Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Home India Is Hindi The National Language of India?

Is Hindi The National Language of India?

In a country like India where more than 1600 languages persist, is it possible to have one national language without moving towards chaos?


  • 1600 languages and dialects are spoken in India, out of which, none is the ‘national language’
  • Hindi and English, as mentioned in Article 343 of the Indian constitution, are official languages of India
  • 22 languages are mentioned in the eighth schedule of the Indian constitution, all of which can be considered as national languages or official languages

India, the seventh-largest and second-most populous country in the world, home to 1.3 billion people who speak 1600 languages, is widely known for its cultural diversity. The world’s largest democracy consists of 29 states, which were divided on the basis of language. Hindi, a language spoken by 41% and known to 53% of the population, is misconceived to be the ‘national language’ of India. The Indian constitution does not mention any ‘national language’. However Hindi (along with English) is the official language of India.

Article 343(1) of the Indian constitution says: 

“(1) The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals.”

Thus, Hindi is NOT is the national language, but the official language of India.

ALSO READ: How angry “Hindi” voters turned the tables against Congress in 1977 elections

Difference between ‘National language’ and ‘Official language’

An official language is one used for official/governmental purposes. It has a legal standing and is used in the judiciary, central legislature, and executive documents. Official languages have more to do with day-to-day work.

Whereas, a national language is a national symbol. It has a common representation of the people living in the geographical territory of the country. A national language has sentimental values connected with it, as it reflects a ‘common individuality’ (in linguistic terms) from the world.

The Indian national flag, national emblem, national anthem, national animal, national bird, or the national language, all of them are national symbols which unite us as the countrymen of India. Wikimedia Commons
The Indian national flag, national emblem, national anthem, national animal, the national bird, or national language, all of them are national symbols which unite us as the countrymen of India. Wikimedia Commons

Why India has no national language?

A national language is supposed to unite the citizens of the country under one umbrella. Other than the percentage of users, what matters more is the spread of the language i.e. if it is to unite a country as a national symbol, a language needs to have users spread in all parts of the country. As in the case of India, we have no such language.

ALSO READ: How Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism Influence Early Tamil History?

A national language needs to widespread, not only widely spoken. India has no such language. Facebook
A national language needs to be widespread, not only widely spoken. India has no such language. Facebook

As you can see on the map, Hindi maybe widely spoken, but it is not widespread. Hindi (and its variants) is spoken in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi (the capital), Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan. Whereas, the eastern and southern states have no trace of it. Hindi, may be known in various other parts, does not command any sentimental value in other states.

Moreover, languages other than Hindi have a significant amount of speakers. For example,

  • No. of Bengali speakers: 83,369,769
  • No. of Telugu speakers: 74,002,856 
  • No. of Marathi speakers: 71,936,894 
  • No. of Tamil speakers: 60,793,814 
  • No. of Kannada speakers: 37,924,011 
  • No. of Gujarati speakers: 46,091,617 
  • No. of Odiya speakers: 33,017,446 
  • No. of Malayalam speakers: 33,066,392 

Hence, there cannot be one national language in India. Therefore, the Constitution of India in its eighth schedule mentions 22 languages; all of which can be referred to as national languages or official languages.



Most Popular

About 80% Home-Based Beedi Workers Live in Rural Areas: Study

By Puja Gupta While about 96 per cent (42,76,124) of the total beedi workers (44,60,076) are home-based, only four per cent (1,83,952) work in factories,...

The Impacts To Online Marketing After COVID

The covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the majority of our lives so far in 2020. But as the world of retail...

Only 3% Indians Realize the Importance of Adequate Protein Diet

Although 95 percent of Indian mothers claim to know protein as a macro-nutrient, only three percent of the population really understands the prominent functions...

Here’s Why Pregnant Women Should be Beware of UTIs

Although the monsoon brings respite from summer's scorching heat, it also invites a plethora of allergies and infections. Pregnant women should be cautious because...

International Mandela Day: Following Madiba’s Footsteps

While the mention of South Africa immediately brings alive the imagery of safaris, glamping, bungee jumping, diverse food, and warm people, its rich and...

The 5 Undeniable Reasons for Purchasing HGH

Are you tired of the endless disappointment that comes with trying numerous diet pills and diet programs? Don't worry, and you aren't alone. Most...

This Facebook Robot Walks On Power Lines To Install Fiber-Optic Cable

Facebook has developed an aerial fiber deployment solution that uses a robot to safely deploy a specialized fiber-optic cable on medium-voltage (MV) power lines...

In Conversation With Dr. Chandra Shekhar Mayanil on Yog, Dhyan and Hinduism

Dr. Chandra Shekhar Mayanil is a Neuroscientist who is currently living in Naperville, Illinois. He has a very profound knowledge about yog, dhyan and...

Recent Comments