The Languages of India: 2011
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Popularly spoken languages
2001: 45% know Hindi; 25% declared Hindi as mother tongue
Bengali remains the second most spoken language while Marathi has replaced Telugu in third place
Sanskrit was the least spoken of the country’s 22 scheduled languages
Tamil Nadu had the second highest number of people with English as their mother tongue, while Karnataka was a close third
The percentage of Indian population with Hindi as their mother tongue has risen to 43.63% from 41.03% in 2001, according to data on language released on Tuesday as part of Census 2011. Bengali remains the second most spoken language while Marathi has replaced Telugu in third place.
Sanskrit was the least spoken of the country's 22 scheduled languages. With just 24,821 persons listing it as their mother tongue, it was slotted below Bodo, Manipuri, Konkani and Dogri languages in terms of number of speakers.
Among the unscheduled languages, around 2.6 lakh people listed English as their first spoken language in the 2011 census, of which 1.06 lakh were in Maharashtra. Tamil Nadu had the second highest number of people with English as their mother tongue, while Karnataka was a close third. Bhili/Bhilodi, spoken in Rajasthan, was the most spoken unscheduled language with 1.04 crore speakers, followed by Gondi with 29 lakh speakers.
While the percentage of people in India who listed Bengali as their mother tongue went up to 8.3% of the total population from 8.11% in the 2001 census, Marathi speakers as a percentage of the population grew from 6.99% in 2001 to 7.09% in 2011. Those returning Telugu as their mother tongue were down from 7.19% to 6.93%.
Urdu was ranked seventh, down from the sixth slot it occupied in 2001. Urdu speakers were down to 4.34% of the population compared to 5.01% in 2001. Gujarati, with 4.74% speakers, replaced Urdu in the sixth spot.
According to Census authorities, mother tongue is defined as the language spoken in childhood by the person's mother to the person or, where the mother has died in the person's infancy, the language mainly spoken in the person's household during childhood.
While 96.71% of the country's population returned one of the 22 scheduled languages as their mother tongue in the 2011 census, 3.29% returned other languages as their mother tongue.
Hindi mother tongue of 44%, Bangla 2nd most-spoken/ 2011
Source: Census 2001
According to 2001 Census figures, just 45 per cent people speak or know Hindi. But, just 25 per cent people in India have declared Hindi as their mother tongue. A little over 25 crore actually speak Hindi, says Census 2001.
The remaining people speak variants of Hindi like Bhojpuri, Magadhi, Maithili, Garhwali, Dogri, Rajasthani, Marwari, Haryanvi etc. All put together, the speakers of Hindi and its dialects are about 45 per cent.
It proves that remaining 55 per cent speak non-Hindi languages and the majority people in India don't even know Hindi.
According to the 2001 Census, 42 crore people speak or understand Hindi all over India. But, only 25 crore declared Hindi as their mother tongue. 8.5 crore people speak Bengali, 7.5 crore people speak Telugu, 7 crore speak Marathi and 6 crore speak Tamil.
5 crore speak Urdu, 4.6 crore speak Gujarati, 4 crore speak Kannada, 3.5 crore speak Malayalam, 3.3 crore speak Oriya, 3 crore speak Punjabi, 1.5 crore speak Assamese, 64 lakh speak Santhali and 55 lakh speak Kashmiri languages.
People in the north eastern states speak more than 50 different dialects. Tribals in non-Hindi speaking and non-north eastern states also speak different dialects. These dialects have nothing to do with Hindi or its variants. The languages like Konkani, Tulu, Kodava, Beary, which are spoken in Karnataka also have nothing to do with Hindi.
What India speaks
HINDI: Mother tongue of 25 per cent Indians. More than 41 per cent Indians claim that they know Hindi
BENGALI: Mother tongue of 8 per cent Indians
TELUGU: Mother tongue of 7 per cent Indians
MARATHI: Mother tongue of 7 per cent Indians
TAMIL: Mother tongue of 6 per cent Indians
URDU: Mother tongue of 5 per cent Indians
GUJARATI: Mother tongue of 4 per cent Indians
KANNADA: Mother tongue of 4 per cent Indians
MALAYALAM: Mother tongue of 3 per cent Indians
ORIYA: Mother tongue of 3 per cent Indians
PUNJABI: Mother tongue of 3 per cent Indians
ASSAMESE: Mother tongue of 1 per cent Indians
The Languages of India: 2011