller on his visit to Kamrup around 643 A.D during the reign of King Bhaskarvarman are a testimony to the affinity of the language of the people of Axom to the language spoken by the people of Madhya Bharat (central India where Magadhi was spoken). He mentions, “the language (of Kamrup) only slightly varies from the language spoken by the people of Madhya Bharat”, implying that the language had evolved and was in the process of development. The language continued to flourish from the 9th century onwards with proliferation in the number of people speaking the language.

During the 11th-12th centuries, Muslim occupation of Axom, noticeable changes were apparent in political and cultural scenario. The Muslim invaders began observing Hindu rituals and customs and made Sanskrit their court language. Axom remained the language of commoners and language of communication for all people of the region. Contemporary Assam also reflects the same features, and together this has shaped the larger Axomiya identity. Axom thus incorporates / is inclusive of all the groups of people / communities who have been residing in Assam across centuries.

Evolution and development of the Axomiya Language:

There are competing theories and opinions regarding the origin and the evolution of the Axomiya language. Scholars as Grierson,. Suniti Kumar Chatterji, Banikanta Kakati, etc, believe that Axomiya is a language belonging to the Magadhi-Prakrit group. Another group of scholars as Beni Madhab Barua, Dimbeshwar Neog etc are of the opinion that Axomiya owes its origin to the Kamrupi-Prakrit. To the renowned grammarian of Axom, Kaliram Medhi, Axomiya is a hybrid of the eastern and western Prakrit dialects.

The earliest example of pre-modern Axomiya script is preserved in the Charyapadas (ancient Buddhist Tantric literature) written by the Buddhist Siddhacharyas and dated between the 8th-12th centuries. The affinity of the Charyapadas with languages as Axomiya and other Magadhan languages illuminate the phases in the evolution of several Indian languages. The vocabulary of the Charyapadas includes words which are typically Axomiya. Morever in terms of phonetics and morphology, the vocabulary of the Charyapadas bears a strong resemblance to typical Axomiya words, some of which survive in the contemporary language.

The history of the development of the Axomiya literature may be divided into five periods;

(a) The formative phase of the language( 800-1300 A.D): to which belong the esoteric verses of the Buddhist Charyapadasand Sanskrit Srikrishna Kirtan literature, (b) The Pre- Vaishnavite literature (1300-1550 AD): this includes the compositions of Hem Saraswati, Madhav Kandali, Harihar Vipra, Kaviratna Saraswati and the works of Rudra Kandali, (c) The era of Sankari or Vaishnavite literature (1550-1650 AD), which also signifies the crystallization of a fully distinguished form of Axomiya around this period. (d) Post-Sankardeva era literature (1650-1850 AD): To this period belong the Buranjis (chronicles of the Ahom court), the Charit( religious biographies) and essentially modern Axomiya writing and (e) Contemporary (Modern) Era (1830 onwards): this period saw the evolution of standard Axomiya with the pre and post missionary literature; development of new genres as drama, novels etc. reflected in the works of Hemchandra Barua, Gunabhiram Barua; Jonaki-era literature and the form of the language continuing up to the present day.

Axomiya as a blend of several languages

The origin of Axomiya language is dated to be around 10th century AD, but its evolution as an independent language is believed to have begun around 7th century AD. The spread of Magadhi and Prakrit in the eastern part of Indian subcontinent, entered Kamrup evolving and developing into an independent form from around 6th-7th century AD. The trajectory of the development of the Axomiya language from Sanskrit-Pali-Prakrit as its mother languages to many other Indo-Aryan languages from ancient to contemporary times for historical reasons has been an amalgamation of the influences of the many languages from Sanskrit-Pali-Prakrit to the many Indo-Aryan languages to which the Axomiya language owes it origin and development.

Assam has been a meeting ground for the conglomerate of cultural and linguistic groups. Along with the Indo-European family, the Austric, Tibeto-Chinese, the Axomiya language has also developed a strong bond and affinty with the people of the region. At different periods of historical existence, Arabic-Persian language group, Portugese, English language, Aryan langauges, along with other Indian languages, both in manifest and latent blending has resulted in significant changes in the constitution of the Axomiya language.

In Contemporary Assam, Indo-European, Austric, Sino-Tibetan and Semitic (Arabic-Persian etc.) family of languages are in practice. The manifold modifications that have resulted in the Axomiya language are the outcome of the interaction and influence of the various language forms.

Names of Songs/’naam’

For every occasion and ceremony in Axomiya social customs/ every day life is available a set of songs or ‘naam’. From descriptions of seasonal variation to events as birth-death-wedding, religious preaching, curing illnesses, etc., these naams are associated with the various phases and events in Axomiya social, religious and economic life.

Such songs can been divided into various categories-

  1. Festival songs: Bihu Naam etc.
  2. Childhood songs: Dhai-naam, Nisukoni naam, Dhemali naam
  3. Wedding songs: Pani tola naam, Daiyan Diya naam etc.
  4. Songs relating to religious conduct: Gohain naam, Deh Bisarar naam, Tokari naam, Jikir etc
  5. Songs for bestowing good health curing illness: Ai naam, Aapesharar naam, Lakhimi Shabahar songs etc.
  6. Malita or Ballads: Phool Konwarar geet, Mani Konwarar geet, Barphukanar geet etc.
  7. . Juna (short verse): Kapahar Juna
  8. Songs relating to sports and festivities: Nao Khelar geet (boat race songs)
  9. Baramahi geet (songs depicting twelve months): Sita Baramahi, Kanya Baramahi etc.

Region Spoken In: West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar, Himachal Pradesh

Number of Speakers

  • Andaman and Nicobar: 91582
  • Himachal Pradesh: 83230

Andaman and Nicobar Islands predominantly developed as a result of immigrants from various parts of the country. The journey of immigrants started with transportation of revolutionaries from Sepoy Mutiny. The First War of Independence of India was fought against the British Empire. The British authorities landed in these Islands with hundreds of convicts who were prisoners of war of 1858. Under the Penal settlement, people from various linguistic groups were established in various parts of the Islands among whom the Bengali speaking people were considered to be the major community. Since the first attempt which was made to occupy these Islands by British authority in 1789, the Bengali settlers were brought to Andamans.

With the second Penal settlement in 1858, the Bengali speaking people had started migrating to these Islands with others. The British authority had prepared official records on total immigrants to Andamans. From time to time, the official records were updated. The people of all provinces under British control were transported to Andamans. The people who came here were Bengali, Assamese, Gujarati, Marathi, Konkani, Burmese ,Tamil, Telugu, Malayalee, Peshawari, Pushto ,Sindhi, Baluchi, Punjabi Nepali, Kharia, Gondi, Marwari and Dogri. All these linguistic groups constituted a society known as convicts society or Local Born. Urdu was the common language of this Island society.

Baghal earlier was a state from which the present district of Solan was formed. Its language is called Bagali, also known as Bagalyani. Bagali is closely related with Hindi.

The noted linguist Grierson has also named the language spoken in this area as ‘Bagali’. Though the census of 2001 puts the total population of Arki tehsil at 83230, the influence of the Bagali language can be seen beyond the boundaries of Arki tehsil, extending upto Patta Mehlong, eastern parts of the hill areas of Nalagarh tehsil of Solan district, areas of district Bilaspur adjoining Arki tehsil, and the north-western areas of Sunni Tehsil in district Shimla.

It is appropriate to mention that Verma is of the view that the languages of Himachal covered under Pahari also bear much similarity with Rajasthani. There appears to be reasonable affinity between Pahari of Himachal and Jaipuri, and between western Pahari and Marwari. The western and mid Pahari area was also known as Sapadalaksh. In the earlier times, the Gurjar community was settled in these regions of the Himalayas. Later, however, these people migrated to Rajasthan. In the Muslim period too, a large number of Rajputs settled in Sapadalaksh. As a result, some similarities are found between the Rajasthani and Pahari languages. The impact of Rajasthani language is evident in words such as khan.a khana, pin.a (pina), den.a (dena), sunan.a (sunana,) etc. (the fifth letter of the ta varga). The languages of various rulers of the country have not only influenced Bagali, but also enriched the vocabulary of this language. The impact of the Mughals and Britishers can also be seen in these areas. While the ‘iskool’ of Urdu has become ‘askool’, the English words ‘lord’ and ‘lord sahib’ have become ‘laat’ and ‘laat saheb’ in this area. An impact of languages such as Kahluri, Panjabi, Hindoori, Kyonthali and Baghati, which are local to adjoining areas, can also be seen in Bagali language. This is due to a cultural and social exchange between these languages. All these languages are in the category of Indo-Aryan languages. . There is a clear-cut impact of Panjabi visible on Hindoori and Bagali. It will not be an overstatement to mention that Bagali and Hindoori are siblings (sisters) in the present time.

State: Assam

Ethnicity and linguistic differences cause diversity and very often reciprocal cultural assimilation within the diversified community brings unity. People and their culture reveals multicultural characters through their life-style. Different ethnic and linguistic groups migrated to Assam in different times. Bishnupriya Manipuri is one of among those linguistic groups of Assam which is migrated from present Manipur. The vicinity of Loktak Lake of Manipur is traced as the place of emergence of this community. The people of this community follow the Vishnu cult and have been introducing themselves as the descendents of Babhruvahana, the son of Arjuna. Grierson referred to them as mayāng in Linguistic Survey of India (Vol.3). In the census report of 1961, it is stated- “Manipuri people call the Bishnupriyas mayāngs, because they hailed from outside Manipur.” (Vol-1). At present Bishnupriya Manipuri people are scattered in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura Bangladesh and Myanmar. The language, spokken by the community is known as Bishnupriya Manipuri.

Dr. Upendranath Goswami wrote in his book Asomiya Bhashar Udbhav Samriddhi Aru Vikash (Derivation, growth and development of the Assamese Language) as- ‘owing to the internal dispute of Manipur and the Burmese invasion most of the people of this linguistic community had to flee from their homeland, it became very difficult to retain their language in Manipur and consequently by the turn of this century (twentieth) the language wiped out from Manipur.’

