Not Just word: Why hundreds of India’s regional and tribal languages are dying

“Illiterate daily wage laborers bought those copies … I saw tears in their eyes when they saw their language in print for the first time in their lives.Language is also about political power. The scheduled languages are linguistic citizens of this country but non-scheduled languages are linguistic non-citizens. But we all have equal stakes in the country and equal responsibility,” says Professor Ganesh Devy

There is no official count of the total languages in India. The 1961 Census recorded 1,652 languages. But since the 1971 Census, languages spoken by less than 10,000 people have been lumped as “others”. The language data of 2011 Census, the most recent one, has not been disclosed.

Devy’s research, however, shows that there are 780 living languages in India — at least 400 are at the risk of dying in the next 50 years.

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