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National Languages of India
April 27 2024

India has a diverse list of spoken languages among different groups of people. At least 800 different languages and around 2000 dialects have been identified. The Constitution of India has stipulated the usage of Hindi and English to be the two official languages of communication for the national government. Additionally, it contains a list of 22 official languages (including Hindi and English).

 These languages are entitled to representation on the Official Language Commission, and a candidate in an examination conducted for national government service may opt to take the exam in any of these languages. Questions pertaining to these national languages are commonly seen in the GK section of MBA exams as well. So let’s have a look at the famous dance forms in the various states of India.


Official Languages

Two languages are the languages used by the central administration:

  1. Hindi is the language used by the Central Government when communicating with the states of the Hindi Belt
  2. English is the Associate official language and the language to be used while communicating with the states.


   Check Out: GK Questions and Answers - How to Read GK for Competitive exam?

Hindi Language Facts

  • Hindi is spoken by about 40 per cent of the Indian population.
  • Hindi is also the official language of the Union Territory of Delhi.
  • It is a phonetic language, spelt as it sounds, making it easier to learn than other languages like English.
  • Hindi is derived from the ancient Sanskrit language.

Recognized Indian Languages

A total of 22 languages are recognized by the Constitution of India:

Sr. No Language Recognition in state
1 Assamese Assam, Arunachal Pradesh
2 Bengali West Bengal, Tripura
3 Bodo Assam
4 Dogri The official language of Jammu and Kashmir
5 Gujarati Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Gujarat
6 Hindi Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bihar, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal
7 Kannada Karnataka
  Kashmiri Jammu and Kashmir
9 Konkani Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala (The Konkan Coast)
10 Maithili Bihar, Jharkhand
11 Malayalam Kerala, Lakshadweep, Puducherry
12 Manipuri Manipur
13 Marathi Maharashtra, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu
14 Nepali Sikkim and West Bengal
15 Odia The official language of Odisha
16 Punjabi While Punjabi is the official language of Punjab and Chandigarh, it doesn't have official status in Haryana (Hindi is the official language there).
17 Sanskrit Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand
18 Santali Spoken by Santhal people mainly in the state of Jharkhand as well as in the states of Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Odisha, Tripura, West Bengal
19 Sindhi Gujarat and Maharashtra, especially Ulhasnagar
20 Tamil Tamil Nadu, Puducherry
21 Telugu Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Puducherry
22 Urdu Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, Jharkhand, Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal

Other Important National Languages

These languages are state official languages but are not yet recognized as national languages:

  1. Kokborok - official language of Tripura
  2. Mizo - official language of Mizoram
  3. Khasi - official language of Meghalaya
  4. Garo - official language of Meghalaya


Other popular languages in India

These languages have over 5 million speakers but no official status. Many are often considered sub-varieties of Hindi.

Bihari languages

These three Bihari languages also have over 5 million speakers but no official status. They were once mistakenly thought to be dialects of Hindi, but have been more recently shown to be part of the Eastern Group of Indic languages, along with Bengali, Assamese, and Oriya.

  1. Angika — the language of Bihar, Spoken largely in the Northern and Southern parts of Bihar, a Major part of Jharkhand and Maldah districts of West Bengal
  2. Bhojpuri — the language of Bihar
  3. Magadhi — the language of southern Bihar

Rajasthani languages

Rajasthani dialect is spoken in the state of Rajasthan by more than fifty million people, the dialect changes from district to district but people could communicate with each other even if they are from different districts and have different dialects. The main varieties are as such.

  1. Marwari: The language of Marwar, primarily spoken in western Rajasthan, including Jodhpur and Bikaner.
  2. Mewari: The language of Mewar, spoken in the southeastern part of Rajasthan, encompassing Udaipur and Chittorgarh.
  3. Shekhawati: The language of Shekhawati, spoken in the northeastern part of Rajasthan, including Sikar, Churu, and Jhunjhunu.

Other languages

  1. Bhili: Spoken by the Bhil tribes, primarily in western and central India.
  2. Gondi: Spoken by the Gond tribes, concentrated in central India.
  3. Kodava: Spoken by the Kodava people in the Kodagu district of Karnataka.
  4. Kutchi: Spoken in the Kutch region of Gujarat.
  5. Tulu: Spoken by the Tulu people on the western coast of Karnataka and parts of Kerala.
  6. Sankethi: Spoken by the Sankethi people in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.

The Constitution of India lists 18 regional languages.

Minority languages of India

These languages have fewer than one million speakers:

  1. Mahl — the language of Minicoy, spoken on the island of Minicoy.
  • Number of Minority Languages: India is a land of incredible linguistic diversity. Estimates suggest hundreds of languages spoken by fewer than a million people.
  • Official Recognition: The Indian Constitution recognizes 22 scheduled languages. However, many minority languages lack official recognition, making them more vulnerable.
  • Importance of Minority Languages: Minority languages are an essential part of India's cultural heritage. They represent unique traditions and perspectives. Preserving and promoting these languages is crucial for maintaining cultural richness.

Keep learning! 

Also read: List of Brands and their Taglines

Anisha Mukhija

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