Geographical Location: At present a substantial number of Bishnupriya Manipuri speaking people live in Assam. They live mainly in the three districts of the Barak valley and some parts of the Brahmaputra Valley. They usually practice Vaisnavism, propounded by Chaitanya and hence this language has witnessed a considerable influence of the Bengali language. However, this influence is certainly not far old.

Language Family: Tibeto – Burman language family. State: West Bengal Region Spoken In: Mostly used in Malbazar, Dhupguri and some other areas of Jalpaiguri, Coochbihar, Darjeeling.

Name of the Language: Boro is the name of the language and the community.

Alternate Names: The community is also designated by the terms Kochari, Mesh, Boro-Kochari and Boro etc.

Language Family The Boros belong to Tibeto – Burman language family.

Disambiguation of Name ‘BODO’

The inhabitants of the ‘BOD’ country are known as ‘BODO-FICHA’ or ‘BODOCHA’ or ‘BODOSA’ ('Bod' means land and 'ficha' or 'cha' means children, hence children of the Bod country). In course of time they came to be known as Boddo>Bodo>Boro.

Geographical Origins:

Some scholars state that in the past the Boros lived in the Southern part of China, mostly on the bank of river Wangho and Yansikiang region. Another group of scholars comment that the Boros came from the Step area and the Mongolian region. Others believe that the Boros migrated to the north-eastern regions of India from some parts of China, which are known as Tibod, Labod, Horbod, Kurbod, Bastibod and Tibet etc.

Geographical Locations:

The Boros are one of the largest Tibeto – Burman language groups living in the Brahmaputra valley. Their habitats are also found in North – Eastern states like Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura as well as some parts of West-Bengal, Nepal and Bhutan. The majority of the Boro people live in Bongaigaon, Dhubri, Goalpara, Darang, Nagaon, Sonitpur, Lakhimpur, Kokrajhar and Chirang districts of Assam.

Geographical Changes in Language Varieties

The Boro people living in the North Bank of Brahmaputra like Dhubri, Kokrajhar and Chirang basically speak the western Boro dialect, whereas the Boros of undivided Kamrup, Darang, Nagaon and Sibsagar district use eastern Boro dialect. But the Boros in the southern part of the Brahmaputra valley, mainly in indigenous Boro habitats of Goalpara district, use the Doikhungkhulari Boro dialect. The language spoken by the Boros of the West Bengal and Nepal is known as ‘Meche’ dialect. The Boros living in Karbi – Anglong district is known as ‘Mesh’, but they do not have their own dialect. They use Assamese language as a means of communication.

Boro Yatra Gan (Boro theatre)

During the first half of the 20th century, two types of Boro drama- ‘Khemtha’ and ‘Thakriphalla’ were performed in Boro society. Performed basically during festivals, rituals, marriages as well as on other occasions to entertain the audience. The objective of this type of plays was to instruct and impart moral education. Besides these, a kind of play, which was known as ‘Serja Gan’ gained much popularity in Boro society. The play was performed by playing ‘Serja’ (a kind of musical instrument similar to the violin) and the plot of this type of plays was based on folk traditions.

Musical instruments of the Boros:

The Boros are a nature loving tribe and they usually consider themselves as the offspring of nature. They have numerous songs related to nature and their musical instruments are usually made of natural materials. Like many other tribes of Assam, the Boros use their self-made musical instruments during festivals as well as on many other occasions. Kham (drum), Siphung (flute), Serja, Gongona, Jotha, Thorka, Jabkhring and Jenjengra (made of wattles tree) are the chief musical instruments of the Boro.

Boro language on radio

Boro language was first broadcast on radio on 2nd October, 1975 on Akash Bani Guwahati. At first the broadcasting was made from 4-15 pm till 4-45pm for a period of half an hour, and later the time was extended up to 45 minutes. On Sunday, the broadcast started at 3. 15 pm and various programs were broadcast till 4 pm. Another broadcasting centre was founded in Kokrajhar district on 15th August, 1999. Various programs in Boro, Assamese, Hindi and English are broadcast from this centre from 6 pm to 9. 30 pm.

Boro language on television

As part of the weekly P.P.C. program of Doordarshan Kendra, Guwahati, some specific programs on Boro are telecast every Saturday. Everyday Boro News is telecast on NE TV at a specific time. Various programs are also telecast by the Boroland Channel, Kokrajhar.

Boro language in modern media

The Boro language is making its rapid growth and development through electronic media. At present Boro News has become available as a mobile service too.

State : Jammu & Kashmir

Area Spoken In : Spoken in the mountainous region of North-West India lying between Pipanjal and Dhauladhar ranges in North and plains of Punjab in South, River Sutlej in East and Manawar Tawi in West. Language Family : Indo-Aryan Language Family Region Spoken In : Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges in North and plains of Punjab. Also spoken across Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and across the border in Sialkot and Shakargharh **Number of Speakers : 2282589

Geographical Location:

Spoken in the mountainous region of North-West India lying between Pipanjal and Dhauladhar ranges in North and plains of Punjab in South, River Sutlej in East and Manawar Tawi in West. This region is known as Duggar. The mention of ‘durgar’, occurs in Chamba Copper Plates of 11th Century A.D. and it refers to the community inhabiting the region between Ravi and Chenab.

Language Group: Indo-Aryan Language Family


Dogri, the second prominent language of Jammu and Kashmir has an important place on the Linguistic map of Northern India. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan group of Indo-European language family. It has its origin from old Indo-Aryan language, i.e., language of Vedas and Laukik Sanskrit.

Historical mentions:

  • The earliest reference of Dogri is found in Nuh-Siphir, a Masnavi written by Amir Khusrao in A.D. 1317.
  • Maharaja Ranbir Singh (1856-1885), made Dogri written in Taakari Script the court language along with Persian of Jammu and Kashmir State.

Inclusion in Indian Constitution:

According to the 92 Amendment Act 2003 of the Indian Constitution on 22nd December 2003 (The Gazette of India Part-II Sec-I)


Devotional Songs: bispante arti, bhet, batt, sangh, thal, narate, gujari, bhajan etc.

Ceremonial Songs: badhava, behai, suhag, ghori, sithani, chhanda, loahni, palla etc.

Festival Songs: lohri, hirana, erani, swari, garlodi, laddi, etc.

Seasonal Songs: rittariya, bara mah, dholaru etc.

Love Songs: kunju-chainchalo, bhagu-gilamo, chhambi:- raja ami:chand, pirthi:singh indardei etc.

Bhakh is a typical variety of Dogri folk songs

State- Gujarat

Area spoken- Cities and towns of Gujarat

State : Haryana, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh in India

Language Family : Indo-Aryan language

Number of Speakers : 422,048,642

Area and Its Speakers

Hindi is an Indo-Aryan language (a branch of the Indo-European family of languages), spoken primarily in the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh in India. Besides being the official language of these states, it is also, along with English, the official language of the Government of India. According to the 2001 Census, it is spoken by 422,048,642 speakers, which include the speakers of its various dialects and variations of speech grouped under Hindi. It is also spoken by a large number of people of Indian origin, settled abroad.


Hindi and Urdu have their origins in Khariboli spoken in areas around Delhi. Khariboli was adopted by the Afghans, Persians and Turks as a common language of interaction with the local population, during the period of Islamic invasions and the establishment of Muslim rule in north India, between the eighth and the tenth centuries ad. In time, it developed a variety called Urdu, with significant borrowings from Arabic and Persian and which uses a Persian script. It was also known as rexta or ‘mixed language’. As Urdu gained patronage in the Muslim courts and developed into a literary language, the variety used by the general population gradually replaced Sanskrit, literary Prakrits and Apabhramshas as the literary language. This later variety looked to Sanskrit for linguistic borrowings, and Sanskrit, Prakrits and Apabhramshas for literary conventions. It is this variety that became known as Hindi.

Hindi and Urdu have a common form known as Hindustani, which is essentially a Hindi–Urdu mixed language. This was the variety that was adopted by Indian leaders as a symbol of national identity during the struggle for freedom. Hindi has been used as a literary language since the twelfth century. The development of prose, however, began only in the eighteenth century, which marks the emergence of Hindi as a full-fledged literary language.

Grierson (1906) has divided Hindi into two groups: Eastern Hindi and Western Hindi. In the Eastern group Grierson discusses three dialects: Awadhi, Bagheli, and Chattisgarhi. In the Western group he discusses five dialects: Hindustani, Braj Bhasha, Kanauji, Bundeli, and Bhojpuri. Eastern Hindi is bounded on the north by the language of the Nepal Himalaya and on the west by various dialects of Western Hindi, of which the principal are Kanauji and Bundeli. On the east, it is bounded by the Bhojpuri dialect of Bihari and by Oriya. On the South it meets forms of the Marathi language. Western Hindi extends to the foot of the Himalayas on the north, south to the Jamna valley, and occupies most of Bundelkhand and a part of central provinces on the east side.

The Hindi region is traditionally divided into two: Eastern Hindi and Western Hindi. The main dialects of Eastern Hindi are Awadhi, Bagheli and Chattisgarhi. The Western Hindi dialects are Haryanvi, Braj Bhasha, Bhundeli, Kanuji and Khariboli. The dialects spoken in the regions of Bihar (i.e., Maithili, Bhojpuri, Maghi etc.) in Rajasthan (i.e., Marwari, Jaipuri, Malvi etc.) and some dialects spoken in the northwestern areas of Uttar Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh were kept away from the earlier classification. earlier classification. Now, all of these dialects are also covered under the term Hindi. The standard Hindi developed from the Khariboli has borrowed lexical items from Sanskrit and is the vehicle of all official literary and commercial communication. It is intelligible throughout the broad Hindi language region. Another literary style, Urdu, has also developed from Khariboli and it uses the Perso-Arabic script and borrows from Perso-Arabic sources.

Hindi –Urdu

Historical and cultural processes and the linguistic affinity which exists in Indian languages led to the emergence of Hindi-Urdu or so-called Hindustani as the lingua-franca of major areas of India long before its freedom. In an earlier period, the languages of administration, Sanskrit in the case of the earliest Hindu kingdoms, Persian in the case of the Muslim dynasties, and English in the case of the British regime, have mostly remained confined to the elite.

