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Languages in India

India, a country rich in culture, traditions, religion and languages that are specific to states and regions, is a remarkable exploration site for the avid reader and traveller. Though the South Asian subcontinent has in it an array of languages and dialects, the main spoken and written languages are Hindi and English. There are in all, 28 states that make up the geography of India, of which the majority of the North Indian states have Hindi as a widely spoken and written language. Southern Indian states have their own official independent languages that are also prescribed as a part of the curriculum in schools.

The Constitution of India has listed 22 national languages which include Hindi, English, Urdu, Kanada, Gujrati, Bengali, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Sindhi among the others. The presence of the various languages is also seen printed on Indian currency notes where the particular denominations are seen printed in 17 different languages.

India, known during the British rule as a land of spices and snake charmers is a lot more. Today the most versatile and vastly populated country with  extreme intellects and charm growing and achieving higher goals on par with other developing countries. Languages in India are rich in authenticity and basically a branch of either of the four language families. The indo European and Dravidian families have influence across the country where Indo European languages are present mainly in the North and Central India, whereas the Dravidian family languages are spoken moreso in South Indian states. The other two language families, namely the Austro-Asiatic and the Sino-Tibetan languages have a presence of their languages in Eastern India and Northern Himalayas along with the Burmese border, respectively.

The 22 official languages recognized by the Constitution of India further have another 33 languages along with 2000 dialects that have gained recognition. It is mainly the two prominent languages, Hindi, in its devanagiri script which is utilised as an official language in the federal Government of India and English as an associate official language is widely used. It is remarkable to see the various official state languages like for example Kanada for the state of Karnataka, Malayalam in Kerala and Tamil in the state of Tamil Nadu among others being used as an official state language in all professional and legal documents along with the associate English languages. This is considered to be a strict law that is followed by the state governments, without which legal proceedings within the state are difficult.

Sanskrit is said to be the most ancient classical language in India which is said to have originated around 5000 years ago, during the Rig Vedic period. It is said that the earliest dialect of Sanskrit was spoken by the Aryans. The Aryans were known to be a tribe of the Indo European speaking that lived around 1700 B.C. The classical literary scriptures, and the Indian epics (Mahabharata and Ramayana) are written in the oldest literary language of India, Sanskrit.

It is important to note that languages across the country are not only used as a written or a spoken dialect but they are also widely used in the field of literature, poetry, drama, plays and even music. Every language has a history of its own with its own independent richness and appeal, making India a land of never-ending exploration.

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