Does India have any national language?

13 Sep 2022  Read 3248 Views

India is a diverse land composed of individuals from different communities, backgrounds, religions, etc. What we eat and how we speak varies from region to region. We Indians often seek symbols and objects that unite us in this diversity. The national anthem, the national animal, and the national flower are relevant examples. It is famously said that the language changes every few kilometres in India, like water. Thus, unlike other national symbols, choosing a "national language" for India was challenging and witnessed violence and heated debate. 

Remember that there is no national language in India. However, Article 343(1) of the Indian constitution specifically mentions that "the official language of the Union shall be Hindi in the Devanagari script, while Section 3 of the Official Languages ​​Act 1963 deals with "maintaining the  English language for the official purposes of the Union." and for use in Parliament," thus designating Hindi and English as the official languages ​​of the Union. Business in the Indian parliament can only be transacted in Hindi or  English. English is permitted for official purposes such as congressional proceedings, the judiciary, and communications between the central government and state governments. This article will discuss whether India has any national language, the difference between the official and national languages, etc.

History of languages of India

There are several official languages ​​in India at the state/territory level. India has the freedom and power to designate its official language through legislation. In addition to the official languages. The constitution recognizes 22 regional languages, including Hindi but not English, as scheduled languages. Countries may designate their official languages by law. Hence, the section of the Constitution of India dealing with official languages ​​includes detailed provisions that deal not only with the languages ​​used for the official purposes of the union but also with other languages. used for the official purposes of each state. and union territories within the nation, and the language is ​​used to communicate between the union and the states.

The official languages ​​of British India are English, Urdu, and later Hindi; English was used for central-level purposes. The origin of Hindi as official usage was started back in 1900 India's constitution, adopted in 1950, provided that English would be phased out in favor of Hindi over fifteen years, but gave Parliament the right which stipulates the continued use of Hindi, English even after that. 

Plans to make Hindi the sole official language of India, but English and Hindi continue to be spoken today, in conjunction with other official languages ​​in the center and some states The legal framework governing the use of language for official purposes is currently the Official Languages ​​Act of 1963, the Official Language Rules of 1976 and various state laws, as well as rules and regulations. regulated by the central government and states.

The National language of India

Our constitution did not give national language status to any language. Hindi has certainly been declared a national language. But Hindi is a language spoken by only 40% of India's population. So that will be a problem for the rest of the population because everyone will be forced to learn Hindi, which is completely impossible. 

The Indian Constitution stipulates the use of Hindi and English as the two official languages ​​of government communication. Furthermore, it contains a list of 22 official languages ​​(including Hindi and English). These languages ​​have the right to be represented on the Official Languages ​​Committee and candidates for the exam organized for national civil servants can choose to take the exam in one of these languages. 

The official language of India

Two languages ​​are selected as the official languages ​​used by the central government: 

  •  Hindi is the language used by the central government under Section 343 when communicating with the states.

  • English is the official language concerned and is the language used when communicating with the United State

  • Sanskrit is also known as the mother tongue of all world languages. All Indian scriptures/texts are written in Sanskrit. Then Hindi evolved. Hindi is one of the most beautiful languages ​​in the world. There is no problem with English as long as people can speak and write it easily. But the problem arises when most people cannot speak and write but they have to learn this language because most of the important things are only in English.  

According to Neeti Aayog of the 2011 GOI Government of India report, almost 69% of the total population of India lives in rural areas. According to a 2016 World Bank report, nearly 67% of India's total population lives in rural areas. In rural areas of India, people are proficient in the regional or State language but not in English as a foreign language. From the above statistics, we can say that the majority of people in India live in rural areas. Most people cannot understand and speak  English properly. But they must have come across this language go to buy seed/fertilizer for their fields. The packaging contains warning instructions, brand names, and other important information in English. For this reason, it is very difficult for a farmer to understand the product and its use. 

The concept of English in the study:

Today, even in rural India, the concept of an English-speaking school is growing. Parents may not know a  word of English, but they expect their children to attend English-speaking schools. There is no problem for students who have a good level of English and deeply understand this language with the basic and root meaning of all words. But problems arise when a student does not understand or feel comfortable while studying or studying English. On the contrary, if he is given a chance in his regional or national language, he will do much better. 

Even in cities, only a few percent of people are fluent in English. Others are either forced to learn the language or have no choice but to speak English. Previously, even in the Indian Parliament, politicians spoke in English. They represent people (citizens of India) that are far from English. These politicians usually speak in the regional or national language when they have to visit their constituents to vote, but when they have to speak in Parliament for a bill or any discussion... 