Beginning with the invasion of Mohammed Ghori in the late 12th century AD, the foreign invaders settled down in India to rule. The Slave, Tughluq, Lodi, and Mughal dynasties used Persian in their administration, but they used the local language spoken in and around Delhi for communicating with the people for their day-to-day needs. This local language was a form of Apbhramsha, which eventually became Khariboli; they called this language Hindi - a language belonging to Hind. Thus, the Hindi language derived its name from the Persian towards the end of the 12th century or beginning of the 13th century. During the Mughal period, the word ‘Urdu’ was derived from the Turkish word ‘Yurt’ or ‘ordu’ that meant ‘military encampment.’ This variety was distinguished on the basis of Perso-Arabic influence at the lexical level and was written in the Perso-Arabic script. Hindi-Urdu became the medium of communication between the Muslim rulers and the local people. The southern variety of the speech, best known as Dakhini, also became the medium of literature and socio-religious discourse. This variety is influenced by Dravidian languages as a result of language contact.

Due to a common structural basis, Hindi and Urdu continued to be treated as synonymous for centuries at least up to the period of Mirza Ghalib. Mirza Ghalib called his language ‘Hindi’ on several occasions, though he used the Perso-Arabic script for writing it. He named one of his works ‘ode-e-Hindi’ (perfume of Hindi). Primarily in the domain of different genres of literature, Hindi and Urdu started drifting away from each other not only in the use of two different scripts, but also in literary styles and vocabulary. Hindi started drawing more and more from Sanskrit, and Urdu from Persian and Arabic. The processes continue today.

During British rule, when English was adopted as the official language, local languages were assigned roles for certain functions at lower levels of administration. A competition started between the proponents or supporters of Hindi and those of Urdu for official recognition of their languages. In the first instance, Urdu was recognized by the British in the Northwest and Oudh, Bihar, and the Central Provinces in 1830 AD as the language of the courts. This was followed by the recognition accorded to Hindi in certain areas. Hindi and Urdu were involved in controversy and mutual competition for their recognition in various domains of education and administration. The mutual conflicts intensified at the beginning of the 20th century. On the one hand, there were proponents of Hindi and Urdu who were eager to maintain separate linguistic identities, and, on the other hand, some national leaders wanted to develop Hindustani as a combined linguist identity on the basis of its use by the general population.

Linguistic Characteristics

Hindi shares major linguistic characteristics with other Indo-Aryan languages. It has ten vowels. The length of vowels is phonemic. All vowels can be nasalized and nasalization is phonemic. The Hindi syllable contains a vowel as its nucleus, followed or preceded by consonants. Words usually have two or three syllables.Nouns are inflected for number, gender and case. There are two numbers: singular and plural, two genders: masculine and feminine; and two cases: direct and oblique. Nouns are assigned one of the two genders. The gender of inanimate objects is not predictable from the form or meaning. Pronouns are inflected for number and case. Adjectives are of two types: declinable and indeclinable. The first type is uninflected for number, gender, and case, whereas the second type is not. Verbs are inflected for person, number, gender, tense, mood, and aspect. There are three tenses: present, past, and future; three moods: imperative, indicative, and subjective; two aspects: imperfective and perfective. Hindi is a verb-final language. Hindi is written in the Devanagari script which originated from Brahmi. The Devanagari script for Hindi is standardized, but certain minor variations still exist. In this grammar we are using Devanagari and Roman scripts for the data from the language.

Hindi in Education:

Hindi has a significant role in education. It is used as a subject of study as well as a medium of education in India from the primary level to the university level in all the Hindi-speaking states in India. It is also used as a medium for technical education at the lower levels. Various organisations at the Union and state levels are engaged in the preparation of textbooks and supplementary instructional materials in Hindi. English continues to be a preferred medium of instruction for science and technology at the higher levels.

Hindi in Media:

Hindi has a prominent role in both electronic and print media. Hindi is widely used in programs on radio and television and in films. The language style of Hindi used in electronic media is close to the spoken variety of so-called Hindustani. In the print media, styles vary from high Hindi to that commonly understood by the Hindi-Urdu speech community. Whereas a few newspapers and periodicals prefer high Hindi or the Sanskritized style, others prefer to use the Urdu vocabulary. A large number of newspapers, periodicals, and journals are published in Hindi.

Grammars in Hindi:

Beginning in the eighteenth century, Hindi has a long tradition of grammatical literature which falls under the categories of (a) traditional grammars, (b) comparative and historical grammars, and (c) modern linguistic grammars. Bhatia (1987) provides a critical survey of the Hindi grammatical tradition. Traditional grammars describe the language using the traditional framework of Sanskrit grammars. Comparative and historical grammars are mostly concerned with presenting the diachronic description of the grammatical features at different linguistic levels, especially phonology and morphology. They are useful for historical linguists and those interested in the comparative linguistics of Indo-Aryan languages. There is a scope for a pedagogically oriented grammar which provides essential information for the use of Hindi language learners as well as teachers. The present Modern Hindi Grammar is an effort in this direction. It is pedagogically oriented; utilizing simpler terminology and authentic data from standard spoken and written Hindi; providing useful descriptions and tables of grammatical categories as well as simple descriptions of phrases, and sentence types designed for the use of language learners, teachers of Hindi at various levels. The Phonology describes segmental phonemes (vowels, consonants), suprasegmentals (length, stress, intonation), and morphophonology (alternations, deletion and insertion, allomorphs). The Morphology provides descriptions of nominal morphology (noun inflection, gender, number, case, postpositions, pronouns, adjectives), verb morphology (types of verbs, verb inflections, voice, tense, aspect, mood, non-finite verb forms), and adverbs. The Syntax describes the structure of phrases, sentence types, complex and compound constructions, other syntactic constructions among other items. The Lexicon presents a classified vocabulary of Hindi under 12 sub-sections.

Language Family : Kashmiri belongs to Dardic branch of the Indo-Aryan family.

Region Spoken In : Kashmir valley of Jammu & Kashmir

Number of Speakers : 53,62,349

Script : Sharda, Devanagari, Roman and Perso-Arabic.

State : Jammu & Kashmir

Area Spoken In : Kashmiri is spoken primarily in Kashmir Valley of Jammu and Kashmir State of India.

Regional and Social variations in Kashmiri Speech:

Kashmiri speaking area in the valley is ethno - semantically is divided into

▪ mara:z (southern and south-eastern region)

▪ karma:z (northern and north-western region)

▪ Vamra:z (Srinagar and the neighbouring area)

Dialects of Kashmiri Poguli - spoken in Pogul and Kishtawari. It shares 70% linguistic features vocabulary with Kashmiri Kishtawari - spoken in Kishtawar valley, the south-east part of Kashmir. It shares 80% vocabulary with Kashmiri.

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Kashmiri though spoken by majority of people in the valley, it has never been used as an official language in its home state i.e. Jammu and Kashmir.

Scripts used for Kashmiri Sharda, Devanagari, Roman and Perso-Arabic. Sharda is the oldest script developed around 10th Century which was used for writing Sanskrit by local scholars of the time.

Region Spoken In : Kerela

Number of Speakers : 33066392

Evolution of the name Malayalam The origin of the word Malayalam is of recent origin. Malayalam is a combination of mala ‘mountain’ with any of the following terms - * alam - the place denoting the mountain country * aalam ‘depth’ - representing the land that lies between the mountain and the deep ocean * awl ‘man’ - meaning mountain dweller.

The last term conveys to a possible extent the original meaning of Malayalam, denoting the people depicted by word forms such as malayaalar, malayali, malanaattukaaran and the region or country as in the term malanaatu. Lilatilakam, a famous 14th century work on the grammar and language of Malayalam, mentions only keeralabhaasa to denote the language. The etymology of the word keralam is unsure. Keralam may be derived from the Classical Tamil word ‘ceralam’ mountain slope’ or cheralam ‘land of Cheras’. It may also have originated from keral-am, kera ‘coconut tree’, alam ‘land or location’ meaning land of coconut trees.

The earliest attestation to the name kerala is found in an Asokan rock inscription of 3rd century BC which mentions a state or people called kerala putra. In literary records, kerala was mentioned in the Sanskrit epic Aityreya Aranyaka. Kerala was well known to Katyayana, Patanjali and Pliny and was famous among Greeks and Romans for its spices especially black pepper. There is a legend regarding the origin of Keralam, that Lord Parasurama regained his land from the sea by standing higher on Gokarna commanded the sea to recede, and hurling his battle axe into the Arabian Sea. The emergence of land, thus coming out of the sea waters came to be known as Keralam.

The use of the word Malayalam, as the name of the language does not have a long history. The attestation to this is found in the available records which could only be traced back to middle of 19th century. The earliest available reference to the word ‘Malayaalabhaasha’ is found in Bailey’s paLaya Niyamam (Old Testament) published in 1839. Prior to 19th century, the available record reveals generally that the language of the former Kerala region was named Tamil and later named Keralabhaasha before commencing the current name.

The word Malayalam was used earlier to refer the region as a toponym. A clear distinction then existed between the land and the language. Malayalam refers to a place of occupation and the words like Malayalma, or Malyaayma were used to mean the language.

The common folk continue to get identified by Malayaam/ Malayaanma which reflects the land, people and the language. The political settings have given more popularity to the power laden Malayaalar than the native Malayaam/Malayaanma.

Geography of Malayalam Language Geography of language describes distribution of Malayalam language through history and space. Kerala, the present home land of Malayalam came into existence as a state in Indian Union on 1st Nov. 1956 with a clearcut political boundary. It is bounded by the Western Ghats on the east and Arabian Sea on the west. It shares its border with the state of Karnataka at the north and rest with Tamil Nadu. The Highlands- slope down from Sahyadri (Western Ghats), the Midlands, area found between mountains and lowlands and the Lowlands (Coastal region) define the physiographic pattern of Kerala.

It was formerly a larger piece of land stretched between Kanyakumari in the south and Gokarna in the north under Chera rule. The genesis of Malayalam is rooted to the Chera regime but it does not confirm the spread of language. Cankam Tamil was a literary language common to both Kerala and modern Tamil Nadu in 1st — 3rd centuries AD. The common heritage coupled with political dominance allowed the centamil literary ancestry to continue until about 1600.

