As per Times of India’s report, the percentage of people speaking Hindi as their mother tongue in India has risen from 41.03% in 2001 to 43.63%, according to the data on language released on Tuesday as a part of Census 2011. Hindi is followed by Bengali which was earlier too on the second position whereas the third position was Telugu which is now replaced by Marathi. With only 24,821 persons speaking Sanskrit as their mother tongues, it becomes the least spoken language in the country. Sanskrit has been listed even below Bodo, Manipuri, Konkani and Dogri.
Census authorities defines mother tongue as the language spoken in childhood by the person’s mother to the person or, where the mother has died in the person’s infancy, the language mainly spoken in the person’s household during childhood.
Bhilli/Bhillodi, a native language of Rajasthan, with 1.04 crore people listing it as their mother tongue was the most spoken unscheduled language, followed by Gondi with 29 lakh speakers. Approximately 2.6 lakh people listed English as their first spoken language, amongst the other unscheduled languages. Out of these 1.06 lakh were in Maharashtra. Tamil Nadu ranked second in the list to have the most English speaking people as their mother tongue. Karnataka was close behind and ranked third.
In the 2011 Census, the population of Bengali speaking people as their mother tongue also increased from 8.3% to 8.11%. For Marathi speakers it the percentage grew for about 0.10% that is, from 6.99% in 2001 to 7.09% in 2011. Whereas there was a decline in the Telugu speaking people for about 0.26% that is, from 7.19% to 6.93%.
Urdu too lost its position in the 2011 Census and came down to seventh from sixth as it did in 2001. The percentage sank to 4.34% which was 5.01% in 2001. Urdu’s place was taken by Gujarati which has 4.34% of speakers and got into the sixth position.
While 96.71% of the country’s population returned one of the 22 scheduled languages as their mother tongue in the 2011 census, 3.29% returned other languages as their mother tongue.