The Languages of India Four Language Branches, one area of the world
Southern Asia’s Languages All these languages originated from the great languages of the past, with most of them belonging to several major linguistic families, like Indo-Aryan (spoken by 70% of Indians), Dravidian languages, spoken by 22% of the Indians), Austro-Asiatic languages and Tibeto-Burman linguistic languagse.
Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan,... Indo-European family (1.6 billion speakers) Indo-Iranian group (600 million speakers) Indic / Indo-Aryan branch (540 million speakers)
Hindi: the Official Language of India Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Hindi. The accent and dialects will be different between regions, but almost every Indian has a working knowledge of Hindi हिन्दी, हिंदी It is written in a Devanagiri script. Hindi ranks 4 th in the world for most speakers. Official language in India and Fiji. Spoken in India and Pakistan.
How to say: HelloNamastey! नमस्ते Good-byeAlvida! अलविदा। Pleasekr̥payā कृपया Thank youShukriyaa शुक्रीया
English Words Derived from Hindi Avatar from avatar अवतार اوتار meaning "incarnation." Bandanna from Bandhna,( बांधना ) to tie a scarf around the head. Cheetah from cītā, चीता, meaning "variegated body." Guru from Guru, A teacher, instructor, intellectual or spiritual guide or leader, any person who counsels or advises; mentor. e.g. "The elder senator was her political guru." Karma from Karma, meaning acts or deeds. Khaki from khākī "of dust colour, dusty, grey", cf. Hindi ख़ाकी
Bengali Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Eastern Group, Bengali-Assamese বাংলা Bangla Written in the Bengali Script. Ranks 5 or 6 th in the world for most speakers. An official language of West Bengal. Spoken by nearly 200 million people in West Bengal and in Bangladesh; also spoken in India, UK, USA, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Myanmar.
Punjabi Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Punjabi ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, پنجابی, पंजाबी, Pañjābī Written in Gurmukhi in Punjab (India) and Sikh diaspora Shahmukhi in Punjab (Pakistan) Devanagari (mainly used by Hindus) Ranks 12th in the world for speakers. The official language of the State of Punjab. It was created by the Sikh Guru, Angad. Spoken in India and Pakistan. Punjabi is also spoken as a minority language in several other countries where Punjabis have emigrated in large numbers, such as the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom (where it is the second most commonly used language) and Canada, where in recent times Punjabi has grown fast and has now become the fourth most spoken language.
Urdu Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central Zone, Western Hindi, Khariboli, Urdu اُردوُ Written in Nastaʿlīq script Ranked 9–21 (native speakers), in a near tie with Italian and Turkish. Contains many Persian Language words. Official language in Pakistan and India. Spoken in Pakistan, India. Also in various countries due to immigration, USA, UK, Germany, Canada, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Fiji, Afghanistan and Burma.
Gujarati Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Western Indo-Aryan, Gujarati ગુજરાતી Gujǎrātī Written in Gujarati script. Gujarati is ranked 25 th in the world for speakers. It is the official language in the Gujarat State of India. It is also the language that spread most in India and in the world. It is spoken in India, Pakistan, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, U.S., UK, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Canada, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Portugal.
Oriya Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Eastern Group, Oriya group, Oriya ଓଡ଼ିଆ oṛiā Written in the Oriya script Ranked 31st in the world for number of speakers An official language of India Spoken in the Orissa area of India
Maithili Indo-european, Indo-Iranian, Eastern Group, Bihari, Matihili मैथिली maithilī Written in Devanagari, Kaithi, Mithilakshar Ranked 40 th in the world for number of speakers Officially the language of Bihar State of India Spoken in India and Nepal
Sindhi Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern Zone, Sindhi سنڌ सिन्धी,Sindhī Written in Arabic Ranked 47 th in the world for language speakers Officially spoken in Pakistan, India. Also spoken in Hong Kong, Oman, Philippines, Singapore, UAE, UK, USA, Afghanistan
Nepali Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Pahari, Eastern Pahari, Nepali नेपाली Written in the Devanagari script. Ranked 52 nd in the world of language speakers. Officially a language in Nepal. Spoken in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Tibet, Myanmar.
Telugu Dravidian, South-Central Telugu తెలుగు Written in the Telugu script. Ranked 14 th in the world for most speakers. Officially spoken in India. Spoken also in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is numerically the biggest linguistic unit in India.
Tamil Dravidian, Tamil-Kannada தமிழ் tamiḻ Written in the Tamil script. Ranked 19 th in the world for language speakers. Officially the language of India. Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Sri Lanka, and Singapore. Also spoken in India, Sri Lanka and Singapore, where it has official status; with significant minorities in Canada, Malaysia, Mauritius, and Réunion, and emigrant communities around the world. Tamil literature goes back to Centuries before the Christian era.