There are various opinions about the origin of Malayalam, whether it originated by split from proto-Tamil Malayalam or from middle Tamil. Inscriptional evidences confirm its official use around 9th century.

The age of Kulasekharas or second Chera Empire (800-1102 AD) was the golden age in the history of Kerala. During the reign of Rajasekhara Varman the Malayalam Era known as Kollam era commenced around 825 AD. Several independent principalities came into existence after the fall of second Chera Empire in 1102 AD. The Portuguese and Dutch intrusions or the Mysore invasion (1766-82) disturbed the Malayalam language geography. The British annexed Malabar under Madras Presidency and thus disturbing the language geography for the first time. The formation of new Travancore-Cochin state after Independence made the language geography more stable, followed by the emergence of unilingual state — Kerala comprising of Malabar district and Kasargode taluk of Madras state and Travancore Cochin State excluding Tamil speaking areas of south Travancore. This situation help Malayalam language to define its boundary with the neighbouring languages — Tamil, Kannada, Tulu and Kodagu.

Ethnic base of Malayalam Language The ethnic base of today’s Malayalam is rich and distinct in terms of ethnic boundaries. It comprises locally evolved groups; immigrants turned residents, bicultural bilinguals, and linguistically subjugated groups. Despite having mother tongue diversity, most of the groups today putatively accounted as Malayalam speakers. It comprises social groups like Scheduled Tribes (ST), Scheduled Castes (SC), Other Backward Communities (OBC), Other Eligible Communities (OEC) and Other Communities (OC). Within this fabric, religious subcultures survive with great diversity. Among the Hindus, Brahmin community is ethnically more diverse in Kerala. Kerala Brahmins comprising Nambudiris and many sub castes, Tamil Brahmins (Smarta and Aiyyangar), Tulu Brahmins (Embranthiri and Pox) and Konkani Brahmins including Gauda saraswathi Brahmins.The Christian divisions of Malayalam speech community include theSyrian Christians (Syrian Catholics, Jacobites, Orthodox and Marthomites, and Knanaya community), LaEn Catholics, Nadar Christians, and the various Protestant splinter groups etc. Kerala Muslim community comprises mainly of 10 communities. Although all are fluent in Malayalam, only four (Mappila, Marakkar, Meythor, Ossan) claim their Mother tongue as Malayalam.The rest belong to GujaraE(Bohra, Cutchi Memon), Urdu(Dakhani Muslim, Navayat), Tamil (Ravuthar)and Turkish dialect (Turukkan).

The ethnic base of present day Malayalam speech community can be identified in four streams -

  1. Malayalam mother tongue speakers

  2. Groups who have adopted Malayalam as the mother tongue

  3. Groups use Malayalam by maintaining their original mother tongue (native-bicultural bilinguals) and
  4. Linguistically subjugated minorities.

Language Demography Language demography provides the speaker’s strength of a language. The total number of Malayalam speakers in India was 33066392 persons (2001 Census).

Status of Malayalam Malayalam is one of the scheduled languages of India. It enjoys the shared official language status along with the English in the homeland Kerala and Lakshadweep. It is also counted as an official language in Pondicherry (Puduchery). Malayalam survives as the principal mother tongue in Kerala has 99.54 % of speaker’s strength at state level, which is highest to any other state tongue’s status in India. 86.83% speaker’s strength is marked in Lakshadweep.

As a standard language, Malayalam is rich and dynamic in its existence. About 170 daily newspapers, 235 weekly and 560 monthly periodicals are published in Malayalam. In education front, it is used as a medium of instruction only at school level in the state. Malayalam is used in mass communication both in print and electronic media. Highly appreciable visibility in the domain of mass communication is recorded. The role of Malayalam as a language of political expressionist has been well credited with a political dialect and language proficiency in the political domain is well counted in both oral and written media.

In the domain of Culture, Malayalam survives with great antiquity and prestige in folk arts of Kerala. The role of Malayalam in films and other popular entertainments is high while its role in administration and judiciary is secondary. Malayalam language is not yet fully compatible with language technology but has succeeded in the initial phase of Malayalam computing.

While Malayalam accommodates the theoretical innovations in social science and humanities with ease, its capability for displaying Science and mathematics needs further terminological advancement. Malayalam language products like dictionaries, glossaries, grammars and other pedagogical products have to become more systematic, scientific and current in order to develop its own discourses in sciences and social sciences.As translation is inequitably responding to the growing demands in various fields of knowledge,technologically compatible Malayalam with machine translation capability is the need of the hour. Free use of English words in Malayalam sentences, as freely as it did with Sanskrit in the past,is the cosmopolitan trademark of Malayalam.

Linguistic and Cultural landscape of Malayalam Three cultural zones: north, central and south, are distinctively visible in Kerala and are distinctively marked. This map excludes tribal and minority subcultures but demarcates the major regionally bounded cultural and linguistic zones.

Bilingualism in Kerala The phenomena of bilingualism i**s of great importanceIn Kerala, where though the mother tongue speaker's prominence is well marked, bilingual status is also significantly high. The 16 languages of Kerala and dialects spoken in Kerala are English, Gujarati, Kachchi, Kadar, Kannada, Konkani, Koraga, Malankudi, Malayalam, Marathi, Muduga, Punjabi, Tamil, Telgu, Tulu and Urdu.

Of the 225 communities in Kerala, 112 of them are Malayalam speakers, 39 Tamil speakers, 24 Tulu speakers, 15 Kannada speakers, 12 Telugu speakers, 5 Marathi speakers, 4 Konkani speakers and 2 Urdu speakers. English, Punjabi, Gujarati and Kachchi are spoken by one community each. 14 communities are speakers of Indo-Aryan languages (Gujarati, Kachchi, Konkani, Marathi, Punjabi and Urdu) while the others speak Dravidian language.

Regional Bilingualism in Kerala can be observed in three prominent patterns -

  1. General trend evolved due to Trilingual education policy and the result of outward migration.
  2. Maintenance of respective mother tongue by minority settlers along with Malayalam.
  3. Tribal Bilingualism.

History of Malayalam Language Proto-Dravidian, Proto-Tamil and Middle Tamil Ancestry of Malayalam The term Dravidian as a generic name of the major language family next to Indo-European, spoken in the Indian subcontinent was first used by Robert Caldwell in 1856. This was an adaptation of the Sanskrit term dravida (adj. draavida-) which is traditionally used to designate the Tamil language and people, in some contexts and in others, roughly the South Indian peoples The modern Dravidian languages are believed to have disintegrated from the common ancestor called Proto-Dravidian (PD). The present Dravidian family consists of 26 well established languages, besides, about 70 distinct tribal speech forms.

The 26 languages are classified into four geneEc subgroups:

(i) South Dravidian (SD): Tamil, Malayalam, Irula, Kurumba, Kodagu, Toda, Kota, Badaga, Kannada, Koraga, Tulu. (ii) South Central Dravidian (SCD): Telugu, Gondi, Konda, Kui, Kuvi, Pengo, Manda. (iii) Central Dravidian (CD): Kolami, Naiki, Parji, Ollari, Gadaba. (iv) North Dravidian (ND): Kurukh, Malto, Brahui.

Evolution of Malayalam Malayalam has a recorded literary history of over eight centuries; the earliest document, the Vazhappalli inscriptions of Rajasekhara dates to the 9th century.

The early literature developed through three different traditions: (i) The Tamil tradition of paattu , the classical songs as depicted in the first literary work, Ramacaritam (ii) The Sanskrit tradition of maniprvaala, a literary innovation portraying a harmonious blend of baasha (native language)and Samskrita (Sanskrit), as in Vaisikathantram; (iii) The native tradition of folk songs and ballads predominantly concerning indigenous elements. Bashaakautiliiyam is the earliest prose written in simple language. All three traditions belong to the 12th century. Modern Malayalam literature is rich in fiction, poetry, prose, drama, short stories, biographies and literary criticism.

Sangam Literature and Malayalam language The Sangam (cankam ) literature (1-3 Centuries of AD) provides the most ancient sources of Tamil- Malayalam common ancestry. The main Sangam literary productions were eightAnthologies (ettuttokai ) containing more than 2000 verses and Ten Idylls (Pattuppattu) composed on akam (deals love and romance) and puram genres (deals praise of the Kings). The eight anthologies are Patirruppattu, Purananuru, Akananuru, Narrinai, Kurumtokai, Ainkurunuru, Kalittokai and Paripatal. The ten Idylls encompass Tirumurkarruppatai, Porunararrupatai, Cirupanaruppatai, Perumpanaruppatai, Mullaippattu, Maturaikkanci, Netunalvatai, Kurincippattu, Pattinappalai and Malaipatukatam.

This literary capital showcases that the Sangam literature is neither fully in Tamil nor Malayalam. It is a common heritage for both. Kerala has its own share of cultural, historical, political and language heritage in the Sangam literature despite Malayalam attesting an independent history in later periods.

The geographical descriptions in Purananuru is more akin to the Kerala ecology with the beautiful depiction of flora and fauna.The political descriptions in Sangam texts particularly on the Chera dynasty are rooted to Kerala. Some cultural features mentioned in Tamil classical works are retained in Kerala, but not in Tamil Nadu. For example, the classical art form Chakkiyaŗ kuttu, and the extraction of Toddy from rice are not found in Tamil Nadu, but is prevalent in Kerala.

The tradition of Bards is kept alive in Kerala. Bards, particularly the Panan, Kuththar who sang praise of Kings and Chieftains in Sangam were not found in Tamil territory but have survived with their own identity of caste and profession in Kerala. Their oral songs are known as Panan pattu in Kerala.

Many Sangam poets like Kuttuvan Kiranar, Kudalur Kizhar, Poykaiyar were from Kerala. Ilangovadikal, the author of the Tamil epic Chilappathikaaram was also recognised from Chera dynasty.

State : Aandaman & Nikobar

Number of Speakers : Approx 30000

After Bengali, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu Malayalam is the fifth largest language spoken in AN Islands as per the 2001 Census. 28,869 people have recorded Malayalam as their mother tongue in the Census. We do not have the linguistic data of 2011 Census. However, as per the growth rate of 6%, we can add about 2000 and round it off to approximately 30000, who speak Malayalam or have recorded it as their mother tongue.

