India's Diversity: India is one of those few fortunate countries that has had a very rich and vibrant past. We have the most diverse culture and heritage. And this diversity has been evident in our language as well. India is a country where so many native languages in various dialects and sub-dialects are spoken. The 1961 census recognized 1652 mother tongues in the country being spoken. Each language has its own rich history and evolution in coherence with the richness and evolution of our nation. They are the true representation of our ethnic identity. However, despite countless regional languages and their abundance in terms of spoken and written literature, they are fast fading out in today’s world. There are many regional languages that have been long forgotten and are not spoken anymore.
Reasons: Reasons for the Indian regional languages losing their space in the present scenario are many. These reasons vary from ignorance to will.
1. Stereotyping: First reason is the stereotype associated with speaking a regional language when everyone around them is “modernizing” and adopting the use of other languages spoken in the world.
2. Globalization: The other reason could be globalization and liberalization. These two phenomenon across the world have led to domination of a selected few languages thereby causing replacement and victimization of the ancient dialects and local languages. Because of the world becoming smaller, the need to communicate with a few widely used languages is growing and taking away the significance of regional languages from the identity of the people.
3. Value in commercial space: Third reason is the commercial value of the regional languages is also decreasing in the market place. Thus, people are jettisoning their native tongues as a means to adapt.
Hindi – the mother tongue: It is not just the regional languages that are suffering. Hindi is the mother tongue of our nation. It has been provided with the status of being the official language to carry out government work. However, even Hindi is facing a lot of challenges. Firstly, because of certain reasons the status of official language is not enjoyed by Hindi alone. English shares the position. Another fact is that the language Hindi is being threatened by the fast changing culture of our nation. When the citizens of India are inclining more towards the use of English and learning other foreign languages, such as French, German, Mandarin, Spanish, etc., they are losing on their ability to speak their mother tongue with great fluency. Hindi speaking population is fast decreasing and in coming decades it is likely to vanish completely.
It is understandable to embrace the culture and languages of the world. But letting go of your own heritage and culture will do no good. The government has been taking no sincere and serious steps to preserve the endangered regional languages of the country. It is important to promote bilingualism or multilingualism among the people. Also, measures should be taken to counter the inferiority complex felt by the youth when it comes to the use of regional languages or dialects.
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