From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Official languages
Mains level : Not Much
The Union Cabinet has approved a Bill to introduce Hindi, Kashmiri and Dogri as official languages in Jammu and Kashmir, in addition to Urdu and English. As of now, the official language is Urdu and Kashmiri is recognised as a regional language.
Try this PYQ:
Q.Consider the following languages:
Which of the above has/have been declared as ‘Classical Language/ Languages’ by the Government?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Languages in J&K
- In the undivided Jammu and Kashmir state, various ethnicities spoke Kashmiri, Pahari, Gojri, Ladakhi, Dogri, Balti and Punjabi as their mother tongues.
- Urdu and Hindi had become a means for inter-community communication.
- In 1889, Maharaja Pratap Singh, the third ruler of the Hindu Dogra dynasty, replaced Persian with Urdu as the court language.
- It was an anomaly that the three languages — Dogri, Hindi and Kashmiri — which are spoken by nearly 70 per cent of the population of Jammu and Kashmir were not approved for use in official business.
Official languages in India
- Article 343 of the Indian constitution stated that the official language of the Union is Hindi in Devanagari script instead of the extant English.
- Later, a constitutional amendment, The Official Languages Act, 1963, allowed for the continuation of English alongside Hindi in the Indian government indefinitely until legislation decides to change it.
- The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union is “the international form of Indian numerals”, which are referred to as Arabic numerals in most English-speaking countries.
- Despite the misconceptions, Hindi is not the national language of India; the Constitution of India does not give any language the status of the national language.
- The Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution lists 22 languages, which have been referred to as scheduled languages and given recognition, status and official encouragement.
Other classical languages
- In addition, the Government of India has awarded the distinction of classical language to Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu.
- Classical language status is given to languages which have a rich heritage and independent nature.