Malayalees reached the shores of Andaman and Nicobar Islands for different reasons. But, before the Moplah Rebellion of 1921, very few Malayalees were deported to ANI Islands. After Independence, on various settlement schemes announced by Government of India, people voluntarily started settling in Andamans and a Malayali Settler population belonging to Southern Kerala also came and settled in different pockets of the Islands. And, there were economic migrants, who keep coming to Islands and engage in various business and economic activities. Many others came for government service.

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State : Maharashtra

Area Spoken : All over Maharashtra


Marathi is one of the languages among the twenty-two Indian languages included in the eighth schedule of the Constitution. According to the census of 2001, it is the fourth largest spoken language in India after Hindi, Bangla and Telugu. According to the information available on Wikipedia, which in turn is based on the data gathered by Ethnologue, Marathi is thefifteenth largest spoken language in the worldwith over seventy-five million speakers internationally. Marathi belongs to the Indo-European family of the sub-section of the proto Indo-Aryan languages. George Abraham Grierson,in his linguistic survey of the Indian languages, during the period 1898 to 1928, divided the modern Indian languages into three categories—External, Internal and Middle, and some sub-categories. Out of these, Marathi belongs to the External category and to one of the sub-category of three languages, Simhali, Konkani and Marathi. Like Marathi, Konkani has also been included in the eighth schedule of the Constitution of India.

Origin of Marathi

Historian V.K.Rajwade has attempted to trace the origin of Marathi to the period of the ‘pre- Panini ancient language and even earlier pre-Vedic language’ (Tulpule, 2002: 7, 86–87). He has expressed this opinion in Jnaneshwari,both inthepreface and in the section on the grammar of Marathi language. In his extensively written critique, S.G.Tulpule has pointed out that the origin of Marathi, as stated by Rajwade, is not in consonance with reality (Ibid.: 10). On the contrary, Grierson (Grierson 1927:121– 127) and K.P.Kulkarni (Kulkarni, 2009:100–219) have drawn up a graph of Indo-Aryan languages, which is more acceptable—Sanskrit (classical or pre-Panini Sanskrit)– Prakrit—Apabhramśa – today’s Aryan languages.

According to Grierson, the pre-Vedic or even the Vedic languages were not just one language, but groups of different dialects or spoken languages. Panini wrote the grammar of one of these dialects of Vedic languages and gave it a stable and rule-based form, which is the language we know today as Sanskrit (abhijAta). But besides this stabilised Sanskrit, the pre-Panini spoken languages or dialects of the people remained in practice and their development and popularity grew as time passed. Theseare what we today call the Prakrit languages. Grierson has pointed out three periods of Prakrit, called Primary Prakrit, Secondary Prakrit and Tertiary Prakrit (Ibid.: 121–122). In due course of time, literature was written in Prakrit also and its grammar was also documented.

State : Assam

Language Family: Tibeto-Burman languages

Number of Speakers: 1,270, 216 Approx

Various names are associated with the people of Meitei. These people are mainly found as ‘Meitei’ or ‘Meetei’ and as ‘Meithei’ in the writings of Britishers. In the History of Gait, it is found that ‘the Ahoms called it Mekheli, and the Kacharis Magli, while the old Assamese name for it is Moglau’’ (Gait 245). The Meiteilon or Meeteilon is the language of Meitei or Meetei. Similarly, the language is also known as Meiteilon, Meiteiron, Meeteilon, Meeteiron etc. The word ‘Lon’ refers to language.

According to the census of 1991, in India the numbers of Meitei speakers are approximately 1,270, 216 and out of these Meitei speakers are about 1,110,134 in Manipur. According to the Population Census, there are approximately 1,466,705 Meitei speakers in India. As in Manipur Meitei language is used as a Lingua franca, so the users of Meitei language are very huge in numbers. Besides, this language is also spoken in Assam (mainly in Kachar district), Tripura, Mizoram, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Along with English Meitei language is also used as an official language. In 1992 Manipur is recognized as the 8th scheduled language in the Constitution of India. Presently, Manipuri is taught as a subject in the post-graduate level and it is also used as the medium of Instruction up to the graduate level in Manipur. Among other Tibeto-Burman languages, Manipuri language holds the seventh position.

Area Spoken In : Nepali language is spoken in various parts of India, including Bhagsu-Dehradun, Assam and other northeastern states, major metropolises of India, and abroad.

Language Family: Nepali is a modern Indo-Aryan language belonging to the eastern pahari group.

Language Family: Nepali is a modern Indo-Aryan language belonging to the eastern pahari group


Nepali is often believed to have evolved from the Sauraseni Apabhramsa but research shows that it has evolved from the Khas Apabramsa which encompasses Kumaoni and Garhwali. The latter is the standard assumption in the study of the Nepali language and literature. Hence, the modern Nepali language is believed to be evolved from Khas language.


Nepali is believed to have emerged as a distinct language around 1000 AD. The belief is supported by Damupal’s Inscription to be of the 10th century AD, not before that 13th century AD, based on the debate of the exact date of the inscription. The oldest inscriptions in Nepali were in the Devanagari script and issued by the Khasa kings of Karnali region who were living in Western Nepal since the first century. The Khasa Empire included Garhwal, Kumaon and parts of southwest Tibet.

Linguistic Periodisation

The linguistic periodisation of Nepali language is identified in three viz. Old Nepali dates from the beginning to 1498 AD, Medival Nepali dates from 1499 AD to 1874 AD and Modern Nepali dates from 1874 AD to the present.

Alternate Names

Nepali has been known by various appellations like Pahari, Pahadi, Gorkha bhaasa, Gorkhali, Gorkha, etc., it is widely spoken as a lingua franca in the Himalayan region.

Geographical Location

Nepali language is spoken in various parts of India, including Bhagsu-Dehradun, Assam and other northeastern states, major metropolises of India, and abroad.

The Generic Term ‘Nepali’

Nepali is a generic category, which subsumes a large number of speakers of the Tibeto-Burman and the Indo-Aryan languages, which have distinct religious, cultural and linguistic traits. The former consists of the Kirantis (the Indo-Mongoloids) and the Mongols (the Mongoloids). They professed different types of religion broadly and bluntly known as animism prior to professing other religions. The Kirantis comprise Limbu (Subba), Yakha (Dewan), Thami, and Khambu (Rai), etc. The various thar (septs) of Rai viz. Khaling, Chamling, Sampang, Thulung, Bantawa, Kulung, etc. have a kura of their own mutually unintelligible from each other. Hence, a Nepali proverb says, ‘Jati Rai, uti kura,’ i.e. ‘as many Rai speech as there are Rais.’ The Mongol includes Magar (Thapa), Tamu (Gurung), Newar (Pradhan), Murmi (Tamang), etc. Each is a composite of various septs with a common language including various castes such as Chhetri, Bahun, Sanyasi, Kami, Damai, Sarki, Sunar, etc. In the Nepali speech community, Limbu and Tamang belongs to the Scheduled Tribe, and Kami, Damai, Sarki and Sunar belong to the Scheduled Caste. Convergence, a distinctive process of language contact which is simultaneously a linguistic, historical and social movement with the Tibeto-Burman languages has shaped up the present day Nepali language like cultural convergence in shaping up the present day Nepali community.

Nepali Language Movement

The Nepali consciousness with its epicentre at Darjeeling, swelled in its vibrant expressions in fields of art, literature, music, theatre, politics, and in common every day life. To make their foothold strong in the Indian soil, the desired ethnicity as one of the Indian community got translated into a linguistic demand. The Nepali consciousness, cemtered around Darjeeling showcases its vibrant expression in the fields of art, literature, music, theatre, politics and in the daily common life. In the early part of the 20th century, a demand to make Nepali an educational medium at the primary level began and spread wide after the Griffith Commission (1930). The Griffith Commission found that the lingua franca of the geographical area around Darjeeling was Nepali as opposed to the assumed Hindi by the missionaries working in this area and so Nepali was made the medium of instructions in primary and middle schools, but in the high schools English was obligatory to cope with college education, it was so until 1947.

In the post independence era from (1956-1992), a national movement was initiated for the inclusion of Nepali language in the VIII Schedule of the Indian Constitution for the psycho-social security of the Nepalis in the Indian soil.

In 1975 when Sikkim became a part of India, and the leadership of the language movement went to the Chief Minister of Sikkim. In the early 90's, the then Chief Minister of Sikkim Shri Nar Bahadur Bhandari set up Bharatiya Nepali Rastriya Parisad, and took a conclusive step to get the Nepali language included in the Eighth schedule of Indian Constitution in 1992.

State : Andaman and Nicobar

Number of Speakera :861 Approx

The earliest speakers of Oriya in the Islands might have been the rebels who fought against the British during the First War of India’s Independence. Hattee Singh, son of Madho Singh, the Zamindar of Ghess was captured during the Barrle of Singhara Pass. His father was captured and executed. He was arrested in 1865 and transported to the Andamans. He died in the islands.

In 1868 at least 42 people including Prhalada Dandasena were convicted and transported for life for their role in the Keonjhar Rebellion.

Another prominent personality from Orissa to be transported to the islands in the early days was the Raja of Puri, not for taking part in the freedom struggle or opposing the British but for the heinous murder of the high priest of the temple of Jagannath Puri. Although it is erroneously reported that the Raja died in Andamans it is a well known fact that he returned to Puri after completing his sentence.

After Independence most of the Oriyas in the islands were government servants posted in the islands for various terms of service.

The Oriyas have founded an Utkal Samaj for keeping alive the cultural traditions of Orissa. They also take our and annual ‘Rath Yatra’ that coincides with that of Lord Jagannath of Puri. The head of the Utkal Samaj and its founder is Dr. R.N. Rath, a Professor in the local college.

The numerical strength of 841 according to 1991 census has increased to 861 according to 2001 census. Most of them are government servants, personnel of the armed forces and their families on temporary posting in the islands.