Malayalam Dravidian, Southern, Tamil-Kannada, Tamil-Kodagu, Tamil- Malayalam, Malayalam മലയാളം malayāḷam Written in Malayalam script, historically written in Vattezhuthu script, Kolezhuthu script, Malayanma script, used in Thiruvananthapuram, Karzoni script. Also Arabic script, an Arabi Malayalam. Ranked 32 nd in the world for language speakers. Officially spoken in India. Spoken specifically in Kerala, Lakshadweep, Karnataka, Mahé, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Persian Gulf. It is the youngest of all developed languages in the Dravidian language family.
Kannada Dravidian, Southern, Tamil-Kannada Kannada ಕನ್ನಡ kannaḍa Written in Kannada script. Ranked 33rd in the world of language speakers. Officially a language in India: Karnataka. Spoken in Karnataka, India, with significant communities in USA, Australia, Singapore, UK, United Arab Emirates.
The History of India begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization in such sites as Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, and Lothal, and the coming of the Aryans. These two phases are usually described as the pre- Vedic and Vedic periods. It is in the Vedic period that Hinduism first arose: this is the time to which the Vedas are dated.
In the fifth century, large parts of India were united under Ashoka. He also converted to Buddhism, and it is in his reign that Buddhism spread to o ther parts of Asia. It is in the reign of the Mauryas that Hinduism took the shape that fundamentally informs the religion down to the present day. Successor states were more fragmented.
Islam first came to India in the eighth century, and by the 11th century had firmly established itself in India as a political force; the North Indian dynasties of the Lodhis, Tughlaqs, and numerous others, whose remains are visible in Delhi and scattered elsewhere around North India, were finally succeeded by the Mughal empire, under which India once again achieved a large measure of political unity.
The European presence in India dates to the seventeenth century, and it is in the latter part of this century that the Mughal empire began to disintegrate, paving the way for regional states. In the contest for supremacy, the English emerged 'victors', their rule marked by the conquests at the battlefields of Plassey and Buxar.
The Rebellion of 1857-58, which sought to restore Indian supremacy, was crushed; and with the subsequent crowning of Victoria as Empress of India, the incorporation of India into the empire was complete. Successive campaigns had the effect of driving the British out of India in 1947.
The six decades between the end of the "mutinous" war of 1857 - 59 and the conclusion of First World War saw both the peak of British imperial power in India and the birth of nationalist agitation against it. With increasing intrusion of aliens in their lives, a group of middle class Indians formed the Indian National Congress (1885) - a society of English educated affluent professionals - to seek reforms from the British.
The anti-colonial struggle became truly a mass movement with the arrival of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869 - 1948) in 1915 who had suffered great humiliation in South Africa due to the policy of racial discrimination and later committed to rid his motherland of the ills of foreign rule.
Successive campaigns had the effect of driving the British out of India in 1947, but with independence for India came the independence for the country of Pakistan, too.
There is hardly anything that India cannot indigenously build. Ships, planes, cars, vehicles of all kinds and now missiles are all built in India with Indian labor and expertise. A younger generation will take all these for granted but it is only an older generation that has seen India cower under western dominance that can appreciate the great changes that have come over Indian society. On the strength of what India has achieved in the last half a century one can confidentially assert that within the next quarter century India will be a force to reckon with and will be counted among the first three or four most powerful nations in the world. That is not only a dream and a hope but something that will be seen as a reality. Then indeed can any Indian say with truth and pride: 'Mera Bharat mahan‘ (My India is Great).
Religion: a Mainstay of Culture India is the birth place of Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Today, Hinduism and Buddhism are the world's third- and fourth-largest religions respectively, with around 1.4 billion followers altogether. India is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, with some of the most deeply religious societies and cultures. Religion still plays a central and definitive role in the life of most of its people. The religion of more than 80.4% of the people is Hinduism. Islam is practiced by around 13.4% of all Indians. Sikhism, Jainism and especially Buddhism are influential not only in India but across the world. Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and the Bahá'í Faith are also influential but their numbers are smaller. Despite the strong role of religion in Indian life, atheism and agnostics also have visible influence along with a self-ascribed tolerance to other people.
India’s Society Family plays a big role in the Indian culture. India for ages has had a prevailing tradition of the joint family system. It’s a system under which even extended members of a family like one’s parents, children, the children’s spouses and their offspring, etc. live together. The elder-most, usually the male member is the head in the joint Indian family system who makes all important decisions and rules, whereas other family members abide by it. The varied and rich wildlife of India has had a profound impact on the region's popular culture. Common name for wilderness in India is Jungle which was adopted by the British colonialists to the English language. The word has been also made famous in The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. India's wildlife has been the subject of numerous other tales and fables such as the Panchatantra and the Jataka tales. In Hinduism, the cow is regarded as a symbol of ahimsa (non-violence), mother goddess and bringer of good fortune and wealth. For this reason, cows are revered in Hindu culture and feeding a cow is seen as an act of worship.
