Context – Home Minister’s comments on making Hindi a common language in the country has heightened a tiff between different political parties, within parties and between South and North.

The constitutional provisions

PART XVII OFFICIAL LANGUAGE CHAPTER I.— LANGUAGE OF THE UNION Article 343. (1) The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals. (2) Notwithstanding anything in clause (1), for a period of fifteen years from the commencement of this Constitution, the English language shall continue to be used for all the official purposes of the Union for which it was being used immediately before such commencement: Provided that the President may, during the said period, by order1 authorise the use of the Hindi language in addition to the English language and of the Devanagari form of numerals in addition to the international form of Indian numerals for any of the official purposes of the Union. (3) Notwithstanding anything in this article, Parliament may by law provide for the use, after the said period of fifteen years, of— (a) the English language, or (b) the Devanagari form of numerals, for such purposes as may be specified in the law.


The Constitution does not specify the official language of different states. The legislature of a state may adopt any one or more of the languages in use in the state or Hindi as the official language of that state. Until that is done, English is to continue as official language of that state. Under this provision, most of the states have adopted the major regional language as their official language. Notably, the choice of the state is not limited to the languages enumerated in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

Protecting Language Diversity in India

The Constitution of India has recognised 22 official languages. Though officially there are 122 languages, Peoples Linguistic Survey of India has identified 780 languages, of which 50 are extinct in past five decades. The twenty two languages that are recognised by the Constitution are: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri,Gujarati, Hindi, Kashmiri, Kannada, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdue are included in the Eigth Schedule of the constitution. Among these three languages, Sanskrit, Tamil and Kannada have been recognised as classical language with special status and recognition by Government of India. The classical languages have written and oral history of more than 1000 years. In comparison to these, English is very young as it has the history of only 300 years. The Constitution of India has included the clause to protect minority languages as a fundamental right. It states” Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part of thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.” The language policy of India provides guarantee to protect the linguistic minorities. Under the Constitution provision is made for appointment of Special Officer for linguistic minority with the sole responsibilities of safeguarding the interest of language spoken by the minority groups. The first linguistic survey was conducted during 1894 to 1928 by George A. Grierson that identified 179 languages and 544 dialects. In the postindependence era Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), based in Mysore was assigned to carry out an in-depth survey of languages. In 1991 the Census of India listed 1576 mother tongues’ with separate grammatical structures and 1796 speech varieties that is classified as other mother tongues’. Another unique feature of India is the concept of protecting the interest of children to get basic education in their mother tongue. The Constitution provides” it shall be the endeavour of every State and of every local authority within the state to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups”. The 2017 theme of United Nations World Mother Language Day “to develop the potential of multilingual education to be acknowledged in education, administrative systems, cultural expression and cyber space”. In 1956 reorganisation of states in India was carried out with linguistic boundaries that had its own script. Sardar Vallab Bhai Patel, the then home minister played key role in formation and amalgamation of states based on linguistic attributes. The language policy of India has been pluralistic, giving priority to the use of mother tongue in administration, education and other fields of mass communication. The Language Bureau of Ministry of Human Resource Development is set up to implement and monitor the language policy. spx?relid=158532

India is the top source of immigrants across the globe

India has emerged as the leading country of origin for immigrants across the world, with 17.5 million international migrants in 2019 coming from India, up from 15.9 million in 2015, according to a dataset released by the Union Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The International Migrant Stock 2019 (released by the UN DESA’s Population Division. The number of international migrants in the world had reached an estimated 272 million 2019 — 51 million more than in 2010. The percentage of international migrants of the total global population has increased to 3.5% from 2.8% in 2000. India remained as the top source of international migrants; the number of migrants living in India saw a slight decline from 5.24 million in 2015 to an estimated 5.15 million in 2019 – both 0.4% of the total population of the country. one-third of all international migrants originated from 10 countries — after India, Mexico ranked second as the country of origin for 12 million migrants, followed by China (11 million), Russia (10million) and Syria (8 million). The European region hosted the highest number of the immigrants at 82 million in 2019, followed by North America (59 million) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (49 million). The U.S. hosts the highest number of international migrants (51 million), about 19% of the global population. Around two-fifths of all international migrants had gone from one developing country to another. Forced displacements continue to rise, with the number of refugees and asylum seekers increased by about 13 million from 2010 to 2017.

What is Migration? Migration in geography usually refers to the movement of humans from one place to another. It occurs when the perceived interaction of Push and Pull factors overcome the friction of moving. Push factors: elements of the origin that are perceived negatively leading to a desire to leave. Pull factors: elements of the destination that are perceived positively leading to place-attraction.

Net Migration: The sum change in migrant numbers between those coming into an area (inmigrants) and those leaving (outmigrants). If migration crosses international borders a person is an Emigrant from the country they leave and an Immigrant to the country they are going to.