State : Punjab

Language Family: of New Indo-Aryan, which is related to the branch of Indo-European language family

Number of Speakers: 29,102,477

The total number of Punjabi speakers is nearly more than ninety million which makes it approximately the 10th most widely spoken language in the world. According to the 2008 Census of Pakistan, there are 76,335,300 native Punjabi speakers in Pakistan and according to the 2001 Census of India, there are 29,102,477 Punjabi speakers in India. A large number of its speakers are spread in different countries all over the world.

History and Classification

Punjabi has a long history of its study. According to Koul and Madhubala (1992) Albruni, Amir Khusro and Abul Fazal were first to classify the dialects or regional variations of Punjabi under different categories. Albruni (1030A.D) classified Indian languages into major and minor languages. Amir Khusro (1317) mentioned languages and their variations spoken in differfent parts of India. He referred to Punjabi as ‘Lahori’ Abul Fazal discussed historical written records of Punjabi language and literature under the title ‘Multani’.

A serious research work was commenced by european scholars. William John (1786) was the first scholar to collect some authentic information on Punjabi besides other languages. William Cary (1816) conducted a survey of Punjabi dialects and presented the brief content of Multani and Dogri. John Beams (1872-79) noted prominent regional variatons of Punjabi. Hoerble (1880) mentioned the norther and southern variations of Punjabi. Richard C Temple (1883) accepted four regional variations as Multani, Majhi, Lahnda, Pothohari and Pahari.

In his Linguistic Survey of India, Grierson divided Punjabi into two groups: Punjabi and Lahanda. He discussed different variations in the first group as Majhi, Doabi, Puadhi, Malwai, Rathi, Bhatiani, Dogri and Kangri. In the second group he presented sub-dialect of Lahanda as Multani, Dhann, Hinuko, Pothohari, Punchi, Pahari etc.

Main important regional varieties of Punjabi are Majhi, Multani, Malwai, Puadi, doabi, Hindko and Pothohari. No detailed descriptions of some of these so-called regional variations are avaialble. The Linguistic Atlas of the Punjab by H S Gill etal. (1972) covers wide areas of undivided Punjab. It is a graphic representation of a vast spectrum of speech variations found across regional variations of Punjabi. As a result of reorganisation of the Punjab State in 1966, geographical distribution has undergone change. Various socio-cultural and political factors have played a crucial role in it. Kangri and Bilaspuri are considered as regional variations of Pahari in Himachal Pradesh. Pothohari, Multani, Hindko spoken primarily in Pakistan are considered distinct languages. Punjabi as spoken in Pujab (in India) has four regional variations: Majhi, doabi, Puadhi and Malawi. Majhi, spoken in and around Amritsar, has emerged as standard form of Punjabi. This is dominantly used in literary forms, in education and in official domains.

Punjabi Dialects or Varieties of Punjabi:

The traditional classification of Proto-Punjabi includes a wide range of varieties of speech like Lehnda, Siraiki and Pothohari. They are quite distinct from Punjabi and are to be treated as different languages.

There are some significant variations of speech within Punjabi in Punjab called Majhi, Doabi, Malwai and Puadhi. Out of these regional variations in speech, Majhi is considererd a standard variety. It is used in education, administration and mass media. It is important to mention that Punjabi is a tonal language and others like Lehnda, Pothohari, Hindko and Multani are non-tonal languages. Some of these languages mostly spoken in Pakistan have voiced aspirated sounds and some of them have implosives too. They exhibit distinct grammatical features.

Regional variations of Punjabi:

  • Doabi Doaba literally means a land between two rivers. Doabi refers to the speech of the community residing between the rivers of Beas and Sutlej with four districts. These districts are Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (earlier known as Nawan Shahr). The total number of Doabi speakers are 47,85,425 according to the Census of 2001. The Doabi in its eastern part blends with the Malwai dialect of Ludhiana district, and with parts of Northern side, it shares some linguistic features of Pahari. Doabi contains certain linguistic features which separates it from the other varieties of Majhi and Malwai. Grierson, 1921; Gill and Gleason, 1967, Joshi, 1973, and Sangha, 1997 have taken Doabi as a separate dialect of Punjabi because it has certain (peculiar) phonological and lexical (relating to vocabulary) features that suffices to consider Doabi as a distinct dialect of Punjabi language.

  • Majhi
    Majhi is the standard dialect of Punjabi. It is spoken between the areas of India and Pakistan called majha ‘middle’. The term majha is derived from Sanskrit madhya which means ‘inside, centre or between’. This indicates the central place undivided Punjab. The area is marked by the river Ravi on the west and by the river Bias on the East, lower hills of Himalayan on the north, and the Ganjibar area on the south. Majhi dialect is surrounded by Lahanda in the west, Dogri in the north, Doabi in the northeast, and Malwai on the Southeast.

After the partition of India, the Majhi speech area was divided into two parts of Punjab. In Indian Punjab it is spoken in the districts of Amristar and some areas of Gurdaspur district. In Pakistani Punjab, it is spoken in Lahore district. In this entry, we will confine to the description of Majhi as spoken in Eastern Punjab.

Majhi is written in Gurumukhi script in Eastern Punjab and it is written in Shahmukhi (Persio-Arabic) in Western Punjab i.e., in Pakistan.

Even though the Majhi speech area of Punjabi has reduced in size after the partition in India, it is the standard dialect of Punjabi and is enriched by different genres of long literary tradition including folklore, idioms, proverbs and sayings. This variety of Punjabi is dominantly used in all the present-day literary compositions, be it prose or poetry. There are special types of folksongs related to some unique traditions prevalent in the Majhi area which are not followed in other parts of the Punjab.

  • Malwai
    Malwai is spoken in the Malwa region of Punjab covering the area of Districts Bathinda, Firozepur, Sangur and Ludhiana. Malwai is also spoken in the western part of district Patiala.ṭhe name Malwai is derived from Malwa which is said to be a old community in the Aryan period. Malwai dialect has 28 consonants and 10 vowels.

  • Puadhi Puadhi is spoken in the east end of Punjabi, particularly in the district of Ropar to the sides of river Sutlej. Puadhi is mostly spoken in area of Ropar district, the eastern part of Patiala district, the Malerkokla of Sangur district and some parts of Ludhiana, Ambala and Jind districts.

  • Folklore
    The material for Punjabi folk tradition can be obtained in any form: in poetic form, in the form of folk art, in the form of concrete objects, in the form of the rites and rituals. Celebrated as per some belief from birth to death and in the form of folk knowledge, folk religion, chants black magic etc. Its dissemination is in written form, through physical actions and symbols also. It has its dealings among the gypsies far from civilisation, tribals wandering in forests, semi literate rustics and among the natives reaching the pinnacle of civilisation. The material for Punjabi folk tradition is varied both in the context of content/subject and form.
    Categories of Punjabi folk Tradition

  1. Folk literature (lok sahit)
  2. Folk Art (lok kala)
  3. Rituals (anushthan)
  4. Faiths (lok visvas)
  5. Folk word construction/structure and folk language (lok boli)
  6. Folk occupations (lok dande)
  7. Folk entertainment (lok manoranjan)

Folk customs and rituals/ (riti rivaj)

Folk literature

Folk literature can be mainly divided into the following parts —

i. Folk Poems (lok kav)
ii. Open Poetic Form (khulle kav rup)
iii. Lament / Wail (Kirna)
iv. Lamentation (alauni)
v. Tappa - One line verse is called Tappa, sung while doing routine work in our daily life.
vi. Heraa - This is a pure Malwai poetic form.
vii. ihnsit : Songs sung as humour/joke are called Sithni. The meaning of sith is humour/wit/joke.
viii. chand paraga: It is a poetic form used to test the intelligence of the bridegroom.
ix. boli : A boli is sung with a set rhythm and dance by the women. There are three types of bolis : long, short and in two-verses.
x. Lullaby (lori): Lullabies are short verses full of mother’s love. They are sung by a mother in a melodious voice for her child.
xi. kikkli : It is a folk poetic form which is sung in childhood. Bound Poetic Forms ( kaav rupbajhven) - n this category come those folk poetic forms in which the process of recreation is slow and under some bound rules. Some of the popular bound poetic forms are:

  • Ghorian - Poetic form about Beauty and Wealth of Bride-Groom.
  • Suhag: This poetic form is recited by the family of bride/girl.

Folk Ballad (lok var): Ballad is such a martial spirit laced poetic form in which war is described. Both parties praise of the courage of their brave people. The ballad of Tunde Asraje, Ballad of Hasne Mahinil, ballad of Musa are example of this kind.
Twelve Months ( mahbara): This is the poetic form about the names of twelve months. Satwara is related to seven days and Athwara to eight days.
Folktales - Folktales are spoken/verbal literature and travels from generation to generation. These stories are not merely for entertainment but also for education. Folktales and legends becomes a matter of discussion or gossip among people. These begin with facts but later elements of myth creep in them.

Fables (dand kathaa): These are moral stories where the plans and moral teachings of behaviour in human life is told in the form of narratives.

Fairy Tales (pari kathava): The narratives related to fairies, nymphs, demons and jinies are called fairy tales. Children listen to them with interest. These stories take us on a tour of supernatural world.

Riddle stories (bujharta): The folk stories in which the problem has been told through riddles, puzzles or questions is called riddle stories. Alif Laila, one thousand nights and singhasan batisi are these kinds of stories.

Folktales/Legends (lok gathava): They describe famous events or characters. These stories are sung. Usually, folktales are centred around real historical characters.

Love stories (prit kathava): Punjabi has a large number of love stories such as Heer Ranjha, Sohni Mahiwal, Mirza Sahiba, Sassai Punnu.
Tales of bravery (bir gatha). There are quite a few tales of bravely. Some prominent tales are of Jagga Daku, Jeona Mod, Dulla Bhatti, etc.

Mythological tales (mithatmak gatha): These tales revolve around some myths. Gugga Pir is one such mythological tale in Punjabi.

Puzzles (bujarta): Puzzles provide verbal expression of human mind. They contain some questions, puzzles or riddles. The whole truth is inside this knot. They sharpen our intelligence and also become means of an entertainment.

Proverbs (aakhan): Proverbs contain the expressions of truth based on the experience of wise men. These are witty remarks which includes bitter truths of life

Sayings (muhavare): A saying presents the truth and rich experience of the speech community.

Folk Wisdom (palok sian): Expressions of folk wisdom present rich life experience.

