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Why Bengali Could Never Surpass Hindi to Become India's Top Language

  • Category
    Art and culture
  • Published
    21st Dec, 2021

Context

In today’s time, the Bengali language is lagging behind in terms of recognition and respect in its homeland, quite unlike the status of other languages in their respective states.

About

About (the language profile)

Hindi

  • Hindi belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European family of languages.
  • Hindi, along with English, are the official languages of India. 
  • Hindi became the official language of the Union of India in 1950. The Constitution of India provides for the use of Hindi in the Devanagari script as the official language of the Union.
  • According to Article 343, “The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in the Devanagari script. 
  • The form of numerals to be used for the official purpose of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals.” 
  • English was declared an associate language of the Union, and Hindi was supposed to replace English in 1965. 

February 21 is International Mother Language Day. It has been observed since 1999 to promote “linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism”.

Bengali

  • Bengali is an eastern Indo-Aryan language with around 265 million speakers, mainly in Bangladesh and northern Indian.
  • The Bengali alphabet (Bangla lipi) is derived from the Brahmi alphabet. It is also closely related to the Devanagarialphabet, from which it started to diverge in the 11th Century AD.
  • The current printed form of Bengali alphabet first appeared in 1778 when Charles Wilkins developed printing in Bengali.
  • A few archaic letters were modernized during the 19th century.
  • Bengali is included in the Eight Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  • Globally, English remains the most widely spoken language with 1.13 billion speakers in 2019, followed by Mandarin with 1.17 billion.
  • Hindi is third with 615 million speakers while Bengali is seventh with 265 million.
  • In India, Hindi is the most spoken language with over 528 million speakers in 2011, as per the Census.
  • Bengali had 97.2 million speakers in 2011, followed by Marathi (83 million), while other languages with over 50 million speakers are Telugu (81 million), Tamil (69 million), Gujarati (55.5 million) and Urdu (50.8 million).
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