India is home to some of the world’s most widely spoken languages. They also have an insane number of official languages. There are 22 official languages in India, but Hindu and English are the constitutionally recognized languages for all government correspondence and communication. These are the top 5 most spoken official languages in India.
1. Hindi – 528 million speakers
Hindi is the most spoken official language in the country, with 41% of the nation’s populace speaking it. The language is ranked the fourth most widely spoken official language worldwide, however, there have been recent efforts to make Hindi the most spoken language in the country. This effort is visible in the modification of the numerals on Rupee notes to the Devanagari script, which is used to transcribe Hindi.
2. Bengali – 97 million speakers
Bangali is the official language of Bangladesh. It is also called Bangala by most local speakers. The Bengali language is spoken by 8% of the people of India and is reckoned to be the fifth most widely spoken native language worldwide.
3. Marathi – 83 Million Speakers
Third on this list of most spoken official languages in India is Marathi. Marathi is spoken by 7% of the Indian population. It is speculated to be 1,300 years old. It is the official language of states situated in the western part of the country; Maharashtra and Goa inclusive.
4. Telugu – 81 Million Speakers
This Davidian language is most widely spoken in the following states in the country:
- Nicobar Islands
- Tamil Nadu
Telugu’s earliest writings can be traced to as early as 400 BC. Telugu words were boldly inscribed on coins, but widespread usage of the language in written form is dated 575 AD. The inscription was purportedly made by Renati Cholas, who was famous for his royal inscription in the Telugu language in place of the customary Sanskrit.
5. Tamil – 67 Million Speakers
Tamil is viewed as one of the oldest languages in the contemporary world. This accounts for why it is among the classical languages in India. About 6% of Indians speak Tamil. The language is spoken in the country’s southern regions, especially in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
Tamil is the official language in Sri Lanka and Singapore. It is recognized as one of the minority languages spoken in South Africa, Malaysia, and Mauritius. The earliest writings in Tamil are dated 500 BC, but the language gained literary popularity in 300 AD, in its unalterable form known as the ‘Old Tamil.’