Folk art (lok kala): Since folk art emerges out of the needs of life, so it is one with Punjabi life style and culture. It is a natural expression of the unending desires, feelings and experiences of common man. These forms are passed from one generation to another. Folk arts are divided into following two parts: verbal arts and non-verbal arts.

Verbal arts may include folk dances, folk theatre and folk instruments. Non-verbal arts includes embroidery, handicrafts, sculpture and folk paintings. Punjabi is very rich in the expression of folk art.

Ceremonies (anustan): Traditionally, ceremonies are a collection of prevalent rituals, traditions, methods of worship, rites etc. with which the feelings of the masses are involved. The material for ceremonies is divided into Rites (sanskar), methods of worship (puja vidia), rituals (dkarmka), fasts (vrat), manner of dressing (ves busa) .

Folk beliefs (lok visvas): Punjabi folk literature presents all the folk beliefs and traditions of the community. The treatment of this subject is comprehensive. It is related to every stage, every part and period of life. The roots of folk beliefs are so deep and they are related to gods and goddesses, people, animals, birds, nature, dates, directions, days and numbers etc. Folk beliefs are related to events of life, supernatural or divine powers, superstitions, black magic, amulets, auspicious and inauspicious things, chants etc.

Folk language (lok boli): Foll language represents the expression or communication of man’s inner emotions. The long historical experience of people has become part of its collective consciousness and are expressed through proverbs and sayings, riddles, nicknames, jokes, and local wit.

Folk professions (lok dande): Folk professions are the lifeline of any nation. The progress shape and structure of society depends on its flourishing professions or occupations. The professions of goldsmith, blacksmith, carpenter, dyer, weaver, tailor, boatman, embroider etc are described in various forms of folk art, folksongs, folktales and sayings. The professions run from generations to generations. Folk professions are big source of income. For example, the significance of the hard earned money of sculptors is clearly mentioned in the following saying:
hatth da hatthiar pet da adar
An implement in hand is food for stomach.

Folk entertainment (lok manoranjan): Folk entertainment includes folk games, folk theatre, fights of dogs, bulls and cocks and other pastimes.
Folk games include a host of items such as wrestling, kabaddi, khido khundi, bandar kila, hide and seek, tug of war etc. are played for entertainment. People are also entertained with the physical feats of acrobats, puppetry, bhands and madaris,etc.

In short, Punjabi folklore represents an exhaustive description of old traditions, heritage, rites, rituals, folk professions, folk art, entertainment etc. It represents the experience, wit, and wisdom of people in proverbs, sayings and puzzles. Its scope is so vast that there is hardly any aspect of life which remains untouched or ignored in it.

State : Jammu & Kashmir

Kashmiri language has its origin in Vedic Sanskrit and it is apparent that before this language became popular Sanskrit was spoken and used in this part of the country, Kashmir. In any case Kashmiri has never been a court language or an official language. After Sanskrit that position was given to Persian and Urdu, in that order. It goes without saying that Sanskrit language has been richly contributed to by the scholars of Kashmir. The unfortunate part is that many works are now extinct and it is reported that the translation of many Sanskrit works of Kashmirian scholars is available in Tibet, China and other countries. There were scores of such books lying in manuscript form in the old museum in Lal Mandi, Srinagar (later shifted to the Kashmir University), in Ranbir Singh Library at Jammu and in the homes of people whose forefathers had preserved them. Most of these manuscripts are written in Sharada script and because this script has been abandoned, the importance of these books has been lost. There is no evidence that any of the Veda Mantras were perceived by any sage from Kashmir but this land had preserved the Kathak Samhita of Yajur Veda. The Paippalada branch of recension of Atharva Veda was in vogue here. Even to date the marriage songs are sung in the tradition of Samveda, ‘Villambit’ by Hindus and ‘dhrut’ by the Muslims. There has been a Vedanta scholar by the name Kashava, not of very high repute, who has written Vedanta Kaustuba wherein he has supported the doctrine of Nimbaraka known as ‘dvaitaadvaita’. While in the rest of the country the treatise of sage Katyana was followed, the Hindus living in Kashmir adopted the treatise formulated by the local sage Logaksha. His version of ‘GrihiSutra’ and ‘Kalpa Sutra’ are still followed in the Sanskaras of the Hindus in this part of the country.

State : Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa and Assam. Across border – Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh

Region Spoken In: Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa and Assam. Across border – Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh

State - Maharashtra

Area spoken in - Spoken all over Gujarat and speakers in almost every part of Maharashtra. Most concentration in: Ullhasnagar, Mumbai, Nagpur, Kohlapur, Pune (Maharashtra).

Region Spoken In: Spoken all over Gujarat and speakers in almost every part of Maharashtra. Most concentration in: Ullhasnagar, Mumbai, Nagpur, Kohlapur, Pune (Maharashtra).

Script: Sindhi is written in two scripts, Arabic and Devanagari

Sindh today a part of Pakistan, was the seat of the ancient Indus Valley civilisation during the 3rd century as evinced from the excavations of Mohenjo-Daro . The river Sindhu (Indus) runs through almost the middle of this entire province and is worshipped and much loved by Sindhis. . The Sindhi language has evolved in the land of Sindh over centuries.Although the Sindhi language has its origin from Sanskrit, it is considerably different from the original language. Sindhi is an Indo-Aryan language with a Prakrit tradition. It is closer to old Prakrit compared to languages like Marathi, Hindi, Punjabi and Bangla and has preserved old forms, dhvanI (pronunciation) and specialties of grammar of these languages more than any other Indian language. It shares much with Pali and ArdhaMagadhI, but is especially close to BrAcada ApabhramSa. Noted scholar of the Sindhi language Ernest Trump (1872) writes, ‘‘The Sindhi is a pure Sanskritical language, more free from foreign elements than any other of North Indian vernaculars …It is more closely related to the Old Prakrit than the Marathi, Hindi, Panjabi and Bengali and it has preserved an exuberance of grammatical forms , for which all its sisters may well envy it.’ (p. 1, as quoted in Cardona and Jain 2007, pp 626–27). Grierson (1919) also says ‘Sindhi is an ancient language. It is directly derived from BrAcaDa branch of Prakrit.’

According to John Beames (1872), ‘Sindhi has restored specialties of dhvanI (pronunciation) and grammar. Language in the Sindh valley was free from control since the times of Prakrit. Followers who were particular about rules, labelled Sindhi as Apabhransh or corrupt language out of contempt’. Siraj-ul-Haque (1964) has written, ‘History of Sindhi is older than Sanskrit. In a sense, Sanskrit and allied culture is derived from Sindhi and allied culture. There is a relation between Sanskrit and Sindhi. But this relation is not like the one popularly believed. In fact, this relation is of reverse nature. Although Sindhi has borrowed some words from Sanskrit, Sanskrit is hugely indebted to Sindhi. Although Sanskrit is not born out of Sindhi directly, Sindhi is an indirect origin of Sanskrit.’ ul-Haque also says, ‘Sindhi, as we witness, is a developed form of an ancient language… which language is also Sindhi. Origin of Sindhi is not Sanskrit but origin of both the languages was one and the same. Perhaps Sindhi was born before Sanskrit. Hence, instead of Sanskrit affecting Sindhi, Sindhi has affected Sanskrit.’ Hence, common characteristics are found in these two languages and there are similarities in Sanskrit and Sindhi as they have originated from the same language. He has provided evidence to support this argument through stamps found in the excavations at Mohenjo-daro and Harappa.

Sindhi does not have a separate state, but it is included in the eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution. Hence, it is one of the twenty-two languages recognised by the Indian Constitution.

State : Andaman & Nikobar

Area Spoken In : Andaman & Nikobar

Region Spoken In: Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is described as “India in miniature” mainly because of its linguistic diversity. Language is central to human society and vital for interpersonal relations. It is the basis of civilization. It establishes a rapport between the members of a physical group and it is a uniquely powerful instrument both as a unifying force or as a divisive one.

Multilingualism is the striking feature of this island society. Of all the symbols of group identity, language has been the predominant one in the peculiar multiethnic and migrant setting of these islands.

The aboriginal tribes of this territory constitute not even one tenth of the total population. Among them the Nicobarese alone, numbering about 29000, are the most numerous and modernized, whereas all other tribes (The Great Andamanese, The Onges, The Jarawas, The Sentinelese and The Shompens) are each insignificant in number and therefore inconsequential in the socio-economic and political processes of A&N Islands.

State : TamilNadu

Area Spoken In : Tamilnadu

Number of Speakers: 4,84,26,818

Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Puducherry. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and Tamil is the first legally recognized classical language of India. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore. Tamil is also spoken by significant minorities in Malaysia and Mauritius as well as emigrant communities around the world. In Malaysia, 543 primary education government schools are available fully in Tamil medium.

Tamil literature has existed for over two thousand years (Zvelebil 1992: 12). The earliest epigraphic records found on rock edicts and hero stones date from around the 3rd century BCE (Mahadevan 2003). The earliest period of Tamil literature, Sangam literature, is dated from the 300 BCE - 300 CE (Abraham 2003: 207-223). Tamil language inscriptions written c. 1st century BCE and 2nd century CE have been discovered in Egypt, Sri Lanka and Thailand ( The two earliest manuscripts from India, to be acknowledged and registered by UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997 and 2005 were in Tamil (Staff reporter, 2005). More than 55% of the epigraphical inscriptions (about 55,000) found by the Archaeological Survey of India are in the Tamil language (India 2001). It has the oldest extant literature amongst other Dravidian languages (Zvelebil 1992). The variety and quality of classical Tamil literature have led it to being described as "one of the great classical traditions and literatures of the world" (Burton Stein 1977).