Namaste, Namaskar or Namaskara is a common spoken greeting or salutation in the Indian subcontinent. Namaskar is considered a slightly more formal version than namaste but both express deep respect. It is commonly used in India and Nepal by Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists, and many continue to use this outside the Indian subcontinent. In Indian and Nepali culture, the word is spoken at the beginning of written or verbal communication. However, the same hands folded gesture is made usually wordlessly upon departure. In yoga, namaste is said to mean "The light in me honors the light in you," as spoken by both the yoga instructor and yoga students. Taken literally, it means "I bow to you". The word is derived from Sanskrit: to bow, obeisance, reverential salutation, and respect and: "to you". When spoken to another person, it is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest.
India, being a multi-cultural and multi-religious society, celebrates holidays and festivals of various religions. The three national holidays in India, the Independence Day, the Republic Day and the Gandhi Jayanti, are celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm across India. In addition, many states and regions have local festivals depending on prevalent religious and linguistic demographics. Popular religious festivals include the Hindu festivals of Navratri Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga puja, Holi, Rakshabandhan and Dussehra. Several harvest festivals, such as Sankranthi, Pongal and Onam, are also fairly popular. Certain festivals in India are celebrated by multiple religions. Notable examples include Diwali which celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and Buddh Purnima which is celebrated by Buddhists and Hindus. Islamic festivals, such Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and Ramadan, are celebrated by Muslims across India. Adding colors to the culture of India, the Dree Festival is one of the tribal festivals of India celebrated by the Apatanis of the Ziro valley of Arunachal Pradesh, which is the easternmost state of this country. Festivals
Food, Glorious Food! Food is an important part of Indian culture, playing a role in everyday life as well as in festivals. Indian cuisine varies from region to region, reflecting the varied demographics of the ethnically diverse subcontinent. Generally, Indian cuisine can be split into five categories: North, South, East, West Indian and North-eastern India. Historically, Indian spices and herbs were one of the most sought after trade commodities. The spice trade between India and Europe led to the rise and dominance of Arab traders to such an extent that European explorers, such as Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus, set out to find new trade routes with India leading to the Age of Discovery. The popularity of curry, which originated in India, across Asia has often led to the dish being labeled as the "pan-Asian" dish.
Clothing Delhi is considered to be India's fashion capital, housing the annual Fashion weeks. In some village parts of India, traditional clothing mostly will be worn. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Pune are all places for people who like to shop. In southern India the men wear long, white sheets of cloth called dhoti in English. Over the dhoti, men wear shirts, t- shirts, or anything else. Women wear a sari, a long sheet of colorful cloth with patterns. This is draped over a simple or fancy blouse. This is worn by young ladies and woman. Little girls wear a pavada. A pavada is a long skirt worn under a blouse. Both are often gaily patterned. Bindi – the forehead dot - is part of the women's make-up. Traditionally, the red bindi (or sindhur) was worn only by the married Hindu women, but now it has become a part of women's fashion. Indo-western clothing is the fusion of Western and Subcontinental fashion.
Literature Rabindranath Tagore, Asia's first Nobel laureate Illustration of the Battle of Kurukshetra. With more than 74,000 verses, long prose passages, and about 1.8 million words in total, theMahābhārata is one of the longest epic poems in the world. In contemporary Indian literature, there are two major literary awards; these are the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship and the Jnanpith Award. Seven Jnanpith awards each have been awarded in Kannada, six in Hindi, five in Bengali, four in Malayalam, three each in and Marathi, Gujarati, Urdu and Oriya.
Performing Arts The music of India includes multiple varieties of religious, folk, popular, pop, and classical music. This picture shows music at a religious ceremony. Indian dance, too, has diverse folk and classical forms. Kalari is considered one of the world's oldest martial art. This snap shot shows one of the oldest surviving drama traditions of the world, the 2000 year old Sanskrit theatre. The tradition of folk theater is popular in most linguistic regions of India. In addition, there is a rich tradition of puppet theater in rural India, going back to at least the second century BCE.
Visual Arts The earliest Indian paintings were the rock paintings of pre-historic times, the petroglyphs as found in places like Bhimbetka, some of which go back to the Stone Age. Cave paintings from Ajanta, Bagh, Ellora and Sittanavasal and temple paintings testify to a love of naturalism. Freshly made colored flour designs (Rangoli) is still a common sight outside the doorstep of many (mostly South Indian) Indian homes. The first sculptures in India date back to the Indus Valley civilization, where stone and bronze figures have been discovered. Later, as religions developed further, India produced some extremely intricate bronzes as well as temple carvings. During the Gupta period (4th to 6th century) sculpture reached a very high standard in execution and delicacy in modeling.
Recreation and Sports In the area of recreation and sports India had evolved a number of games. The modern eastern martial arts originated as ancient games and martial arts in India, and it is believed by some that these games were transmitted to foreign countries, where they were further adapted and modernized. A few games introduced during the British Raj have grown quite popular in India: field hockey, football (soccer) and especially cricket. Although field hockey is India's official national sport, cricket is by far the most popular sport not only in India, but the entire subcontinent, thriving recreationally and professionally. Indoor and outdoor games like Chess, Snakes and Ladders, Playing cards, Carrom, Badminton are popular. Chess was invented in India. Games of strength and speed flourished in India. In ancient India stones were used for weights, marbles, and dice.