Five reasons why Indian languages are getting neglected


There is a growing concern that Indians are gradually getting uprooted from their bases leading to the extinction of a rich varied culture.

There are obvious reasons behind the increasing concern.

The advent of technology, inclination to ape foreign culture and cultural invasion of the West is gradually corroding the base of our culture. And regrettably, none of the governments took any serious measures to address this grave concern.

Never did any politician promise, in his election manifesto, that they would reinvigorate the lost glory of our languages and cultures.

Here are a few reasons why several Indian languages are staring at a bleak future.

Lack of government initiatives: After George Abraham Grierson conducted his survey on Indian languages between 1894 and 1928, it was the People’s Linguistic Survey of India which took up the uphill task of carrying out a comprehensive survey on Indian languages. Reportedly, it was the first survey in as many as 80 years. And what came out in the survey was appalling.

The body counted the staggering presence of 780 languages across India. Furthermore, the survey indicated that there might be over 100 more languages hidden in the nooks and corners of our vast country.

Lack of survey in over 80 years attributed greatly to the decay of Indian languages and the state it is in today.

Migration in search of livelihood: Many Indian settlements were set up near rivers and coastal areas and people indulged in various occupations including farming, fishing and others. With the influx of modern technologies, work became easier but people lost their livelihood. As a result, people started to migrate to other places. As the situation demanded they adapted to the new cultures and spoke new languages abandoning their mother tongues.

The Criminal Tribes Act: Criminal Tribes Act is gruesome act that brands a person as a criminal by virtue of his birth in a certain community. The legacy of the nomads continued to haunt the 313 nomadic tribes who lived in India. Economically crippled and hounded by government forces, the members of the tribes were forced to alienate themselves and forge a completely new identity. Lost were their cultures and their languages.

Reportedly over 60 million people belong to theses so-called nomadic tribes.

Notably, this Act was first enacted in 1871 as the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871. 

Lack of usage: Survival of any language depends on the fact that it is spoken regularly. English medium schools make it mandatory to speak in English forcing the students to abandon their mother tongue. In the process, local languages get neglected.

Influence of media: English media channels have created a niche for themselves. They claim to be the most authentic and propagate that watching them ‘enhances’ social status. Consequently, more and more people opt for English channels and regional language channels get overshadowed.  

In the words of Sankrant Sanu, India needs a proper language policy and a “Bhasa Andolan” to address the issue and restore the lost glory of the Indian languages.