State : Andaman and Nicobar

Area Spoken in : Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Region Spoken In : Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Telugus have been part of the migratory streams of various ethnic Indians within and beyond land and maritime boundaries of India according to Sudarsen (1994:177). The pattern of emigration in the pre-colonial period was religious and trade to West Asia, South East Asia and African. In the colonial period, the pattern of emigration was indenture laborer to Mauritius, South Africa and Fiji, Kangani2 to Malaya and Ceylon and maistry works in Burma. In the Post-Independence era saw Professional, Labour and Family Reunion to USA, UK, Europe, Australia, West Asia and Gulf was the pattern of Telugu migration. Telugu labor migration to Burma and Malaya in the late nineteenth century was an important dimension of British colonial rule in Southeast Asia and coincided with the region's greater integration into the British imperialism. Whatsoever the reason for the Andaman Islands colonization by British the first and foremost was to transportation of convicts in the post-mutiny of 1857 and for economic exploitation of the untapped, abundant forest resources. These economic activities had to be supported by infrastructures of road and transport. In combination, these activities required a large labour force, which was not available locally. Throughout the 19th century, cheap, unskilled labour from South India (primarily laborers) recruited in large numbers through assisted emigration known as Kangani. Records are also supports our claim that Telugu population was existing prior to independence of India in these islands. In fact, Brichgunj was the first such Telugu settlement wherein a good number of them were settled under the colonization scheme and offered government jobs after their imprisonments and gave land holdings as a self-supporters and free settlers. Later some of their relatives arrived in the midst and scattered around the islands. It is needless to say that Telugu were one among who shaped islands with their hard work and social responsibility. In 1947 then the Chief Forest Officer of Andaman Islands decided to send Mr. Veeraswamy along with S.K. Najju to recruit 200 Telugu labourers to consolidate the labour requirement of forest department. Indeed large number of labourers were returned to their homes after completing the term of service due to unsuitability, holdings, commitments and hard conditions for

In addition to this, there was voluntary free labourers who, like emigrants everywhere, left their home land for a variety of reasons — economic, political and social — in search of a better life. Among these were the better educated and those with professional skills. Altogether, the Telugu was perhaps the most satisfactory type of laborer, for in addition to being a British subject, accustomed to British rule, they were good workers, not too ambitious, easily manageable and they were most amenable to the comparatively lowly paid. Indeed they well behaved, docile and had neither the education nor the enterprise to rise, as the others often did above the level of manual labour. These characteristics of the Telugus made him all the more indispensable as labourers in Andaman Islands.

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State : Andhra Pradesh

Area Spoken In : Major Parts of Andhra Pradesh

Number of Speakers: Approx 63900253

Introduction Telugu is the native as well as the official language of Andhra Pradesh state in South India. It is spoken by a majority of population in Andhra Pradesh state which was formed in the year 1956. Hyderabad is the capital of Andhra Pradesh state (hereafter A.P.). Though Telugu is the main language of the state, there are many other language speakers who have been living here for ages, and speak different major and minor languages, hence it is a multi-lingual and multi-cultural system where English and Urdu are also largely spoken. They are also used in official matters like, for example, English for educational, national and international purposes and Urdu mostly by the Muslim community as well as people living in old places of the capital city and in other places wherever the speakers are inhabited.

Telugu is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is recognized as “Classical Language” by the Government of India in 2008. It is the second largest spoken language as per the population records. However, after the formation of states by the Indian Government, many Telugu speakers who have been living in the border areas of A.P. were merged into the other nearby states, and thus became minority speakers in those states, like those in Hosur became part of Karnataka state, those of Brahmapuram (Berhampur) became part of Odisha, and those Telugus who have been living in the present Tamilnadu state have to take up Tamil as their main language. This is not only true of Telugus but it is true of many who have been living in other states for generations historically.

In pre-independent India, most of the southern regions were under the rule of Muslims, for 400 years; the last rulers being the Nizams with Hyderabad as their Capital. Hence Andhra Pradesh state was formed very late after India’s independence, in the year 1956.

State : Jammu & Kashmir

Introduction The linguistic inventory of Kashmir valley comprises the languages and dialects pertaining to distinct language families i.e., Indo-Aryan, Dardic and Tibeto-Burman. Thus, the languages like Punjabi, Ladakhi, Shina, Pahari, Kashmiri, Pashtu and Tibetean etc. shape and enrich the linguistic compositeness of Kashmir Valley. The speakers of these diverse and mutually unintelligible languages are only in part territorially separate. A large number of speakers of these ethnic and linguistic diversity live together in such a way that they have no option but to exchange services and interact regularly with each other. Urdu language bridges the communication barrier across these diverse linguistic communities to a large proportion.

Entry of Urdu in Kashmir: Postulations The nineteenth century marks the dawn of the Urdu language in the Kashmir valley. According to historical accounts, the Dogra regime ruled the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State from the mid of 19th century until the end of the British rule in subcontinent. It was during the Dogra rule when Urdu found its place in the linguistic inventory of Kashmir Valley. Urdu language has, within the period of one and a half century, rapidly spread into most of the societal affairs of the people of the Kashmir valley. Entry of Urdu tremendously revolutionized the social, psychological, linguistic and literary trends of the people. Hence, Urdu intervened in most of the domains like media, education, literary traditions, courts and markets, and some of the aspects of daily communication. The legitimacy for the spread of Urdu in Kashmir has been the result of variety of factors while as the mention of the few is below:

  1. The political changes that took place in the mid of the 19th century in some of the neighbouring regions of Jammu and Kashmir state had strong linguistic repercussions in the valley besides political one. The harmonious political and diplomatic relations of Dogra regime and Britishers, the extension of British imperialism to Punjab in 1858 C. E. and diplomatic alliances of Dogra autocrats with Punjab and Lahore court converged these powers close to each other. Urdu language had remained embedded with these political alliances as Britishers were friendly towards Urdu and Urdu domination was apparent in Punjab and Lahore.

  2. Economic factors can also bring people speaking different languages together. This factor has considerable implications for boasting Urdu in Kashmir. The increase of trade links between Kashmir and other parts of the subcontinent resulted into an indispensable need for Kashmiri speakers to have good access with Urdu language. Similar factor associated with trade has been the inflow of tourists to the valley. Urdu helped to solve the communication barrier between Kashmiri speakers with the speakers of other unknown languages who visit Kashmir as tourists.

  3. The social change to lead towards urbanization has taken place in most of the regions of the sub-continent during the last few decades. Kashmir Valley has not escaped from this social trend. Urbanization has facilitated the exposure of Kashmiri people to the 394 modern world. Language resource is the tool of paramount importance to organize, promote and sustain the process of social change towards urbanization. Urdu seems to be the vital language resource for Kashmiri people to assimilate the urbanization process.

  4. During the Dogra regime, the geopolitical map of Jammu and Kashmir State include the regions like Jammu, Kashmir, Baltistan, Giligit, Ladakh as well as Muzafarabad, Mirpur, etc. Diverse ethno-linguistic communities had inhabited this region. While looking at the linguistic landscape of the territory one is struck by its compositeness. The speakers of Balti, Shina, Ladakhi, Kohistani, Burushaski, Dogri, Pahari, Pashto, Punjabi, Kashmiri (just to mention a few) exchange services, coexist and interact with each other. In the context of the ethno-linguistic diversity of this nature in the region, the unity was necessary to maintain order and prevent conflict. As Hamers and Blanc notes, “political events may divide people speaking the same language or bring together people speaking the different languages.” (2003:274). Language undoubtly is a cohesive force to cultivate unity in diversity and Urdu functioned here as a primary linguistic tool to suffice this need of bringing the people of ethno linguistic diversity close to each other.

  5. Jammu and Kashmir had remained bi-capital state since the Dogra rulers. Jammu province is the winter capital and Srinagar, the summer capital of the state. Thus, the whole administration houses the offices for half of the year in Jammu and next half in Srinagar. This makes the periodical migration of the people who work in the administration between Jammu and Srinagar. Simultaneously, people hailing from Srinagar had the need to move to Jammu during the winter break to resolve administrative problems and subsequently, people hailing from Jammu had to move to Srinagar for the same purpose. This situation had obvious linguistic implications. Urdu seems to facilitate communication in this condition.

  6. Demographically, majority of the population in Jammu and Kashmir State belong to Islamic faith. Thus binding the people of same faith across these regions by a common language Urdu had been the necessity.

State : Andaman and Nicobar

Area Spoken In : Andaman and Nicobar Island

Number of Speakers: Approx 1615

Introduction In the early days of the Penal settlement Urdu was the link language between the convicts, warders and prison officials since 1858. It was compulsory for British and Eurasian officers to learn ‘Hindustani’ and pass examinations for promotion.

Origin of Urdu in A&N Islands
Majority of the early convicts were sepoy mutineers whose camp language was Urdu. Among the later convicts also many were from Delhi, United Provinces, the Deccan-including the Nizam’s dominions and the North West Frontier Provinces. Although many went back after serving their sentence some stayed back and laid the foundation of the ‘Local Born Community’. Urdu became the language of communication in Port Blair and was also taught in the early schools established by the Prison Administration. Most of the senior citizens living today have had their education in Urdu.

Population According to the 2001 Census the numerical strength is 1615.

Urdu in Education
Prior to Independence all schools in Port Blair taught Urdu as a compulsory subject. At present it is an optional subject taught in some select schools and minority institutions.

Urdu Literature
Among the popular books written during the penal era was Tarikh e Ajeeb by Maulana Jafar Thanesri, an account of his transportation to the Islands. He was sent up in the Ambala Trials of the Wahabis. It is a firsthand account of the life in the penal settlement during the latter half of the 19th century. It also gives an insight into the relationship between the convicts and the prison officials. Thanesri was also commissioned to write a hand book of the Andaman Islands for use by officials.

Munir Shikohabadi, well known poet was transported to the Islands in the aftermath of the First War of Indian Independence 1857. The Nawab of Rampur, Yusuf Ali Khan who remained loyal to the British aided Shikohabadi in securing his release by petitioning his release to the British.

Present status
Most of the elderly citizens of Port Blair read and write Urdu. They claim it as their mother tongue. Some are well known poets with small published collections. One of the most well-known poets was the late Shri Govind Raju, whose collection of poems ‘Khara Paani’ was published just before his death in 2010. He was also a member of the Sahitya Akademi. At present an association Known as Dayrae’ Urdu Adab is functioning in Port Blair. Dormant for a long time it has now started its activities again by conducting ‘Mushairas’.

Future of Urdu
Hindi has replace Urdu as the link language in the Islands. Urdu is slowly being forgotten by the younger generations. Although it exists as a form of speech the written form is not popular anymore.