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Endangered languages in India. Image Source: LokSabha
  • India has the distinction of accommodating 800 languages and dialects across the country
  • The UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation found that 197 languages in India are endangered while 42 languages are critically endangered
  • Prof. K. Shrikumar of Lucknow University has taken the initiative to prepare a documentary on Jad language of Uttarakhand

Language forms an integral part of one’s culture. India has the distinction of accommodating 800 languages and dialects across the country, according to a research conducted by Bhasha Research Centre. Bhasha Research Centre is an NGO founded under the leadership of Dr G.N. Devy, winner of Sahitya Academy Award.

Dr S Radhakrishnan. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The report of the survey was published on 5th September on the 125th Birth Anniversary of Dr S. Radhakrishnan. The report consists of 35000 pages and was published in 5 volumes. The survey began in 2010 and lasted for 4 years. The research was done by many known historians and research scholars.

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The report suggested that around 300 languages have been extinct till now. And 150 more languages will extinct in the coming half century. A linguistic scholar George Grierson founded that there were 364 languages between 1894 to 1928.

The UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation is also counting the same, in which they found that 197 languages in India are endangered while 42 languages came under the category of critically endangered. Nihali, a language from pre-Aryan and pre- Munda reign, was also included in the list.

UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Image Source:

The research found that the main cause of the extinction is that the speaking community has died and children are not interested to learn their mother-tongue and therefore are not able to carry it.

Researchers believe that languages are the product of a culture which helps them to trace the culture of a country and the country who has suffered the extinction of language has witnessed the extinction of the primitive culture.

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Another language which is spoken on the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh border by around 2500 villagers is on the verge of extinction. The reason is that they are migrating to other cities in search of work.

Tribals of Chattisgarh. Image Source:

Prof. K. Shrikumar of Lucknow University has taken the initiative to prepare a documentary on Jad language of Uttarakhand with less than 2000 speakers. Similarly, Professor Anvita Abbi has taken the initiative to record the oral tribal languages in Chattisgarh (Todi) and Tamil Nadu.

-prepared by Aparna Gupta, an intern with NewsGram. Twitter @writetoaparna99



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