 What do other countries do?

Most countries of the world give great importance to their national or regional languages. Let's talk about China, Russia, France, Switzerland, etc. All of these countries value their national/regional languages. They speak, write, and understand their language better than any other language in the world. Although we can see many leaders of these countries speaking in their national languages ​​on many international platforms, they use interpreters. 

Only a few countries in the world value English or a foreign language. Most of these countries were ruled by the British. India needs to learn from other countries to respect their national/regional language (मातृ ) as the majority of the people will be more productive and motivated when allowed to express themselves in their language on national/international platforms.  

The idea is just that a state/country uses its base language in most of the concerns of a country. It becomes more valuable/deserving to a country than to use a foreign language and try to spread it. Because there are thousands of ways to say the same way if all Indians start respecting Hindi or their regional language, when it comes to the English language in India, we only have the services of people who are fluent in English. Now what about people who can't express themselves clearly in  English and when they can't speak, they feel embarrassed and demotivated Imagine, if we had a regional language/Hindi-based system, everyone in that country would be able to contribute with 100% confidence. therefore We must learn to respect those who speak regional or national languages. We must uphold the level of respect for these languages ​​because they belong to one country. 

Scheduled Languages of India

As per the Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution, 22 languages have been granted the status of scheduled languages of India. 

Schedules Languages of India: Areas where they are spoken and year of recognition




Year of Recognition







West Bengal








North India








Jammu and Kashmir




















Sikkim, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh












Karnataka (Shivamogga District)




Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh




Tamil Nadu




Andhra Pradesh, Telangana




Jammu & Kashmir, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh




Assam and Meghalaya




West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha




Bihar and Jharkhand




Jammu and Himachal Pradesh



Problems with the Eighth Schedule

According to the 2001 census, India has 30 official languages, each of which more than a million people speak. The Eighth Schedule of the Constitution includes 22 protected languages. Many languages ​​are excluded from this program, even though they deserve to be included. This includes Tulu, whose inscriptions date back to the 14th and 15th centuries and are spoken by about 1.8 million people. Before independence, Hindi, a much younger Indo-Aryan language, had gained popularity. According to the census, while Hindi is the fastest growing language, the number of speakers of other languages ​​has decreased. 

Similarities Between National Language and Official Language  

  • Official and national languages ​​occupy a special place in expressing a nation's identity.  

  • Official and national languages ​​often have systems of spoken and written languages.

  •  A national language can be considered the official language of the same state or country.

  • The essential function of the national and official languages ​​is to represent the nation.  

Difference between national language and official language

  •  Definition  

    • The national language of a country is related to the political, social, and cultural functions of that country.

    • The official language of a county is concerned with government affairs such as congressional operations or national courts. The main function The national language is concerned with the socio-political and cultural functions of a country, while the official languages are used for government affairs such as the legal system or parliament. 

  •  Source 

    • A country's national language may become that country's official language by default.

    •  However, if a language wants to become the official language of a country, it must be legally approved. 

  •  Nature 

    • A national language is a socio-cultural expression, 

    • while an official language is a political-geographical expression. 

  •  Contact 

    •  Generally, if the national language and the official language of a country are different, people usually use the national language for general communication 

    • The official language for communication purposes. Official.

              National Language

                      Official Language

Identify people by ethnicity, culture, and history

Determine the existence of the law and the sovereignty of the country

A default national language can become the official language

An official language must be legally approved to become a national language

Used for general communication

Used for official communication

It is a social and cultural expression

Is a political-geographic expression.

There is nationalism as its main function

There is nationalism as its central function.

Its function is above all symbolic

function is rational


In multilingual countries like India, the government often declares  Hindi as the national language for political reasons. It should be noted that declaring the national language script will not compel society to achieve the goals of an independent nation. The language is an integral part of  Indian culture; therefore, prioritizing Hindi over all other languages ​​spoken in India would take away from its diverse nature. India is the base of many languages ​​and regional languages. It's the government's job to build bridges, not walls. Declaring one of the many languages ​​​​as the national language of India will save our culture.

About the Author: Shivam Pathak | 23 Post(s)

Shivam is pursuing a BA. LL. B (HONS.) 5-year integrated course from Amity University, Raipur, Chhattisgarh. With a core interest in Criminal and Civil Law, his hobbies are reading books and listening to songs in his free time.

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