Concerns over India’s language status

Concerns over India’s language status

Regional language groups will be meeting in India today to discuss concerns that Hindi will subvert English to become the

Photo: aupindia.org

Photo: aupindia.org

Regional language groups will be meeting in India today to discuss concerns that Hindi will subvert English to become the subcontinent’s only official language.

India has no national language, but Hindi and English, a remnant of the country’s colonial past, are the official languages of the government. While it would represent a bureaucratic shirking of its colonial past, elevating Hindi to the sole official language of India would be problematic. The central and northern parts of the country house a cocktail of Indo-Aryan languages that differ by state, whereas the south is linguistically Dravidian (but English is the lingua franca).

Having English as an official language also benefits the subcontinent’s economy. Trade and investment across countries tend to be higher when both parties speak a common language. While foreign direct investment into India has increased over the past few years, it could slow if English were ditched as an official language.